In kindergarten we’re all enthusiastically asked the same question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Of course there’s the undeniably cute responses like “princess” or “dinosaur,” but then there are the realistic goals like “teacher”, “doctor”, or “firefighter.” Some students take this moment to choose their dream profession or “calling,” and use this career as their educational motivation from that day on. Others don’t have that feeling in their gut telling them what they’re meant to do- and that’s normal.
If you’re a Tennessee Promise student who has a variety of interests, or you really have no clue what you want to do with your life, then it might be time to consider career counseling. Not that there’s any rush to choose your career, but having an idea of which careers your skills would compliment best will help focus your educational path.
What is career counseling?
Similar to other types of counseling, career counseling is meant to offer students guidance and self-help tools to proactively seek their professional choices. During career counseling appointments, students have the chance to talk with an advisor about their interests, dislikes and what they hope to achieve or gain at a future job. Even if you’re not sure how you would respond to questions an advisor might ask, going to the appointment will provide an opportunity for self discovery.
What happens during career counseling?
The purpose of career counseling is to help students choose a major in addition to exploring possible careers. To do this, your advisor will have to get to know you, and maybe help you get to know yourself, through skill and personality assessments. After taking a few assessments, your advisor will help you match your skills and personality traits to majors and careers that will utilize your talents the most. Other factors your advisor will take into consideration are your values and relationships, which both play a role in affecting your personality and career decision making.
When should you make a career counseling appointment?
If you’ve had a semester or so of classes and still feel stuck trying to pick a major, make a career advising appointment as soon as possible. You can set up a career counseling appointment at any time in your higher education career, but the sooner you pick a major the better. Not knowing what you want to major in can affect your classes, if you’ll transfer, where you’ll transfer, and the amount of time it’ll take you to graduate- and you’ll just find peace of mind once you finally decide.
How can you set up a career advising appointment?
Some schools have online “career coaches” at their student career services website. While the online career coaches are a great starting point, they might not have the same assessments that an advisor would. Plus, sometimes it’s more effective to get feedback from a human being than a computer generated response. To make an appointment with an academic advisor, you’ll probably have to call or visit your institution’s career planning or counseling office.
Other career exploration resources:
Everyone has a different experience choosing a major and career, and sometimes career counseling is a part of that experience. Deciding on a major won’t happen in one advising session. You’ll probably need to meet with a career counselor multiple times and complete plenty of research before you’re comfortable choosing the best option for yourself. Despite the time making this decision could take, using the resources at your higher education institution will only prepare you for the world of possibilities that lie ahead in your future.