Ask the Expert

You have asked, Rey has delivered! Yet again, our resident expert has provided a fantastic response to your most pressing questions. Remember to submit your own question by emailing epfreply@edupathfinder.com with the subject “Ask the Expert”.

This week’s question is, “Do I have to have a specific career path in order to decide my college major?”

Here’s Rey’s advice:

 

“What to do if you are undecided about your educational and career goals.

A number of students finishing their secondary education are unsure about or undecided about their educational or career goals. If you find yourself in this situation what can you do to learn about different career choices and which ones are likely to be good matches for you? Is it better to continue on right away with your studies at a university or wait until you have determined your goals? The points below offer helpful suggestions.

 

  1. Should you continue on with your education right away or wait to start your university education later? Either alternative provides good - but different – opportunities to explore educational and career choices.
  2. Very many students attending a university are undecided about their educational or career goals; many others change their goals before they graduate. So, as an undecided student you will find other students in the same situation as yourself. What can you do to help you choose and decide?
     

    a. Most universities have course and graduation requirements that apply to all students. For example, most universities require English composition and a science or mathematics course or courses, among other requirements. In some universities competence in a foreign language is required; in other universities knowledge of foreign language is required for some fields of study, but not for others. Taking courses that are required will help you to explore those fields as well as enable you to make progress towards completing your university degree requirements.

     

    b. Use your university’s academic requirements to explore the various fields of study and careers that are available. Consider taking courses that can satisfy graduation requirements and are important also for many fields of study. Mathematics courses, for example, are essential if you decide to enter a business, engineering, or science career. Likewise chemistry is essential for many fields, such as health careers, all the sciences, and engineering. Consider also taking an economics and a computer science course, even if they are not required by your university. They can serve as initial steps to financial literacy, which is essential in the modern world, and computer literacy, which is essential in almost every profession. Consult with your university’s academic advisors about these matters.

     

    c. Meet and get to know other students, especially older students, who have already chosen their field of study and ask them about it. If you find yourself interested in what they say then the same study field is a possible good match for you. If what they say is uninteresting, then their field of study might not be a good match, at least for now. Whatever study field or fields you find yourself interested in, go on to discuss career options with the professors who teach those courses.

     

    d. Many universities have a career counseling office or a job placement office. Consult with the counselors in those offices. Ask if they offer a career assessment test you can take. Career assessment tests ask questions about you to help determine what career and educational paths are possible good matches for you and your life goals. The results of a career assessment test can help to focus your choices as well as give you a list of careers that are potential good matches. Find out as much as you can about the careers suggested by the test results by researching in the library and the internet, and by talking with other students, professors, and professionals in those fields. One suggestion is to research career choices over a three to twelve month period to find out as much as possible about them until you have chosen an educational and career path.

     

    e. What can you do if you find yourself still undecided after one or two years of university study? One good next step to consider is to take a break (of a year, at least) from your university studies. Just as, when working to solve a problem we sometimes encounter a block and step away from the problem to refresh our minds to come back to solve it later, so likewise, in the larger scope of our lives, a pause can give us the opportunity to do other things, to get to know ourselves better, the better to find a good direction and goal for ourselves. As with any important educational step, it is essential that you consult with the advisors in your university before you take a break from your studies. Find out what your university’s policies are about taking a break and what you need to do to return to the university when you are ready to resume your studies.

  3. Not going on to the university immediately after finishing your secondary education is also a good step to take if you are undecided about your educational and career goals. It is neither mandatory nor necessary to undertake one’s university education right after finishing secondary education. Giving yourself some time to get to know yourself and decide on a career path can be a prudent and sensible course of action. Once you know that you want to follow a career path that requires post-secondary education, you can then continue on with your formal studies at a university.”
     

 

Thanks, Rey! Check out Rey’s article from last week about the staying healthy in school.

Remember, you can submit your own question by email to epfreply@educationpathfinder.com with the subject line “Ask the Expert”.

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