Career Guidance Shouldn’t Be Career-Specific

To the Editor:

“Career Centers Stretch to Fill New Roles” (The Chronicle, September 30) addresses a growing concern over how colleges can better prepare students for careers after graduation. The article discusses how career centers are revamping their services and colleges are making career preparation a priority to help students translate their academic and extracurricular experiences into marketable skills. Although I agree that colleges should play a role in fostering students’ career skills, colleges also need to focus on students’ personal career exploration to ensure that students are choosing meaningful careers that align with their interests.

The article highlights changes that colleges have implemented, from creating major-specific plans for professors to share with students to integrating a career-guidance component into students’ major curriculum. In most cases, students can secure a variety of jobs regardless of their majors, except for certain fields like engineering. Therefore, having career development and guidance be major-specific can limit students’ beliefs about their career options. Also, it can be impractical since students tend to change their majors throughout college. These changes fail to include a component for students’ personal career exploration. If students are only concerned with developing career applicable skills, they may miss opportunities for personal growth.

Instead of only pushing students to develop careers skills, colleges should also emphasize that students learn their strengths and explore various career options. While it is necessary for colleges to connect what students are learning inside the classroom to the real world, most of the skills students gain in college are transferable to different fields. For this reason, colleges should help students learn and develop their personal interests in order for them to find fulfilling careers.

Amy Lou
Graduate Student
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
Los Angeles

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