It’s hard enough to figure out what to do on a weekend, let alone for the rest of your life. And even though nearly half of all college students change their major at least once, chances are you’re under a lot of pressure to pick a career field.
There are a number of online career and interest assessments that can help you make sense of your options and/or you can request college admissions help.
Amy Sosnowski, owner of Strategic College Planning in Greenfield, Ind., says that while online assessments can give you an idea of where your talents and interests lie, don’t get caught up in the results. Especially if your top match comes out as something you’d never consider.
“The great majority of college students change majors over time,” she says. “…A lot of occupations that these students will be doing haven’t even been invented yet.”
Rachel Smith, 19, is a student at the University of Dayton in Ohio. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in public relations, and took the ACT online assessment as a way to confirm everything she already knew about herself. She learned a few new things as well.
“It showed that I was very strong in aspects of communication, and that any career in that field would be good for me, which is what I had thought,” she says. “But it also surprised me a little because it told me that I would be good at marketing and advertising. Because of that, I am considering taking on marketing and advertising as a minor. It will go hand in hand with my public relations major.”
Regardless of if you know what you want to do or if you may need college admissions help, Sosnowski says that colleges welcome students at all stages.
“When I have a student who is undecided,” she says, “I can help them select a broader course load to give them a taste of fields that might be right for them.”
Take the test
Check out these assessment tools to help you decide on a major or request college admissions help.
• The Testing Room (quintcareers.testingroom.com): Offers testers 40 to 50 potential jobs for them, as well as strategies for work and life. Testing and mini reports are FREE, but extended reports cost $14.95.
• Live Career (livecareer.com): Will help you learn about your dream job and personality. FREE.
• Drive of Your Life (driveofyourlife.org): A fun, interactive site where you answer career questions in return for tricking out a video game car. FREE.
• ACT (act.org): Offers three assessments that can help you get started in finding a career that is right for you. Offered mostly through guidance counselors and college coaches. FREE.
By Kristy Jackson
Clueless about what career you should pursue? Here’s what you can do:
• Take an assessment.
• Skim a career book. Ask your librarian for suggestions. Jot down anything that sparks your interest.
• Join a club. “Self-assessment and career investigation can occur just as easily on a Habitat for Humanity project as it can in a career workshop!” says Nancy DeCrescenzo, associate director of Career Services at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Conn.
• Talk it out. Your counselor can help you sort through your career data and determine the next step. And that will make you a great student. Valerie Savior, director of the Career Development Center at Occidental College in Los Angeles, says, “If you select a major because you love it and are good at it...you will produce stellar academic results.”