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How will I know what career I would like to work towards in college ?

I don’t really know what I want to take in college. I have ideas but I am not really certain . How can make that decision easier for me .

Thank you comment icon Please do not get any stress or burden in pursuing which major in your college. Your Job career can be determined depending on your decision or willingness regardless of your major. Vincent Lee

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Subject: Career question for you

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Anell’s Answer

Hi Natalie!

This is an amazing question. One that many people ask themselves as they're trying to figure out what path they'd like to take!

For starters, not being sure what you want to pursue in college is normal! There are so many paths you can take, so it makes sense to question and wonder what route you should take.

I'd suggest focusing on the core classes you need to take, so you give yourself time to choose a path. As you're completing these courses, use it as a guide to determine the topics/subjects you do/don't like. During this time, also explore electives that interest you. For example, you may have always found psychology interesting. Take the Psych 101 class to see what it's like.

Ultimately, also know that many people major in one thing in college and then choose a different career path and become successful in this new field. So don't put too much pressure on yourself, but at the very least, pursue something that can come in handy, no matter the path you choose!

I hope this helps :)
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Calla’s Answer

I absolutely agree with Jonathan's answer- career fairs + pursuing internships are great ways to try out different industries to determine what resonates with you!

I would also encourage you to take electives in areas you find interesting, join student groups on campus, and follow your heart to study + engage in things that make you happy.

If you come across a person you admire, ask them about their path and what they have learned along the way. Your career counselor on campus will also be able to help you connect the dots between your varied interests and coursework to help you define a focus.

There is no right or wrong thing to study in school- this is your time to explore your interests and develop your passions!
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Atul’s Answer

In high school, what subjects did you truly enjoy? It lays the foundation of the career path.
Go to an Univ where you can switch from liberal arts to engineering to business school. Most likely state universities will allow switching if you maintain a GPA above 3.0.
The first two years of courses are common/generic in nature however, if you pursue engineering or medicine, there are prerequisites that you shall meet before you can transfer.
If you are completely unsure if you want to have a business degree or engineering degree, the school counselors can assist you. Also, talk to the parents of your friends who are in different industries/professions to find out what they like about their profession/field. This will enlighten you.

My one son pursued a Computer Engineering degree and is doing extremely well - he was passionate about video games and robotics. He was determined to seek challenge and decided on Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science.
While the other son pursued a business (finance) degree to land a job on Wall Street. It was not easy but they were passionate about succeeding and graduated with honors.
Both of them decided on their own to pursue the field that they thought will enable them to make a comfortable living and enjoy their profession along w/ it. This is the most important thing. Many people make lots of money but they hate their job. Why not enjoy what you do and make money along with it.
You know what you like and pursue your profession. You can ask questions to many individuals but decide on your own.
Do not let someone define you or tell you. You will regret it if you follow someone's path.
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Daniel’s Answer

The first 2 years after high school I was in the same boat as you. My parents pushed me to keep moving forward even if the momentum was minimal. I took my basics at a community college and lived at home while working part time. This was great for a number of reasons.

1. It gave me time to keep thinking about what career path I wanted to take.
2. Basics are basics and community college is much cheaper than a private/state university.
3. Working helped me build my savings.
4. Living at home provided additional savings.

These 2 years were critical and ultimately helped me make my decision go into the finance field. I would suggest taking time to think about your options and not feel pressured into making a choice for the sake of making one.
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Christine’s Answer

First step, think about the financial impact of your career choices. Some careers earn more money than others. How important is making money vs. doing something that you love? Could you do what you love as a hobby and make more money doing something else? Work to live vs. live to work. Do some research on salary.com or the department of labor website to find about pay-scales and future demand. Take a look - https://freopp.org/we-calculated-return-on-investment-for-30-000-bachelors-degrees-find-yours-1f2f3c5e6dac

Second step, do you need to go to college or is there a vocational school, certificate or licensure that you need.

Third step, take an interest test (talk to a guidance counselor or look online) to see what your strengths are. Using your strengths can be an asset in a career.
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Saili’s Answer

I used to have the same question when I was in college as well. I wasn't sure what career I wanted to go in therefore choosing a major to focus on was hard. What I did was tried different electives that counted towards my college credits without wasting $$ and time to see what I had interest in. I ended up taking some communication classes and really liked learning about how language and different forms of media can influence and make an impact in people's lives. I liked that it was a versatile major and I could take what I learned into multiple fields and career paths. I didn't feel my major limited me in one job type and that if I ever changed my mind about a job that I could switch to another field and still use the skills I learned. I learned how to use language to best influence my audience. I learned how to project manage different tasks within in groups of people that had different personalities which can be hard but it was very manageable. I learned how to be empathetic and understanding. It's the art of communication in different mediums that was fun and intriguing for me. All these skills have really helped me with my career to this very day.

If you are unsure what you want, I recommend, to choose a major that gives you flexibility to take what you learn and can adapt it in different fields and different work environments that works best for you. Doing research on majors and consider where you want to flourish with your current interests. If you haven't already, take some time to sit down and reflect on what is it that you really like doing and what values you hold and do some research on what kind of careers could help meet that for you. If you have a LinkedIn, I recommend looking up people in careers you might be interested in and checking out their profiles and seeing their education and career path. And if possible, reach out to them and ask if you can get at least 15 min of their time to tell you about any advise you might want. Picking a major is hard and that's okay. You aren't alone. You got this!
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Joseph’s Answer

That's a great question, Natalie!

I'm going to first start with this - Many times throughout my earlier career, I felt like it wasn't possible to shift and change what I was doing. What I have found, over time, is that shifts are pretty easy and valuable for you to do!
So with this nugget of insight, I hope you can feel a bit more at ease when selecting a path in college.

As to making a decision, I would recommend doing internships and going to career fairs. Many people who are deeper in their career love to discuss what they do. You can ask any of those questions and learn from them. When you intern, you can see deeper into the job duties and daily life but also there is much more time commitment.

Best of luck in your decision and you're already starting out the right way - by asking questions!

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Go to a career fair
Find an entry level internship
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Case’s Answer

Now is the time to explore fields you may be interested in by shadowing and actively seeking mentors. Networking is an essential step in figuring out what gets you excited and setting career goals. Once you know where you want to go, seek out mentors who can help you develop a plan to get there.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Natalie, a great exercise is to go through the course catalog from the school you want to attend/are planning to attend and circle all the classes that interest you--then see if there are more circled classes in one major. You can then explore careers that pertain to that major. Or you can visit a career counselor when you get to college--they can help you narrow down a direction. Typically the first two years in college are majority basics classes so you have some time to really decide which direction you want to go (you have time even if you have completed basics prior to college too.) At this time you can think of what subjects in school you enjoy the most and ask your school counselor if there are majors or jobs that relate to that! I changed my mind about careers right up to my senior year of college but through my four years I narrowed down the field and choice gradually. You got this! Good luck!
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Sanjeev’s Answer

Hi Natalie, a good way to figure out what to major in college is to understand your strengths and what you enjoy. What subjects did you enjoy in high school? Try to base your major off of that. Another way to learn about different careers would be by participating in an internship or shadowing. Don't be to stressed about choosing your major as you still have flexibility of moving around majors in college. About 30% of undergrad students switch majors during college (according to nces.ed.gov), so its not a big deal if you change your mind later.
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Kristin’s Answer

Instead of asking yourself "what do I want to do forever?" try asking "what do I want to do next?" I think this can help make the question of career choice a bit less overwhelming. Follow your curiosity. If you think a class sounds interesting, take it, and see where it leads you!
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Liz’s Answer

This answer is on behalf of an employee group at PagerDuty:

- Go to career fairs and utilize career center on your college campus
- Join interest groups on campus
- Find internships to get work experience and network
- Find a job within a college department i.e. liberal arts, business, psychology etc.
- Go into freshman year with an open mind, take classes that interest you, and pay attention to what you like and dislike about general education classes
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Natalie!

Here are some ways you might be able to find careers you are interested in:
1. Career fairs or career counseling office
2. Speaking to individuals in a variety of careers to understand what they do on a daily basis
3. Create a Linkedin account to see what types of jobs might spark your interest
4. Researching your passions and interests to understand the different types of positions
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Sandra’s Answer

Starting college is really exciting and can be overwhelming because you think you have to have all the answers but the great part is you don't have to. For your first 2 years at school it makes alot of sense to complete your general studies courses while you explore what you want to major it. You can explore your future career by taking electives you are interested in, connecting with people who do work that you are interested in learning more about or just exploring online to learn more about different career paths. Often it's when you least expect it you will come across an opportunity that is exactly what you are looking for just by enjoying your college experience and connecting with others. Be open to all the opportunities for learning and growth while in school both through academics but even more so through the relationships you build and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn about yourself and what you want your future to look like!
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Alisha’s Answer

I think it is great you have ideas! I would take the time to write them out and discuss them with a career counselor at your school.

In addition to considering the fields you are curious about, think about how you would like to make a difference in the world and your values. Thinking about your values and how you want to live them out can help you figure out what a meaningful career looks like.

Your college’s alumni community is also a great resource to reach out to as well! They can give you insight on the career paths you’re interested in.
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