#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