How you can get there: Choosing the right career path
Imagine someone sent you to the mall to buy a shirt. Not just any shirt, but a shirt you had to wear for the next 5, 10, or 20 years. How would you select that shirt? Would you get the first thing you liked, or pick up something you saw on TV? Are you the type of person to invest some time in seeing what fits your personality? Would you ask an expert what you looked good in and might have appeal in the future?
Students at college and university campuses across the province often sign up for programs and then realize they don't fit their needs. Usually, the problem is that the outcomes of the program do not meet the student's expectations. You may be able to avoid making the same mistake by considering the fit between your expectations and the program you finally choose before you make that decision.
When selecting a program, take into account your academic strengths and interests. Students who have abilities in certain subjects often have success in programs that emphasize them. Find out from students in the program, as well as the program instructors, what subjects students find challenging in that program. If you don't care for a particular subject but it is part of the program, don't be afraid to ask if your lack of interest will be a barrier to successfully completing the program. For example, students in marketing programs are often surprised about the amount of math in them.
Work or volunteer experience is very helpful to students when selecting a college program. Think about what you liked to do as part of that summer or part-time job. Also think about things you disliked about the experience. Most college students choose a program that will lead them to a job. Find out what jobs a program leads to and what you would be doing daily if you worked in that field. Visiting a work environment and observing people doing a certain job can help you gain a better understanding of what it involves and whether you'd be happy doing it.
Your personality attributes and skills make you better suited for some jobs than others. Find out what traits employers are looking for from graduates of the program you are thinking of taking. Do you have those traits? If you are not sure, see a guidance counsellor for a career assessment.
Spending some time thinking about your academic background, your work or volunteer experience, and your personality can help ensure that the program you choose will be a good fit for you. Remember: you are selecting a pathway to a career, so putting in some time and effort will help you make a good choice.
Robert Kitchen, Student Success Leader, Fanshawe College