There are many decisions you can make in your junior year that can have a significant
impact on your future career, such as: which internships to apply for, whether or not to study abroad, which organizations
to join, or whether or not to change your major.
You may think it's early to start thinking about the career implications
of your decisions in your junior year of college. ("Can the decisions that I make now truly have an impact on my career later?")
Well, let's take a look at the study abroad example, a common issue for students. Some students
think that they will "lose time" and graduate "late" by studying abroad. Others see study abroad as a critical part of expanding
their knowledge beyond the classroom. Both sides have legitimate concerns for how studying abroad may affect them, but they
have opposite opinions.
The right answer depends on you, the student. If you are planning on medical school, then perhaps
fitting study abroad into your college plan may be difficult. If you are planning to go to work right after college, then
study abroad is a great way to add depth to your experience. (By the way, graduating according to your own plan is never "graduating
late." It's just graduating.)
This is just one example of a thought process that you will repeat many times over as you begin
to evaluate different opportunities to see how they fit your interests, values, and skills. This process most often takes
place in an instant, as you go with "what feels right."
Intuition is a good thing, but there is also a lot of value in testing that intuition by putting
a little structure around your evaluation. That is why we offer you this decision making tool.
Ultimately, the evaluation you do in your junior year should help you answer two important questions:
- What do I want to do when I graduate?
- What is the ideal profile I can build to present myself as the best candidate for my goal after graduation?
Remember -- You're Not Alone
The responsibility is strictly yours to set your career
goals and make plans to achieve them, but you shouldn't see yourself as alone in your decision making process. Your career
evaluation will become easier if you use the resources available to you. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Attend career and graduate/professional school fairs
- Talk with alumni about your chosen career field
- Meet with a career counselor to refine your resume and cover letters
- Attend workshops to enhance job and graduate school search skills
- Attend information sessions offered by recruiting organizations