Why are 2/3 of people unfulfilled in their work? I have contemplated this question for many years due to working with so many undecided college students. Students are unsure what they want so they settle for a major then finish their degree. After college, they are unable to find a job because they lack experience in their chosen field. So now they are thousands of dollars in debt for a degree in something they aren't passion about.
So what's the solution? This may sound bold coming from a college counselor, but it's time to be brutally honest. You should NOT go to college unless you know which degree you want. If a college degree is the largest purchase of your life outside of your home, doesn't it make more sense to know what you want before buying it?
Culturally, we teach high school teens to move to a college campus and figure it out there. This is a disaster both socially and financially. How motivated would you be to do homework daily/weekly when you don't even know the intended outcome?
The problem stems from parents assuming that high schools are providing college prep services for their students. While most high school guidance counselors want to provide this for their students, most of them spend their time on non-counseling duties (covering lunch shifts, behavioral problems, etc.). In a recent study, 54% of high school guidance counselors said they spend less than 20% of their time on college readiness, selection, and applications for their students. (www.nacacnet.org)
High school guidance counselor recommended ratios are 1 per 250 students. However, many operate at 1 counselor for over 500 students. Some high schools have no guidance counselors at all. When budget cuts happen, these are the first positions to go. We currently have a shortage of high school guidance counselors coupled with counselors performing non-counseling related tasks.
If you are a parent, it's safe to assume that your child is getting little to no assistance with the college selection or application process. This is how so many of us in the educational consulting world end up with so many frustrated parents in our offices.
While we cannot change the staffing of counselors in high schools, what we can do is start preparing teens for college selection/application processes during their sophomore and junior year so they can take their time exploring careers.
For the best results, students should take some assessments to determine which careers suit them best. Then they should choose their major based on the job requirements. Finally, the student should select a college based off of their chosen major.
This is how a young person goes through the career exploration process at little to no cost while in high school rather than figuring it out at $4,000+ per semester.
If you're really stuck at a crossroad, you can hire people like me to assist in the process; however, this is something every teen and their parents can do on their own.
Find the career you want first and then take the necessary steps to get there and you will find the career happiness that many people never will.
Learn. Grow. Pay it Forward.