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Is it bad to change your career path in the middle of college?

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Danielle’s Answer

No! Not bad at all! Students do it all the time!

A lot of times students go into college thinking "this is what I want to do" and then find out that's not it at all. Or, maybe they take a class that ends up sparking an interest in something they didn't know existed, got involved in a student group that inspired a committment to a cause, etc.

If you'd need to change your major, go straight to your college academic advisor and talk about the ways you can redistribute your existing credits into a new major. Or, consider adding a minor.

Today's work world is what is called a "gig" economy. People change jobs all the time. It's ok to expect your interests to change, it allows you to build more skills.

As far as making decisions about what careers might be a good fit for you, I suggest you take a look at O*Net. It's information from the department of labor. It gives tons of great information about careers/jobs including what skills are needed, education, what the tasks look like, how much they make, and is it a growing field in the next 10 years, etc.

Make use of your college's career center. They can help you clarify your goals, point you to opportunities for internships in fields you're considering, and review/advise on your resume and cover letter. The Career Center is designed to help ALL students, not just seniors. The sooner you go the better.

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

O*Net: https://www.onetonline.org/
See your Adviser
Go to your Career Center.

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Ken’s Answer

You should change your career direction when you find that the existing one is not appropriate. You do not want to end up in a career area for which you are not well suited. However, before making a change, it is very important to get to know yourself better to determine if the new one fits better and talk to people involved in that career area to see what they do, how they got there, and what advice and suggestions they may have - and how you feel about it.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
• It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Ashley

You have been given some excellent advice already. One additional thought to consider is to gain insight into your true strengths. My favorite assessment is StrengthsFinder. It will not only identify your true strengths, it will also provide insight into the potential educational and career options that are commonly sought with those strengths. This along with the other resources you've been given will provide a well-rounded solution set for your decision-making process. Best of luck.

Kim recommends the following next steps:

Research the StrengthsFinder assessment to determine application to your need.
Take the StrengthsFinder assessment and review the resulting report for insight into your true strengths.
Retain the report for reference as your career progresses.

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Donnebra’s Answer

No!!! It is totally ok, you dont want to graduate and have a degree that you totally arent interested in. College is about finding who you are in order to prepare for your future