Unsure about what to do with life? You’re not alone. Each year, numerous students come into college without a clue about what they want to major in or what profession they’d like to pursue. But students cannot avoid this burning question forever.
In answer to this problem, the Quinnipiac University developed the Career Explorers Program, or CEP, to help students face the issue of their futures head-on.
The program, first developed in the fall of 2003 and implemented just last spring, was jump-started and is run by the assistant director of career development, Susan Hyde-Wick.
“I felt that there was a need for first and second year students to have an individualized program where they would get personalized attention from career consultants and develop the skills needed to succeed,” Hyde-Wick said.
Modeled after effective programs from other colleges and universities, CEP focuses on the student’s self-evaluation and career concerns, as well as identifying and understanding the influences of family and friends on their career path.
“The program involves students examining their motivation for choosing or not choosing a major,” Hyde-Wick said. “It’s also about meeting students where they are in the decision making process and guiding them from there.”
Students participating in the program will complete an “educational” checklist that is divided into three categories: academics, extra-curricular activities and leadership, and experience.
“Examples of things from the academic section are doing such things as developing a mentoring relationship with a professor or advisor,” Hyde-Wick said. “Those types of relationships are critical to success.”
Hyde-Wick also suggests getting involved in the university’s three-fold leadership program which consists of “Emerging Leaders”, completed freshman year, “Collaborative Leaders”, completed sophomore year, and “Citizen Leaders”, which is completed junior year.
She says that these types of activities enable students to “learn the skill of teamwork and how to work with others towards a common goal.”
To fulfill the experience category, students may do things like meeting with other career counselors for internship and part-time employment possibilities, job shadowing, interviewing alumni for information, or talking with seniors about their majors.
Another important part of the program is the student’s completion of the DISCOVER program over the internet. Participants receive usernames and passwords so that they can access the program which features a series of self-assessment tests as well as options that allow students, among other things, to access specific career information and develop their resumes. Even students who are not a part of CEP can use this program by stopping by career services and setting up a password.
Although CEP participants deal mostly with Hyde-Wick and Mike Minutoli, Assistant Director of Career Programs, other individuals, including the entire career staff, the student affairs staff, and Resident Advisors, as well as a new addition, faculty members, are also involved.
“We’re trying to bring the program into the academic level as well to have advisors be included as an important mentoring resource.” Hyde-Wick said.
Currently, forty-three sophomores are involved with CEP. Hyde-Wick and Minutoli plan to send e-mails to freshmen about the program in the upcoming semester.
“I want freshman to be exposed to the program second semester because their first semester is just too busy,” She said.
So far, the program has proven effective based on the results of evaluations taken by participants.
“The results were very positive,” Hyde-Wick said. “The evaluation indicated that students were more aware of themselves and more engaged in leadership activities.”
Hyde-Wick advises students who are undecided about their majors not to fret.
“Take courses you like, do some self-assessment, and do some research,” she said. “But don’t worry too much about being undecided because many students end up changing their majors. I think it’s a good thing to be undecided because you can explore.”
Students interested in the Career Explorers Program should contact Susan Hyde-Wick by e-mail at [email protected] or call Career Services
at extension 8680.