Saving Time and Money By Knowing What You Want to Do in College, Beyond

Anonymous writes:
I’m a high-school senior who doesn’t know what I want to do. I’ve started to fill out applications to many colleges since I don’t know where to go. I know that I can save time and money if I have (at least) an idea of my career. I heard about the personality tests you can take online that can help you figure it out. I’d appreciate it if you could tell me where these sites are.

The Career Doctor responds:
Well first I have to tell you that trying to narrow your focus is a good thing — and self-assessment and career exploration is a great starting point – but just don’t get too caught up in the process. So many of my students have changed their majors several times while at college – and most still find a way to graduate in the typical four years. I think the key is finding something you’ll like doing using your strongest skills and knowing that your career choice may certainly change or evolve over time.

Second let me also say that I have taken many of these tests – and all of the ones that I recommend – and all are based on valid research but keep in mind that all these tests are simply an instrument to give you a little more focus and direction. For example I had a student who took one of these tests and the results said he should be a construction worker or firefighter among other occupations and he got all upset because he wondered why he was attending college if his “fate” was on of these two jobs. Of course he was taking the results too literally. Thus if you don’t like the results of one of these tests simply move on to the next one.

Given all that here’s my recommendation of a couple of free career assessment tests that are available on the Web: the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the Work Preference Inventory. Another that is not free – but inexpensive – is the JVIS which is extremely well suited to high-school and college students. You can find more detail about each of these tests (and get links to them) – as well as a few others – by going to this section of Quintessential Careers: Career Assessment Tools & Tests.