Either before or early in the first year of college, students should ask and answer some important questions. Getting off to a good start in college is important to success after college. These questions will help with that.
1. What is it that I expect when I graduate? (My personal wants)
a. A job in my field of interest with advancement potential
b. A job that pays well
c. The ability to live on my own
d. The ability to pay off my loans
e. The ability to have an active social life
2. What jobs are available in my field of interest? (Research)
a. Are these jobs (job duties) of interest to me?
b. Do these jobs have career potential?
c. Do these jobs pay enough to satisfy my personal wants?
d. Will I be happy in one of these jobs? Which ones? Why?
e. Can I select a job or group of jobs to serve as my target?
3. Does my chosen field take advantage of my interests and strengths?
a. Have I demonstrated an interest and aptitude in this area?
b. Do I have strong talents and skills in this area?
c. Have I previously performed well in this area?
d. Have others said that I would be good in this area?
e. Does this career direction excite and inspire me?
Spending a few hours investigating these specifics will help to ensure that students have a desirable target. That is important.
It doesn't make much sense to spend four years in college at the cost of $100,000+ only to find that you can't find a job that will satisfy most of your personal wants. The time to do the investigation is before or immediately after you start college. That way you can select a directly related major and minor, perform the activities that will support your career objectives and make you more attractive to the most desirable employers in your field.
Waiting until you begin your job search in the senior year of college to discover that the jobs that are available to you do not stack up well with your career direction and personal wants is not an effective strategy. However, doing some research and realistic thinking before or during your first year of college will help you accomplish your graduation goals.
By researching, thinking about and answering a few questions, students can help to ensure that they are not wasting their time and money.