Alice Foster McCallum
Alice Foster’s Answer
Hi, Samuel. While you have gotten some really fabulous advice here on how to pursue your career interests, I will add that most colleges do not expect all incoming students to know exactly what they want to major in while they are still in high school. "Undecided" is a very popular major, and U.S. Dept of Education stats indicate that 30% of all freshmen will change their major before the end of their first year. Unless you are going into engineering or nursing or some other major that has a specific track from Day 1, many schools actually encourage you to use your freshman year to explore career options to which you may never have been exposed. In fact, the selective liberal arts college where I worked did not allow students to declare a major until sophomore year for exactly that reason.
That said, I will tell you, as someone who has read applications, that admissions is looking for students who have challenged themselves academically--and risen to the challenge with a strong GPA--and who are engaged in their schools and communities. Take the most rigorous course schedule that you think you can handle and get to know your teachers so that your teacher recommendations are positive and personal. If you do have specific passions--for career, in athletics, whatever--make sure that your involvement in those areas is deep to show commitment. Explore a little, too, though, so you are well-rounded. If you are restricted in what you can participate in outside of class because you help out your family with a job or with caring for family members, make sure you make that clear, because that speaks to your commitment and work ethic, too. For the application itself, make it complete and error-free.
Most of all , let the true you come through in your application. Admissions readers can tell when your essays and other information are written to impress instead of intended to communicate who you are. They have to get to know who you are to help figure out if you and the school are a good fit, so you do you! Good luck!
Alice Foster recommends the following next steps:
You can volunteer in your community to separate yourself from other applicants.
The most important thing to have in a resume to gain someone's attention is a clear career focus with mention of any activities, organisations, volunteer activities, shadowing, internships, internships, classess taken, etc. that would show evidence of focus.
Along with that, it is very important for your to develop a focus by getting to know yourself better and then meeting and talking to people in your area of interest career focus to see what they do, how they got there, and what suggestions that they might have for you.
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: