How Career Assessments Can Help You Choose A College Major
October 27th, 2014; Posted in Career Counseling
Choosing your college major? Thinking about your first major career choice can feel overwhelming. How do you choose a college major between the thousands of options available? How does that translate into a major? The truth is, you just have to start somewhere. Many students believe they have to decide their final career while still in college – they do not. Most people in the workplace change not only their job, but their entire career field more than once. Each step along the career path provides a foundation for the steps that follow. At least 35% of people are in jobs not related to their college major. You also can’t predict the path that your career will take in the future. Unexpected opportunities may present themselves and so on.
Make an Informed Career Decision
However, you can make an informed decision. And the more informed you are, the more comfortable and confident you can feel in your choice. Generally, making an informed career decision includes considering your unique characteristics and how they relate to various occupations and college majors. Factors to examine include your: abilities, interests, personalities, values, past work and leisure experiences, and total lifestyle as well as information about jobs – their availability, entrance requirements, and growth potential. The more you understand about yourself, the better your decisions will be and the more effectively you will be able to implement those decisions.
Steps to follow typically include:
- Assess yourself.
- Evaluate work tasks and environments.
- Identify occupations to explore.
- Find strategies to stay motivated.
There is no career test that will tell you what to major in. Furthermore, the decision of choosing a major is not one that should be taken lightly. Tests cannot solve your decision making problems. There are many factors in occupational choice and satisfaction besides what a few career assessment instruments reveal. These factors include physical and mental health, values, personality characteristics, family circumstances, geographic location, job market conditions and trends, education, skills, abilities, cultural/ethnic/gender identification, passions, and so forth.
How Career Assessments Can Help
Career assessments can be one tool to help you choose a college major. The process of deciding on a career is indeed complex and unique for each individual. Assessments can help you identify and verify individual characteristics and how those characteristics fit into different occupations. Personality assessment instruments can help you: identify possible job titles to explore, meaningful work environments, compatible interests, and congruous values. Career assessments can be combined with other information to stimulate and enhance career exploration and choose a college major.
One type of career assessment test available is an interest inventory. Interest inventories follow the rationale that individuals having similar interest patterns to those found in an occupational group would probably find satisfaction in that particular group. This type of assessment provides you with occupations to explore based on this one factor. Taken in consideration with other aspects of yourself it can be a great place to start in your career exploration. Personality assessment is another factor that can be considered in making career decisions.
Additional Questions to Consider:
Choosing a major/career is a decision that requires careful thought, planning, and work. What do I want to do? This is a big question. This question can be broken down into smaller questions such as:
- What do I want to do on a day-to-day basis?
- Where do I want to be in one year? Five years? Ten years?
- What would I like to have accomplished in one year?
- What kind of people do I want to work with?
- What kind of working environment do I find most comfortable?
- What kind of working environment allows me to be most productive?
- What motivates me to do my best?
What kind of career do you want? What do you do well and enjoy doing? Answers will help you identify your strengths and help you to decide on what contributions you can make in the marketplace.
The choice of a major and the subsequent career path that one follows is largely related to life satisfaction and mental health. The choice of a career is a vital aspect not only to one’s lifestyle, but also to one’s physical and emotional well-being. Work satisfaction is directly related to employee absenteeism and job turnover.
Career counseling can help you understand yourself, choose a college major or make a career choice. Career counseling can also help you clarify career goals, career direction, and methods for achieving those goals. As you begin to develop a better understanding of yourself you will also improve your self-confidence.
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