We are well into the school year and I am sure that many of our students, both in high school and college, are looking towards what is next for them after graduation. I remember really thinking about this in terms of whether or not I should go to college – if I did go to college, what would I study? I was in high school in the 60’s and, in my world, the choices were limited – I could be a secretary, nurse or teacher. Period. Since these professions did not really appeal to me, I took what I though was the easiest route and went to work in an office. Over time I really did get a sense of the opportunities available to me – I want back to college in the 80’s and graduated with a BS in Accounting.
Of course, today the exact opposite is true. Most students feel they have many different career options. The problem can be that they have so many interests that they just cannot pick one. And, since people are expected to work longer in the future, the choice can really be overwhelming. While most colleges and universities offer assessments as part of their career services, it is amazing how many students do not seem to realize this. I spoke with career counselors at several major universities. Even though their website clearly stated that they offered assessments free of charge to students, less then 5% of their students actually took advantage of them.
Don’t get me wrong – I do not believe any assessment contains the answer to anyone’s career choice, but they are a great beginning. It is much more preferable for our students to take this route than to major in something because their parents did. One of the assessments, the Strong Interest Inventory, contains information about majors, internships and extracurricular activities that will potentially lead to the discovery of their dream career.
For anyone reading this who is a student, or a parent of a student, just remember that there is help out there. With the time and money spent on education, it is definitely worth the very small investment in time and money to shed some light on this age-old dilemma.
As part of my practice, I offer assessments to students, as well as to people already in the workforce who feel that the work they are doing is not fulfilling. Please fill out the form on my website to learn more.