Today's column is from independent counselor Eric Dobler. Read on to learn what students need to know about themselves as they start thinking about colleges.
“What are you thinking about majoring in and why?”
This is a question I love asking students. It appears to be a very simple question on the surface, but can get at something much deeper. While some students are very undecided and have no idea what they want to do (which is okay – really, it is), most are able to talk about one or more ideas they have. They want to major in engineering or nursing. They want to be a teacher or go into business. They have a feeling for something but they’re not entirely sure why.
And regardless of whether they have an idea or not, the table has been set to explore what I call their VIPS – Values, Interests, Personality-Style and Skills. These are the attributes students need to explore and understand better in order to have a successful college admission experience. Yet most students lack an awareness of their VIPS. This is never clearer than in conversation with current college freshmen who say, “I’m not happy.” When I start asking questions to get to the root of the matter, the same themes pop up:
They don’t know what really matters to them.
They haven’t thought about how their skills and abilities match with their major.
They don’t understand what careers or skills a particular major will afford them.