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Counselor’s Corner

Test drive career interests before committing to a college major

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Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012 12:00 am

In a study published in May 2012, researchers from Rutgers University interviewed people who graduated from college between 2007 and 2011 to determine how they were faring.

The study, entitled “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession,” is a “must read” for college-bound students and their parents. One of the key findings is the degree to which college graduates felt they were prepared to enter the labor market: “Half felt they were less well prepared for the world of work than was the generation before them; only 28% felt they were better prepared and 21% felt they were similarly prepared.”

Though they were generally satisfied with their college educations, according to this study two out of three graduates would do something different if they had it to do over again: “They would have been more careful in choosing a major,” or the classes they took. A majority (56%) would have taken more computer/technology classes, a third would have taken more business/finance classes and one fifth would have taken more career-related courses. Finally, the report concludes that those students who did internships while in college were better prepared to enter the workforce.

Paired with core academic classes, Lodi Unified School District's “Career and Technical Education” (CTE) courses prepare high school students for college AND career. In addition to the soft, transferrable skills that most employers say is lacking in today's job applicants, CTE classes provide students an opportunity to sample careers before selecting a college major. Many CTE courses provide intern/externships in actual job settings.

Since two thirds of the college graduates in the Rutgers's study “would do something different if they had it to do over again,” taking a career out for a spin before committing a minimum of four years and thousands of dollars to studying it is worth considering. CTE puts education to work-now, during and beyond college.

Want to learn more? Please call Bill Atterberry or Debi Chiene at 331-7617.

Bill Atterberry is the principal of Lincoln Technical Academy.

Contact Information

Stephanie Hiatt

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