by R. A. Housel, Ph. D.
Who isn’t intimidated by the college search? In the United States, we are fortunate to have a veritable plethora of good schools to choose from. But that’s only part of the problem. The major issue for students today is not just how to pay for higher education, but what to pursue once they’ve narrowed their search to the best eight to ten “right-fit” schools.
Again, there is no easy answer here. My recommendation is to always do research on employment—not the phony career assessment test your guidance counselor gives you either. Take charge—this is YOUR life, and, YOUR money. Even if your parents are footing the bill, that’s money being invested that will not be seen again by you or them. Higher education is called an investment because it is. However, it’s an investment that does not always show obvious returns in the traditional sense.
So, do your research. Look online. Shadow a professional. Read every book you can in the area you are considering. This takes time and is often not a decision that can be made in one year, or even two. In fact, a majority of college sophomores often change majors at the end of sophomore year. You’re not alone.
Decide what you want for your future life. Do you want a nice place to live? Do you enjoy vacations? Do you want more time at home and less in a cubicle under florescent lights? Talk to the adults around you, family, friends, teachers—ask them to describe what their working life is REALLY like.
Next, make a list. A mental list. A paper list. An e-list. Any form will do. Just begin to accumulate those things you think you like and want, then, talk to a consulting professional on how to find a “right-fit” major and college that works with your current ideas AND gives you options for change later. Remember, evolution does not stop.