Many students begin their post-secondary studies with an understanding that further education is important part of creating future career opportunities, yet a high percentage of these students lack a good understanding of what is required to make solid career decisions that will give them the best chance of creating a career that will be meaningful and fulfilling. For this reason, many students make program, major, and degree choices without first developing clarity of who they are and what they are best meant to do. As a result, it is typical for students to make numerous changes in their educational and career focus through the course of their programs. In fact, at the University of Calgary, the average student will change their major 4-6 times during their program prior to graduation.
If this sounds like you, here are 5 important tips and strategies to overcome this confusion and indecision and develop better understanding in order to make more informed educational and career decisions.
Tip #1: Use the Following 3 Step Success Strategy
- Better Awareness? leads to Better Choices ? and when we make better choices, we will see Better Results
- Too often students make educational and career choices without taking the time to fully understand who they are and what they want.
- The best strategy for making more informed educational and career choices is to develop better awareness and greater clarity.
- This Success Strategy is designed to ensure you make better choices to end up with better results
- How can you develop better awareness? Here are a few practical ideas:
Tip #2: First, Develop Greater Awareness of Who You Are
- Take some time to consider and write down your Top 5 Strengths or the Top 5 “Gifts” you bring to the world.
- In this world we tend to focus on our weaknesses and how to improve them, but your strengths are those things you are naturally good at and that you typically like to do.
- Once you document your top 5 strengths, do your own 360 assessment by asking your family members, friends and colleagues what they think are your top strengths.
Tip #3: Next, Develop Greater Awareness of What is Important to You
- Take some time to consider and write down your Top 5 Values in terms of what your feel is most important and the Values you want your life to stand for.
- Our Values speak to what we feel is meaningful and purposeful and can point you in the direction of an educational and career path that will be ultimately fulfilling.
Tip #4: Next, Develop Greater Awareness of Your Ideal or Your Dream Career
- Take some time to dream and imagine what you could do if you could do absolutely anything and only succeed.
- Too often we limit ourselves by focusing on what is “practical” and “realistic”. However, as Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. In other words, if you never allow yourself to think big, to imagine possibilities, then those options simply won’t be available to you.
- There are so many educational, career and job opportunities out there and so many emerging opportunities becoming available every day. Don’t let any barriers, limiting beliefs or fears hold you back from discovering what you really want to do with your life. Instead, allow yourself to dream and enter the realm of possibilities.
Tip #5: Develop Greater Awareness of Your Community and the World
- If you are coming out of high school, consider taking a gap year to travel, work and generally get to know yourself and the broader world outside of your normal comfort zone of “life as a student”.
- Get involved in your community by volunteering or joining an organization. The more you are exposed to, the more skills you develop and strengths you uncover – and the more opportunities to know yourself better you will have when it comes to deciding on educational and career options.