#CampusChat Q&A: Career Planning and College Prep


career planning

Does you high school student know what he wants to study in college? Has he chosen a career path or is simply undecided? How will this affect his college future and his future career goals?

On this week’s #CampusChat we discussed career planning and college prep with career expert Lisa Noble, founder of Career Connectors.

Following is the Q&A from that chat:

Q1 Can 18 year olds really know what career path they will take? #CampusChat

A1 Some have a singular passion they already pursue, such as in the performing arts #CampusChat

A1 Most 18 year olds know what they’re good at but haven’t been exposed to all the things that might interest them #CampusChat

A1 Most students are not aware of all the careers that fit their interests and skills #CampusChat


Q2 Are there tests students can take to determine their interests and possible career paths? #CampusChat A2

A2 Yes! I recommend O*NET, an online database with career exploration tools to match skills and interests to real jobs #CampusChat

A2 O*NET has an online version of the Holland Interest Inventory called the Interest Profiler at www.mynextmove.org #CampusChat

A2 High school students also enjoy Lifelaunchr.com, a platform for discovering and showcasing their strengths to schools #CampusChat


Q3 How can career goals affect a student’s college choice? #CampusChat A3

A3 Students should consider colleges that offer majors or programs supporting their potential career goals #CampusChat

A3 Knowing that career goals change, it’s wise to choose colleges with the flexibility to explore or combine multiple options #CampusChat

A3 Students with a clear focus (arts, business or engineering) may choose based on reputation, faculty or employment outcomes #CampusChat


Q4 What is the downside of entering college without some idea of a career path? #CampusChat A4

A4 Having a career path in mind helps you be more intentional about the courses and activities you choose #CampusChat

A4 Career-related coursework and extracurriculars can help you tell a clear story about why companies should hire you down the road #CampusChat

A4 Career discovery takes a long time, so the more you know going into college, the better off you will be at graduation #CampusChat


Q5 How can students investigate potential careers during high school? #CampusChat A5

A5 Some high schools offer formal internship programs but many colleges also offer pre-professional summer programs for students #CampusChat

A5 Meetups for specific industries (film, fashion design, entrepreneurship, the environment) are another great resource #CampusChat

A5 Many professionals are willing to offer shadowing opportunities or informational interviews to students who ask #CampusChat


Q6 Are mentoring and internships important in choosing a career path? #CampusChat A6

A6 Absolutely. Finding opportunities to work with or observe people who have careers you are considering is invaluable #CampusChat

A6 Even informal networking at Meetups is useful. You can ask people at various stages of their career how they got there. #CampusChat

A6 Volunteering your time with organizations in your industry is an easy way to meet people who can help you #CampusChat


Q7 How can students start planning now for a career after college graduation? #CampusChat A7

A7 Step 1 is using self-discovery tools like Fascination Advantage, which shows how others see you when you’re at their best #CampusChat

A7 Step 2 is using career discovery tools like Lifelaunchr.com and O*Net Interest Profiler which map their interests to careers #CampusChat

A7 Step 3 is trying out careers through volunteering, interning or taking classes in related subjects #CampusChat


Q8 What should parents know about the job market for students after graduation? #CampusChat

A8 Parents should know that liberal arts and performing arts majors can get great jobs if they start career discovery early #CampusChat

A8 Today, graduates are expected to have practical or relevant experience in the field they are trying to get jobs in #CampusChat

A8 Students need to take ownership of their own career discovery and preparation. Career Services cannot do it for them #CampusChat


Q9 Once your student knows a possible career path, how does he find the college that fits this path? #CampusChat

A9 Some career paths demand very specific majors, like textile design or actuarial science. Others are broader, like advertising or PR. #CampusChat

A9 Talk to professionals about their educations to determine which majors are relevant and look at schools with those majors #CampusChat

A9 Research schools with the strongest department for your potential majors and ask them where their graduates go afterward #CampusChat


Q10 How can parents help their student with career planning and goals? #CampusChat

A10 First, parents need to be supportive and open. Students need to explore and reject career paths for themselves. #CampusChat

A10 Second, their career insights and connections will not be as helpful to their student as their encouragement #CampusChat

A10 Third, supporting their student in taking calculated risks and modeling how to weigh decisions is very valuable #CampusChat


Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at ParentsCountdowntoCollegeCoach.com. She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

Share This Post On

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

CampusChat keeps parents, students, educators and counselors informed of college news, tips, and resources -- all delivered directly to your inbox.

Your contact info will not be shared without your permission. We don't like spam and assume you don't either.

You have Successfully Subscribed!