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- Know yourself. Identify your values, aptitudes, interests and personality and consider the areas of study and careers that align with them.
- Know your financial goals. Consider what economic factors are important to you and how a college education will position you in the broader economy and help you achieve your financial goals for the future.
- Do some research. Study the trends in the industries that interest you. Are there certificates or competencies that your favorite employers are looking for? Can you get this expertise through your academic preparation, or do you need to seek additional study and guidance?
- Get specific experience. Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities, which take a variety of formats including internships, practicums, research assistantships and volunteer work. Experiential learning can be formal or informal but is almost always very educational.
- Job shadow. Spend time on the job with a professional in your area of interest and really observe what a day in their life is like.
- Conduct informational interviews. Schedule an interview with someone who works in your area of interest. Come prepared with questions, and let them do most of the talking. Take good notes to help further your understanding.
- Take a broad view. Majors are important, but they may not necessarily determine career success. Take responsibility for your own career path and make mature decisions.