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Life Planning for College Students

written by: Terry Caron•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 9/29/2010

What to be when you grow up? This question has a significant impact to graduating high school students and college students. The answer to this question is both difficult and important. Here we provide assistance and some resources to help answer this question.

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    Knowing what career path to take is important, especially for high school graduates and beginning college students. What do you want to do? How much money will you make? How do you become an executive with this firm? With so many questions it’s hard to know where to start. The reason this life planning for college students is so hard is because this is considered to be what you will spend a huge portion of your life doing. It is also important to choose a path that will support the lifestyle one would like to have. Ask yourself a few questions and with some proper research you can take the anxiety and stress out of this difficult choice.

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    Do What You Like

    What type of activities do you enjoy doing? This is a good starting point to identifying what your career options and aspirations may be. For instance, if you love animals, then a career in veterinary practice would be worth a look. Many schools also specialize in this field as well. Another example would be if you enjoy playing or watching sports. There is a plethora of career options in sports from athlete to athletic trainer and even sports writing. Finding out what you enjoy doing is very important, because when you choose a career it helps to work in an area that will keep your attention and be enjoyable. You may find yourself spending a lot of time studying and doing this job.

    If you find yourself in a time constraint while deciding on a career path and need to enroll for college, then look for a local school with good accreditation or even community college and start with the general courses. Virtually every degree path is going to require certain credits such as English, math/algebra, and electives. Take part in some elective courses that you do not know anything about. This will also help you to determine what you like and is a lot of fun. Taking general courses will help keep your skills sharp and allow you some additional time to determine your career path.

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    Looking at Career Resources

    Knowing what you like to do is a big part of choosing a career path and a major in college. This is unfortunately just the first step. The next step is to do research and learn about the options for your passion and the career options available. Life planning is about learning to research the options available and making a solid decision about what you enjoy and what you would like to do. The resources available for this are numerous. Local libraries will have plenty of career guides to start looking at as well as online sources. The Riley Guide website is a great place for some career guidance and research. They have extensive research articles and resources that can provide an abundance of information for helping you choose. Also look at career centers, job centers, and job search engines such as Monster. These sites and offices have resources such as career skills quizzes to help you decide on a career path and what you are suitable for.

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    Ask the Professionals

    Career guidance counselors are great options, but speak with the professionals in the industries that you like. Referring back to a previous example of the veterinarian, who would know more about that career field than a veterinarian? Talk to some of the professionals in a desirable field and find out what they like and dislike about their professions. They can also provide tips for how to attain that level.

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    Half Way Through School

    Changing your major after you have already started school increases in difficulty the further along in college you are. The administrative part of declaring a new major is dependent upon the school you attend. The hard part may be the feeling of starting all over. Before deciding to change your major, talk to the department heads for both the one you wish to switch to and the one you are switching from. They can help you determine how much will need to be done, how long and the value of switching. Ultimately the decision is yours but there are some resources available to help you make an informed decision.

    Life planning for college students is important and not to be taken lightly. That is why there are so many people willing to assist. Colleges, job fairs, job search sites and many others supply an abundance of resources for assisting you with this decision. Make use of these resources and take some time to really consider this.

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    The Riley Guide: