Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to choose a college, major, or career: Part I

Choosing a college, selecting a major, and deciding on a career path are all key decisions that students must make. Many of the Student Launch Pad students go through the program to gain personal insight into these decisions. Yet making them can be daunting.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath provides phenomenal tips and case studies on improving the quality of our decision-making. The second post in this series will highlight three of their techniques that are largely applicable to students preparing to make college and career decisions.
Choosing the right college is a big decision.
Pictured: Vanderbilt University
But first, why do so many students make wrong decisions in the first place? The majority of students change majors at least three times, and many transfer colleges after freshman year. Oftentimes after graduates enter the workforce, they realize that they are in the wrong career field. Why is this?

1. “Whether or not” decisions are one of the most common type of decisions that teens make. As teens enter college they are often thinking, “Should I join a sorority or not?” Or, “Should I be a Finance major or not?” The Heath brothers explain that this type of decision making “isn’t a decision among multiple alternatives… it’s simply an up-or-down vote on a single alternative.”
Furthermore, this type of decision fails more often than not because you’re pursing a single option and trying to force it to work, rather than seeing if there’s a better way.
The question a college-bound senior should be asking… is not ‘What’s the highest-ranking college I can convince to take me?’ Rather, it should be ‘What do I want out of life, and what are the best options to get me there?

To continue reading for the second poor decision-making technique that we often employ, click here to continue onto the Student Launch Pad blog.

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