Career exploration is the first step in planning for your future — whether you’re planning on going to college or directly into the workforce, or you’re not sure yet! The goal of education is to set you up for success in a career. It is essential to understand where you want to go to know what path to take. Explore your career pathway — an important step in understanding what education you need to be successful.
Prioritize Your Interests and Skills
Before flipping through college view books or logging onto campus websites, first begin the process of selecting colleges by examining yourself. Think about the factors that have nurtured your talents and interests. Think about the things that are most important to you for your college experience. Consider all of these factors when building your list of schools where you want to apply.
Knowing which major you want can be a very important step in the college selection process, as some schools are geared towards certain disciplines (i.e. business, nursing and engineering schools).
1. Take a Career Assessment
Career interest and aptitude assessments are great tools to explore your strengths and what careers you are best suited for. Finding a career that is the right fit is about more than what you like- it’s about what you’re good at and the work environment where you’ll be happy.
Consider your personality, values and motivations. Are you outgoing or reserved? Do you prefer structured environments where you know precisely what is expected of you? Do you like working independently or as part of a team? The answers to some of these questions will help you identify the careers- and the major needed for that career.
2. Identify Your Favorite Subjects from High School
Make a list of your favorite classes. Focus on the most enjoyable courses in which you excelled. Make a list of your least favorite subjects. This may be even more important – ruling out subjects you dislike is equally important.
3. Gather Information
An informational interview with a professional in the career field you are interested in is one of the best ways to get information first-hand.
Still Not Sure?
Being unsure about your major doesn’t have to be a barrier to attending college. Build your list using colleges with a wide variety of majors so your options aren’t limited when it comes time to make a decision.
Career Exploration Appointments
Learn more about your right fit career in a Career Exploration appointment.
College fairs can provide a wealth of information to help you start narrowing your list of possible colleges.
After registering, watch for a list of colleges that will be there and identify a few schools you know you want to visit. With so many schools present, it’s helpful to have a game plan going in.
Below are some questions you may want to ask the college representative:
• What is the average freshman class size?
• Can I use the Common Application to apply?
• What kind of financial aid does your school offer?
• Can I live on campus all two/four years?
• In addition to the FAFSA, do you require the CSS/Profile? If so, once or every year?
Look out for Destination College, our annual college planning event and college fair for NH high school juniors and their families!
College Search Tools
Use an online college search tool, like a college database with lots of filters, to explore colleges and build your list. Also, check with your school counseling office to see what tools they may have to assist you.
Big Future by The College Board®
Big Future is a free tool that helps you explore your interests, college majors, and different schools
Personalized action plans you can save and edit throughout your college search
Used by some schools in NH and can look different from school to school
Students and parents/guardians have login information
Keep track of your list and application steps completed
For more information, contact your school's counseling office
Highlights key indicators about the cost and value of colleges
Visit a College Campus
Schedule your visit – Colleges offer many different events for you to see campus, this could be an open house, information sessions, or even a virtual visit. If you do an on campus tour make sure you leave enough time to walk around on your own after the tour.
Make the most of your visit – Explore all the opportunities available from the admissions office. Many offer lunches with current students or other fun ways to learn more about the school.
Collect materials – Pick up all admissions materials and financial aid brochures. Student newspapers, flyers and activity calendars will also give you a sense of what campus life is really like.
Try the food and see a dorm – Whether or not you plan to live on campus, it will become somewhat of a second home. You should feel comfortable in all the spaces available for students, including the dining halls. Have lunch and make sure you like the food!
Reflect and write – Jot down a few notes to capture your impression of the campus immediately after the tour. Record the names of the college staff you interacted with and send them thank you notes.
Note that undergraduate programs only include those that offer Associates or Bachelor’s degrees.
Certificate or License:
Awarded upon completion of a specific short-term course of study
Degree awarded after the completion of defined coursework. These programs generally encompass two years of full-time study or about 60 credits.
Programs of study with a concentration in the arts or the sciences. This degree is awarded upon completion of four years of full-time study or the length of time needed to earn 120 credits.
A graduate degree awarded beyond the bachelor’s degree. The length of time necessary to complete the requirements of this degree depends upon the course of study and whether the student attends on a full-time or part-time basis. Credit requirements can vary from 36 to 60 depending on the field of study. Common abbreviations for this degree include: MA (Master of Arts), MS (Master of Science), MBA (Master of Business Administration), ME (Master of Engineering), MSW (Master of Social Work) and M.Ed. (Master of Education) to name a few.
Awarded for advanced and intensive study in a particular field. Common abbreviations include: MD (Medical Doctor), Pharm.D (Doctor of Pharmacy), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), and Ed.D (Doctor of Education).
College Financing Tool
Explore estimated costs of college when building your list to ensure financial fit
Net price calculators, available on my college’s website, will offer a calculated estimate of financial aid based on a prospective student’s family financial information.