Choices, Choices & More Choices

Life-changing decisions always require careful reasoning, research, and deliberation. The decisions you make concerning the direction of your future certainly make a lasting impact on how you will experience the rest of your life. Whereas getting a college education is optional, working is not. People need to earn enough to provide for themselves and their families. Few people win the lottery. Planning on simply marrying those with large financial assets is highly insecure. Given, some do, but most people must work to make a living.

Although career choices can be changed, people generally commit to a career in which they have already invested much time and effort. Many people do not realize exactly how much of their lives will be spent at work. Take some time to think about how you spend the limited hours of a 24-hour day. Then look at the INTERACTIVE TOOLS page, and find the work calculator, timeline and pie chart -- all of which will help you to visualize the approximate proportion of each activity in your life.

Here are some things to think about during the process of decision-making for your future:


Choosing a major can be a tough decision in college. Preferably, major in something that you truly like. Although the idea is counterintuitive, most career fields are not specific to any one major, but in fact, a combination of majors, interests and skills.

Below are links to websites that connect majors to related career fields:

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Graduate programs involve concentrated research and course work in specific areas of study. Graduate students have the choice of completing different kinds of programs, including Master's, Professional Master's, Research Master's, Doctoral, Professional Doctorate, and Research Doctorate.

After finishing your undergraduate career, you must decide if graduate school is the right choice for you. The decision to pursue a graduate degree usually depends on various factors, including family commitments, career goals, finances, and even personality-types. An advanced degree will generally earn you a higher salary and/or higher position in your future career.

When making your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is graduate school necessary for me to achieve my goals?
  • Am I simply postponing my career planning and decision making?
  • Am I willing to do extensive research and course work?
  • Do I have a love for scholarly pursuits?

Once you have decided to pursue a graduate degree, the application process consist of:

  • creating a list of potential schools
  • registering, practicing and taking the GRE
  • asking faculty members for letters of recommendation
  • writing a statement of purpose
  • completing and mailing in the application to your desired schools

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Researching career possibilities is the next step in planning for your future career. Doing so will help you determine what is compatible with your interests, values and skills.

Consider your ideal work environment. Do you prefer a large corporation, small business, or start-up company? Or would you prefer a government, nonprofit organization, or education institution? Do you preer to work in an urban, suburban, or rural setting?

You should explore your options by:

  • creating a short list of careers of interest
  • reading job descriptions
  • talking to employers in the field
  • talking to people already working in the field
  • learning about the typical work environment in the field
  • learning about related jobs
  • jobshadowing
  • volunteering
  • work-study programs
  • summer employment

Below are various websites that display job descriptions:

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