Helping Daughter Who Is “Lost†Regarding Career and Major Choices

Kathy writes:
I just read your article Choosing a
College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path
. I plan to have my daughter read the links you
suggested. My daughter is making decisions about AP coursework and is a little lost about
what she wants to do. The school she attends just gave them some sort of aptitude test.
She scored highly in the working with people and the arts areas. This is a fine way to start
thinking about what she wants to do but she is lost when it comes to finding out what type of
real-life jobs exist in these areas. What do you recommend she do to get some real job insights?

The Career Doctor responds:
It’s never too early to be thinking about careers but please remember that what
interests a teen at 15 might not at 20. As I have mentioned before I am all for having
high-school students thinking about possible careers but I am against high schools
putting students in career tracks at such an early age.
Here’s my recommendation for her next steps. First do some more assessment –
take a personal inventory of the classes and activities she likes to do and then take
another assessment or two (which you can do online or possibly through the school’s
guidance department). The goal should be a solid list of interests and skills as well
as some career direction.
Second begin exploring careers that match up with her interests by using sources
such as the Department of Labor’s Career Guide to Industries (online and in print)
which can be found linked from Quintessential Careers. These sources will provide all sorts
of information from expected job growth to working conditions to education required.
Third talk with people working in those areas of interest. She should conduct informational interviews and ask about job-shadowing opportunities. As she begins to look at colleges
she can also talk with professors in the areas that she has the most interest.
To find specific career exploration tools go to this section of Quintessential Careers:
Career Exploration
Tools and Resources