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Two questions on choosing a career and college/university.

I will graduate from a community college in Spring 2023 with an accounting degree. I plan on working for 2-3 years and then going back to school.
I regret that I did not spend more time researching degrees, doing HS internships, or exploring different community colleges while in high school. However, I feel that I made a good choice in choosing accounting for my associates.
Before I return to school, I want to take a lot of time researching colleges, careers, job opportunities, etc. before I make my decision. One thing going to college has taught me is to be open, flexible, and to accept the challenges/surprises that life throws at us.
I would appreciate answers/advice for these two questions:

1.) How should I go about researching colleges/universities?
One article recommended that I research application process, admission rate, accreditation, graduation rate, support services, scholarships, degree programs offered, program availability, and student life. Other factors that are important to me are networking and internship opportunities.
I personally would like to attend a public college/university in Kansas, one that was preferably close to my family. However, I am open to attending a non-public college/university. I am also open to attending online school.
Is there anything else that I should research, or other factors that I should consider when researching colleges/universities?
2.) How should I go about researching careers?
As I mentioned above, I have a wide variety of interests. How should I go about narrowing it down?
Are there ways for me to have a first-hand experience of the day-to-day life of different professionals?
I don't really want to relocate for my career, so how I can research in-demand careers in my local area?

I apologize about the length of this question. I hope I remembered everything! I appreciate any comments or advice that you can offer! Thanks in advance!!

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear you would like to continue your study. To do a research degree, have you thought about the subject or topic you would like to do? Would you like ti do a Master or PhD? Please find my suggestions below: 1. Identity the topics (or subject) you have interest on 2. Explore the college/university that have a expertise on that topic 3. Find out the entry criteria of that college / university 4. If possible, you try to contact the professor on the topic to schedule a discussion. It would be helpful to determine whether the topic is good enough for a research degree. On the other hand, after the graduation, many people would continue to do the research in the university or take up teaching role or both. Hope this helps! Good Luck! Rebecca Tang
Thank you comment icon 1) For researching colleges/universities, it'd be a great idea to look at schools' alumni network. Many schools also have regular alumni reunions and this demonstrates an active alumni network. I know you are interested in staying local and as you mentioned, you are open to online programs. Many programs now have adopted a remote/hybrid option so it definitely expands your search. It's important to also consider what you find valuable in a school/program i.e. do you prefer smaller or larger student populations, does the geographic location matter to you, is student diversity a factor for you, is it private or public, and the other resources available. CVS Health GMCIP Interns
Thank you comment icon 2) As for researching careers, check to see the breadth of career fairs that the universities provide. Career fairs provide great opportunities to explore different fields and jobs as well as provide ample opportunity to network with recruiters. Building your network is also very important for navigating different careers. If you have friends or peers who have done different internships, it would be a great resource to set aside time to learn more about that field. Also, reach out to professionals in the fields you are interested in. If your parents or peers know someone who work in the field you want to pursue, ask for contacts and reach out. If you don't know anyone in the specific fields you want to pursue, create a Linkedin account and reach out to individuals to build your network. CVS Health GMCIP Interns
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Genevieve
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Subject: Career question for you


4 answers

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Anglique’s Answer

Amazing questions and concerns. College can be a very eye opening experience, that allows us to tap into all of our interests and potential careers that could come as a result of that. As I near the end of my undergraduate, I faced the same dilemma; what should I do next?

Taking some time to note down and think about all careers is an amazing step. Thinking about the pros and cons of each type of school is great too!! This is all essential in the planning stages of further schooling. Sometimes we regret the things that we didn't do in the past. However, that is where growth as an individual and intellectual comes into play. You know exactly what you'd like to do in the future, when pursuing school again.

Some tips that I used when determining my future was- what is the job that I can picture myself looking forward to every morning? Now in a perfect world, we will have one set career. However, taking the time during your break from school, can allow you to explore different options for yourself.

Use linkedin and your school websites to research different internships/jobs-- utilize and maximize on the resources that you already have. You will have your high school diploma and associates degree, using both of those resources can allow you to get jobs and see what accounting or financing has in store for you. Look at jobs in your area, even going into local establishments and asking if they are hiring is a great step. This is all apart of the researching aspect.

Remember be patient with yourself and learn to accept the unexpected. The unknown is scary, however, going into the unknown with a positive and determined mindset-- can open up the doors you never knew existed.
Thank you comment icon Anglique, thank you so much for taking the time to help me out! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. I will definitely keep them in mind as I keep exploring careers and schools. Thank you SO much!!!! Genevieve
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Marcos’s Answer

Good Question - appreciate how you organized the question. Please see comments below:
[1]. In terms of researching colleges/universities, I really think you should make a list of things that are important to you. For example, when I was looking for a college to go to, I wanted to be close to family, I wanted to keep costs low and therefore focused on commuting rather than dorming, and also wanted to have small classroom size. I recommend that you write things that are most important to you and then list out your top three options. From there, do a process of elimination and look at both the pros and cons of each. While I am over simplifying the process, writing down the things that matter most to you really helps when making tough decisions like these.
[2] In terms of researching carreers, really focus on the following: What do you want to do when you grow up and what do you see yourself doing once you graduate. For example, do you like working with your hands or do you like a desk job with a consistent routine. There is no right or wrong answers, all that matters is that you are looking at your goals, then align your studies in order to achieve that goal. In terms of researching opportunities and careers, it is impossible to understand and learn about al of them but I did a process of elimination. I do not like to go to Hospitals nor can I see people injured - this led me to not research and medical field jobs. I was pretty good a math in college and therefore started to look at jobs as an actuary, accounting, finance, etc. Feel free to reach out to individuals on linkedIn, professors, ask family and friends if you can talk to anyone that might have the experience you would like to maybe have. Once you know the type of job you would like, really focus and ask your self: Can I make a living with this job and support a family one day? During high school, I used to sell chips with my teacher's entrepreneurship class permission and I loved doing it. If I was to translate that to modern day or a career, I can't make a living off of selling chips but what if I can take my selling skills and use it to A. Join a sales team that sells software, tech, etc. 2. In your case, become an accountant and sell services such as bookkeeping, tax returns, etc. .There are an infinite number of things you can do, but this is only a decision you can make and make sure to keep yourself honest. This will allow you to be happier in your career since you are doing something that you enjoy doing.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Marcos!! I really appreciate your thoughtful answer! Genevieve
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Daniel’s Answer

Genevieve this is a great question! I had these same thoughts back in high school a few years ago. My advise now being on the other side is:

1. Don't waste money at a major name university on basics. I would live at home (if possible) and knock your basics out a community college. This will not only save you money but will give you the opportunity to keep researching your carrier goals/path. As long as you stay in state most community college credits transfers to in state universities.

2. I would network with individuals who are either in college or others that have graduated to see their perspective on the university of your choice. I went to many campus days/campus tours before deciding on what university to attend. This is more work/time on your part but it will provide you a real feel for the university. I would also talk to councilors at the university while you are there to assist you in all the options.

3. Take time do decide where you want to go with life. A lot of people will try and pressure you to decide now and pick a degree path ASAP. Take your time to not only do the research but to work in the industry you are thinking about. A summer internship is a great way to dip your toe in the water to see if you enjoy that particular field. If you do not like the industry no worries at least you saved yourself time and money by knowing what not to pick.

Hope some of these thoughts/ideas helped. Good luck on the adventure!
Thank you comment icon That was really helpful Daniel, thank you!!! Genevieve
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hey Genevieve,

CVS interns here, we think you should utilize college search sites to filter colleges by what is most important to you. You can search by safety, academics, or even food hall ratings. Another resource you can use is friend and family, you can always ask around to figure out what they think. We are also wonder if your community college has a career resources center, most do and they can be a great resource for continuing school or finding career path support. You should consider the classes you have taken so far, and choose a career based on what you have liked so far. Another great resource for explore jobs is Handshake and Linkedin. You can find internship opportunities as well as full time job and filter by their degree requirement, location, and much more.
Thank you comment icon Your answer was extremely helpful! Thank you for taking the time to help out a fellow student! Genevieve