Generally, during the second year of college, a student begins to explore majors and career options more seriously. Many colleges and universities require that new students take a broad range of subjects to promote this exploration.
What's your role in this step of development?
- Don't insist upon a decision about a major or possible career choice immediately. If you sense that your student's indecision is a barrier to positive progress, urge that he or she look for assistance in the career center. Students often have difficulty making a "final" choice because they fear they may close off options and make a wrong choice.
- Suggest that your son or daughter talk with faculty and career advisers about potential choices.
- Don't assume that if your child chooses to major in English, history, philosophy, or some other "impractical" major that he or she will never get a job. Liberal arts studies sharpen skills which are critical to the "package" employers are seeking: strong written and oral communication skills; problem-solving skills; the ability to synthesize information; and excellent research skills.
- Suggest learning a foreign language and developing computer skills. Both of these skills can be helpful in today's market, no matter what career field he or she chooses!
- Direct your child to family, friends, or colleagues who are in fields in which your student has an interest. "Informational interviewing" with people can be extremely helpful at this stage!
- Steer your child toward a source of information. Many campuses have a career consultant or mentoring network of alumni in various career fields who are willing to share information with students about their careers. These resources are invaluable both in this exploratory stage and later as students are seeking internships and jobs!