Choosing a career and academic program can sometimes be an intimidating process. What if I pursue something I end up not liking, or am not good at? How do I know where the jobs will be four or five years from now? Will what I study today determine who I will be when I’m 40 or 50 years old?
Career planning and decision-making are ongoing and often require re-evaluation through your career. That said, deciding on and committing to a program of study sooner, as opposed to later, is key to timely graduation and a fulfilling college experience. The following steps have been designed to assist you in making an informed decision regarding career and program choice.
Before deciding on either a career or major, you should probably start with an assessment of your interests and abilities. What are you passionate about? What would you prefer not having to do? What are your values and how do you see these shaping your character; defining your career path; or enhancing or supporting important relationships? Where do positions of employment seem readily available, both in terms of industry and geographic location? Where does gaining a position seem to be highly competitive? Are the income projections for the career you are thinking about enough to support you and possibly a family? By taking a few steps back and reflecting on questions like these you will be able to make intelligent career and major decisions consistent with your own unique characteristics, interests and goals.
Questions to answer:
Architecture was his course of study, and at that he excelled; his senior thesis on airport design so impressed the faculty at Princeton University that he was awarded a full scholarship for graduate studies. That said, he had also developed an interest in acting, and upon graduating from college decided to abandon his father’s dream that he would one day become an accomplished architect. He joined the University Players, a college drama troupe where he was humbly casted as “Accordion player”. The student – Jimmy Stewart who went on to win, among other honors, two Oscars, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
For assistance in your own exploration of a possible career options, schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor (909) 869-2342 or visit our website.
Next you will want to find programs of study that might lead to a short list of potential career paths. While some careers require that you settle on a specific field of study, others might allow for you to choose from any number of majors so long as you develop and maintain a foundation of knowledge that is most commonly measured by grades earned. This is when you will want to further explore the occupational outlook. Does this career choice require that you earn an advanced degree or licensure/credential? Are there aspects of a particular career that you have an aversion to (example: John is fascinated with anything related to the life sciences, and wants to help people. He initially chooses medicine as his career path, but then when shadowing a doctor realizes he suffers from Hematophobia, a fear of blood.)
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Next, you will want to meet with advisors in the departments you are considering. This will help you become not only oriented to program requirements, but also help you obtain needed information regarding the career you are thinking about pursuing.
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When you have a clear understanding of your interests, abilities and career prospects… when you have explored various options and spoken with an advisor to determine the best unique path for you, and what it will take to earn a specific degree, then and only then will it be time for you to commit to adding or changing a major.
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Now that you have settled on a major and a career path, you will want to continue to educate yourself and stay current with what’s happening in your field. What are the new and emerging areas of study? Who are the important players in your industry? Who are the employers you would most like to work for?
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With a focus on retention and improved graduation rates campus-wide, the mission of the Graduation Initiative is clear, “To reinforce quality education and promote academic success by understanding the issues that hinder retention and completion and addressing the findings with appropriate interventions, services, and practices.” Interested in learning more and getting involved? Learn more here.
The Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment has awarded nearly $1.6 million in grants to 25 campus programs to strengthen academics, support current and incoming students, aid faculty in teaching and research, and continue building relationships with the community... read more here.