Career choices VS College choices





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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Career choices VS College choices
By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 09:31 am: Edit

Some feel college is a place to explore and discover new interests, especially for those with undecided majors. This is one advantage of the LAC. But, how much career exploration is truly done at the college level? Many choose colleges with a specific career in mind, based on the reputation of a particular department, so I assume some career exploration has occurred during the high school years. I also know that some colleges have career centers, although I do not know if these are more placement centers, or areas of discovery.

I would be interested in a discussion on the importance of choosing a college vs. choosing a career. Many of us parents obviously spend a lot of time with our children looking for that “perfect college” with the right fit. Some high schools even have special college counselors. Yet, at the same time, few focus on career choices. I am aware of a several high schools in our area that explore this with their students, but it remains a relatively minor effort. The students may choose a career to shadow for a day, or write a brief essay. Our high school spends a few hours offering a “career fair” during which volunteers will discuss their various occupations. There is no where near the amount of time and effort devoted to career choices as to college choices, and I feel we are missing something important. Do other high schools do more exploration with their students? Do you, with your child?

(I know SuzieVT and her daughters do! I was VERY impressed with the time and effort her older daughter spent looking at the architectural field. By comparison, I know many students who choose a career because they like a particular subject, yet have no clue what the profession is truly like, or even what options are available. I think SuzieVT did things right….and believe students need more of that type of exploration during high school.)

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:00 am: Edit

Our HS spends about 1 hour per year on career choice related topics as far as I can tell. The kids are encouraged to spend more time with "on line" sorts of explorations, though I am not sure how many do. The joke at our house was that my older son, based upon the career test results his junior year, should be studying to be a pastry chef. This a boy who hates messy hands, eats only beige food and is a born writer.

Seriously though, I think the issue is this...is there more to college than just a pre-professional experience? Over and over I hear people (mostly people who did not go to highly selective schools) extoll the virtues of going to larger, cheaper school options for college, and then to more selective(expensive) schools for graduate school. Clearly they see the whole pipeline as a career tract and the financial investment, and returns, as the clear measure of success.

I see things differently. I want my kids to have a college experience which is as much about learning about themselves and others as it is learning from books and professors. I want them to have stimulating peers and mentors. I want them to continue to develop their critical and analytic thinking. I want them to discover intellectual passions and the rewards of hard work-from which they will derive lifelong pleasure- so that they can make these the basis of a rewarding professional life. I want their college experiences to be a series of opening doors.

Do I want my kids to be self supporting and as financially comfortable as they need to be to make themselves happy...sure. But, I would like to give them the luxury of not rushing their professional decisions for as long as possible.


I am sure there are kids who know exactly what they want to do by the time they reach their senior year in HS. Both my husband and I are in careers we had never even heard of until we finished college(or in my case 7 additional years of schooling). Our college experience taught us to work hard, think clearly and write reasonably well. We had a never ending stream of stimulating peers and professors. I think we would have been less content in our careers had we wedded ourselves too early to what seemed the spectrum of choices as a HS or even college student.

As well, as has been noted on this board many times before, the reality is that 15 years from now a high percentage of the working population will be doing jobs that have not yet even been created.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:01 am: Edit

what our family did at least with our oldest was expose her to various experiences growing up so that while high school she did have her fingers in various pies so to speak, by college, she had at least a general idea of what field she was interested in. LACS are more likely to give a broad based major jsut by virtue of their size, than a larger school. She is a biology major, but if she was at a school where she might be more specialized, she might be an astrobiology major with emphasis on plants, or even majoring in biochem. Within their field there is really a great deal of exploring to do.
Personally I think finding your "perfect" career is overrated, it seems a very indulgent "american" thing to do. Find what you are interested in and good at and do it, it more than likely will change several times in your lifetime and I don't think that has anything to do with whether your initial choice was appropriate or not.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit

Kjo, I could not agree with you more! So much goes into this college process and I find that high school does just about nothing to expose kids to career areas and options and exploration of those things. There is nothing here where they get into that. I found that sorely missing. Of course a high schooler need not pick a career as a teenager and college is for further exploration of all that is out there. But on the other hand, I think it helps if a kid has "direction" because the choices he/she makes now about college can affect certain careers. For instance, if you want to be an engineer, at many schools you must apply directly into their engineering program. Now, how does a kid know that she wants to be an engineer when applying to college? How does a kid even know what in the world engineers do??? That is just one example.

My oldest has always liked a lot of things, several subjects, and so forth. She never had a certain career aspiration. And that is ok and very normal. When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher and indeed did eventually go into education in college and graduate school. That is a field that kids are exposed to, of course. But there are so many fields that kids have no clue about and it would help to be exposed so that they might pick a college where they could at least explore that interest further (need not know their major ahead of time but they at least would be attending a school that offered that field). I started talking about this with that daughter as we began the college process. Actually it likely was more in tenth grade (began the college process in 11th). We talked about her interests and strengths and what you could do with those. Once for a Bio assignment, she chose to shadow a biochemist who owned a lab. Afterwards, she said that was not for her. As we looked into colleges, we did look at engineering. I know she really did not know what engineers do. But even reading the engineering department websites gave a clue to the field. Same with the college visits. She also looked into architecture as it combined several interests and skills that she has. She decided to explore that field some to see how she liked it. She set up a year long indep. study in 11th grade one period per day under the supervision of a faculty member at our HS. She studied drafting, mechanical drawing and AutoCad and liked it a lot. She also took drawing senior year, though had taken other art classes before, but is not really an artist. She lined up an internship the summer after junior year with a local architect so she could see how she liked that field first hand. It was a great experience because the architect gave her real architectural work to do. She liked it a lot. That is something I recommend all kids do if they can, just to explore.

As we began visiting colleges, she looked into both engineering and architecture. Shortly into the visit process, she chose architecture over engineering, and I think she got more of a sense of the field from visiting departments, talking to students, observing classes and seeing the design studios. It was exposure to something she does not get at high school. Obviously, some subject areas, you are exposed to at school, such as being a writer, or a mathematician, or a historian, and can say with some conviction whether you like that kind of work. But there are many fields, such as architecture, where you do not experience them in high school.

This choice to explore architecture in college affected the selection of colleges to have on her list because many colleges that she may have otherwised liked (i.e., Williams, Harvard, Wesleyan), did not offer this major. So, that is why it is important to have some "direction" as far as careers (not talking a firm commitment) so that one picks colleges where they can explore that field more and if they change their mind, the college offers a zillion other fields anyway. But vice versa is not true. She would not ever experience architecture at a school like Williams that does not offer it.

Now, on the other hand, some schools offer a five year professional degree of BArch where the student must COMMIT to enter architecture as their field on the application. We visited one such school/program, Cornell, and afterwards, my daughter realized she is not ready to make that commitment at age 17 to a field and has opted to study architecture in a liberal arts setting and get a BA which then could be followed by a MArch if she does end up sticking with this choice. Without having done that much yet in this field, it was too hard to know for sure that that would be her career. So, I would say she has "direction" and in fact, chose two of her four courses this fall around this "intent". She took Intro. to HIstory of Art and Architecture and Intro. to Engineering (a prerequisite to engineering courses that relate to architecture) and plans to take studio art next semester. Who knows if she changes her mind, and I do not care.

Now, on the other hand, I have a second child who is commiting NOW in high school and when applying to college for a certain degree/major that is specialized. That is the opposite from D1 who is not ready to commit to a professional program in architecture because it is a field she has only explored a bit but not yet really been involved in to know for certain. But D2 is going into a field that she has already experienced her entire childhood, musical theater. As mentioned, there are so many fields that kids do not get to explore yet prior to college to even know what they are like. But there are some that they do get exposed to and even experience first hand and that is how it has gone for this second child. She KNOWS she wants to major in this field and have a career in it. She can say that as she has been immersed in it her whole life with more passion and depth with each passing year. So, she is ready to commit. I do not see that as a better path but I can see how she can make that decision now to enter a professional degree program. The other child could not yet commit to one in her intended field as she has yet to be fully immersed in it to know that yet. For a kid who simply likes theater, they could do like my older D is doing with architecture and major in theater in college and get a BA in it and then specialize and enter a professional MFA degree program for grad school (much like my older one might do later for an MArch). But for any kid to enter specialized undergraduate program like my second daughter is doing, they surely would have had to have explored that career a lot before college to make such a choice and commitment.

So, whether your child goes for a liberal arts degree OR a more specialized path, it still pays to explore careers while in high school because it may guide their college choices in either situation. I very much wish schools put some energy into career exploration which could be integrated with subject coursework, even if it were just speakers or career panels or job shadows or internships. Our school does not really address this at all, at least not for college bound students.

Susan

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit

To pick up a craeer is really a tough thing? Do they evaluate and determine anyway? I have seen some scoring on what field you may like but that is based on your past high school experience? I am not very satisfied with it. Does any one has an experience how to choose a carrier?

When I chose I chose based on money and to make my life better. My older one is picking based on his writing and analtyical strenght and applying towards businees and finance. BUt he is till unsure

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:12 am: Edit

Neither does our school. But as parents we have always strived to tell him what we do at work and to also expose him to different fields.

When he went off to college, he went there with 2 or 3 specific interests. He is exploring those subjects in greater detail now. Over the summer, he will take an internship in one of the subjects to see how he likes it. He has also done job some summer work in one of his interests.

One of his interests in Philosophy which I don't know how he can explore except by reading..

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

Roby, I had not seen your post above when I posted. But I very much agree with you as to the purpose of the college education. That is why my older child did not want to commit to a professional program in architecture (a five year BArch degree) because while she thinks she is interested in that, she wanted a broad liberal arts education where she takes many things and in fact, loves many subjects. So, she will just have a regular old major in college, which may or may not be architectural studies. She will become educated and specialize later.

Still I think kids should be exposed to careers and fields while in high school. It gives them goals to think about, fields to explore, direction to take. Some colleges might be better picks for certain interests than others (like my architecture example even for a BA in architectural studies, not offered everywhere). This is still recognizing that the career choice could change ten times in college, who cares.

I do think, now that I have a second child going a more specialized route, that some kids really do know what their passion is because of heavy duty involvement in something over years and for those kids, entering into specialized education works. I know my daughter really KNOWS that musical theater is her life's work, even if she someday goes off in a related field, it likely won't be totally unrelated. She may direct, write, or something else, if not perform onstage. But theater is her life, at least in this next stage of it. Conservatory style training is the next step in her path. But she also prefers a college that will offer her liberal arts along with the professional program (some barely do but her first choice schools do).

So, even though I really do see college as about getting an education and not about a ticket to a job, it never hurts to start exploring fields of interest and being exposed to these careers while in high school, not because kids must choose that young but because having a direction MIGHT then affect certain college selections (which obviously is not the case for majors like history, or English, which every school offers).

Susan

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

I strongly believe, though, that college is a time to find out who you are as a person and to explore all your interests, be they in Medieval Literature or existentialist thought.

And that some good comes from being 'ivory-towerish' and from learning things that apparently have no connection to the real world. I wish I had that luxury myself when I was an 18-year-old.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:24 am: Edit

>> Some feel college is a place to explore and discover new interests, especially for those with undecided majors. This is one advantage of the LAC.

An important correction. This has nothing to do with a liberal arts college or a university. Most of the country's most elite private universities teach the same liberal arts curriculum as the small undergrad colleges.

With the exception of engineering programs, you see very little vocational training at any of these schools, liberal arts college or university.

By Garland (Garland) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

I much agree, Achat, and also with Robyrm. My recently graduated D still doesn't know what she wants to do, but her undergraduate experience was a time for amazing growth and development. She has learned about herself, about the world, about learning and thinking, issues and big ideas. The job she has now certainly isn't what she's going to be doing most of her life, but she likes it well enough. I have little doubt that when she decides on a specific goal, her attainment of it will happen. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying knowing the incredible young woman she is.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:28 am: Edit

Susan,
I agree with the idea of exploring professional options, mostly because I wouldn't want my child to make decisions that result in them having fewer choices down the road. For example, son #2 is interested in law, diplomacy, government, economics, political science, social systems...that sort of thing. Knowing this, he has committed to trying to develop his 2nd and 3rd language skills because he will benefit from them in these general fields.

I am all for keeping options wide open, that is the best reason I can see for early exploration.

And, definitely, there are people who are hatched to do something specific, and they know it early on and I think it behooves the parents of those children to help them learn as much as they can, as early as they can, about how that could look for them as adults.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 10:36 am: Edit

Also, doesn't it really come down to brains? I mean , in our school district there are vocational programs and a vocational high school and many programs where a high school student can earn college credit for cooking classes or engineering or EMT or police work. Then there are the BRIGHT kids. Those kids who can figure the math, physics, write the poetry or stories, do the calculus,- those who are academically gifted.And even thought these kids are smart and talented, they are just scratching the surface of their specialty.It takes these bright kids a little longer to find their career and fact is their careers require much more time.(A good lawyer requires good research, writing, verbal, etc. skills. A doctor requires good science, chemistry, math, people, etc. skills.)I'm very much in favor of knowing what path to take but with SO much knowledge to learn bright kids take longer.

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

I guess my concern is that the kids who graduate without some career focus will end up taking a job they don't like just to survive and end up spending years in unsatisfying work. I think any child who takes the liberal arts route also needs to be taught the skills necessary to craft a career. It is hard to provide guidance in things like risk taking, persistence, flexibility, creativity,and self-confidence. These qualities are the product of the whole child rearing process. We hope that the opportunities we have given the children and the many experiences they have had along the way will give them what they need. I am concerned that I have not modelled good behavior in this respect, because I was not good at finding my niche. I just bought Major in Success and another book along the line of Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow. These definitely are not on the top of my daughter's reading list, however. She prefers to charge ahead, which just might be the ticket.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit

So there's half a million kids who went to state schools with a specific CS focus, did well, and are now making lattes for Starbucks. Aeronautical engineers the same. In our state last year, there were 350 applicants for a single legal position in the Attorney General's office paying $38.5k.

Hey, if you are gonna be "underemployed", as the Department of Labor says that, in 2010, 84% of jobs requiring college degrees won't require "college-level" skills, at least you should be able to keep yourself amused. That is, if you can't get into the most selective college program in the country - the nursing program at Middlesex Community College.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 11:59 am: Edit

Did you see this?
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002044939_gap24.html

For every job paying $20.97 an hour, the base for a single parent of two, there are 13 job seekers, the study found. For jobs paying at least $10.07 an hour, the living-wage threshold for a single adult, there are four job seekers.

Andy Drott is one of them.

The 60-year-old computer programmer can't find a job in his old pay range, $75,000 a year. So now he's competing with others for lower-paying jobs, some as low as $10 an hour.


Ya George might have created some jobs but they're not new jobs.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit

The "housing wage" -- that at which a single parent with two could afford an apartment at the 35th percentile of apartment rental costs -- in Seattle is now just under $17 an hour. I deal with homeless people in my work, and you would be shocked to see how many of them are not substance abusers, not mentally ill, not "drifters", not criminals or former criminals, and are employed, but simply can't afford a place to live. The motels along the I-5 corridor are filled with working people and families double and tripled up. I see them at the local soup kitchen - the motels don't allow cooking.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 12:26 pm: Edit

what really sucks is many of those motels where people are paying by the day to live are ripping them off. If they could scrape up the money for first and last damage deposit and all the rest they could find a better place to live.

I may be cynical, but while I am thrilled that my oldest seems to have a found a career that she is well suited for, and employable in ( education), I think there is nothing wrong with finding a job that you are good at and doing it to the best of your ability.
Life is not just about the 40 or 60 hours you spend at your job at least it shouldn't be, and I suspect with the "global" economy, our country is not going to have a relatively affluent middle class again.
People who get hung up on having a job that best suits their interests and skills are people like my brother in law who spent almost two years unemployed because he wouldn't take a job that wasn't prestigous enough in his eyes for someone that had been a CFO with multiple grad degrees.
It wasn't like he was using the time as a sabbatical either to explore interests, unless you count lounging around in sweats watching football challenging. @@

By Cangel (Cangel) on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 12:34 pm: Edit

>Seriously though, I think the issue is this...is there more to college than just a pre-professional experience? Over and over I hear people (mostly people who did not go to highly selective schools) extoll the virtues of going to larger, cheaper school options for college, and then to more selective(expensive) schools for graduate school. Clearly they see the whole pipeline as a career tract and the financial investment, and returns, as the clear measure of success.

I see things differently. I want my kids to have a college experience which is as much about learning about themselves and others as it is learning from books and professors. I want them to have stimulating peers and mentors. I want them to continue to develop their critical and analytic thinking. I want them to discover intellectual passions and the rewards of hard work-from which they will derive lifelong pleasure- so that they can make these the basis of a rewarding professional life. I want their college experiences to be a series of opening doors.<

That's all very worthwhile, and that's what I want for my child, too, but I'm a 2nd gen college grad (1 parent was a college grad). My Mom would dismiss that as a total waste of time - the growing up occurs while you're juggling your classes, part-time job, etc. For most college students that is still true, they don't have the luxury of self-discovery at Yale or Swarthmore, they need to get a job to replace the low wage job they are working while in school.
Our kids are the very fortunate few.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 01:18 am: Edit

Some highly motivated, biting-at-the-bit post-adolescents might wander through a BA and waltz into meaningful and well-paying work.

My guess is that the majority--especially boys--need to combine the wonders of intellectual development in the comfort of a Disney halfway house with some thought about the work years ahead.

Before I settled on architecture, I methodically worked as a Candy Striper, (Yuck), sat in on law lectures, (Snooze), and took studio art classes. Oh yeah, and earned $1.10 per hour at Dairy Queen in the 'hood. (To my horrified dad, "You said I should get a job! You didn't say which neighborhood!" ).

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 02:16 am: Edit

I would say that even the fortunate few are being encouraged to think about what they want to get out of college in terms of career prep. Counselors, parents and invited speakers of all kinds at my private schools have spoken to us about how competitive today's world is. They have warned us that grad school will be important, so college grades and hitting the ground running is important. We have been clued in on what's important to B schools, law schools and med schools. No one is saying not to have a good time and study a wide range of things, but I think we have been made well aware that we may not be in the best position if we have no direction.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 03:15 am: Edit

I can only speak for my children. They know full well the consequences of underemployment and they know that the opportunity being given to them is one that is not provided to most people in the world. They have daily encounters with a reality that most Americans cannot begin to imagine. They define success broadly- personal comfort or a rewarding professional life is one thing, bettering the lives of others another.

They will get it all figured out one way or another. For now, their job is to live the present to its fullest.

By Pamvanw (Pamvanw) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 08:39 am: Edit

Our high school requires a senior project to graduate, & while a career exploration isn't required, that is what is encouraged. Most students find it helpful. Our son for instance was narrowly focused on mechanical engineering, but during this career research he found other fields of engineering that have better job prospects in this country. They also have instituted "Project Lead The Way", which is a series of engineering courses for kids that think that will be their focus. The students can earn college credit by completing all 4 years. For our son, it has been the single thing that let him know that he loves that sort of thing. Having watched my daughter's friends graduate last May, the ones that majored in a specific field like archetecture, engineering, education & finance seem to have fared the best in the job market - & they seem the happiest with their careers so far. The history major is strugling & miserable in her $10/hr job at a bank. The psych major is commuting 2 hours to be a reasearch assistant at a similar rate of pay. The communications major is going to grad school because he didn't know what else to do. Who knows how everyone will fare 10 years down the road. If a high school can start them thinking about a career that can only be a good thing.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

I know that some middle schools are requiring culminating projects but not all, as well as some elementary schools. I think it is a state requirement, but a new one and various schools will have a different idea of the amount of support and guidance they give students which of course may determine how useful it is.

(Pam are you in Ballard? sounds familar)

By Pamvanw (Pamvanw) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

No, we aren't in Ballard. It's just an average public high school in PA. Actually our high school does a decent job with other careers as well. We have a program for students interested in education, where they spend half their day assisting in one of our elementary schools. We have a great communications department/TV studio; all kinds of computer classes, including a Cisco Networking Certification Program; a business interning program; & naturally there's also the VoTech available to all students. The problem is fitting any of this into your schedule. Once the basics are taken, if you add music (which kids at our school seem to love) & a language (which colleges want), then you're overloading yourself by taking anything extra.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 02:25 pm: Edit

I didn't realize "project lead the way" was a national program. Several of our high schools have programs which students are encouraged to participate in and take the majority of their classes through.
Ballard has a Maritime program, and students enrolled in that will take their classes with the same group of kids filtered through Maritime perspective and have hands on activities like working on fishing boats.
Also have Project lead the way, a biotechnology
http://ballard.seattleschools.org/academics/academies/biotech.htmlprogram and it seems they have a business/marketing prgram as well.
My daughter was interested in the biotech program but her math skills were not high enough and so she didn't qualify. The school she is currently attending has her enrolled in a support class, which along with her math class is intended to help her catch up to grade level.
While the Gates foundation is giving incentives to schools to break themselves up into "academies" the school she is attending is more of the college prep model and resisting being broken up.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 03:34 pm: Edit

In looking for a college, our kids were seeking a combination: an excellent liberal arts education where they could explore to their hearts' content, and lots of access to interesting internships so that they could explore and prepare for different careers. I don't think it needs to be or should be an either/or.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Aparent, you stole the words right out of my mouth. I also don't think it needs to be an either/or thing. Some liberal arts schools actually do a very good job of encouraging internships and career exploration early on.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 09:34 am: Edit

I don't think kids should be wedded to a particular career field as early as HS. I think I would be a little concerned if my child was. One of the advantages of the U.S. system is that they don't have to be. And most of us know that career choices can change, by choice or by necessity.

I went to college as a dedicated pre-med, no question in my mind what I wanted to do. By the end of the first year, I had changed my mind. I knew physics majors who changed their majors to creative writing, etc etc. I get concerned that with the competetive atmosphere these days, too many kids think they need to have their lives mapped out before they're 18. Think of all they could miss out on... Certainly exploring different career options is a good idea, but I wouldn't focus too much energy on it. There's plenty of time for that later.

If your HS kid believes they want to pursue a particular career, of course it is important to find a school that offers it, because that is what they want to do at that time. And perhaps they will in fact end up in that career. But IMO the most important thing is to go to the best school you can get into, which will help maximize your options.

By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 10:28 am: Edit

Carolyn, How do the LAC's you referenced encourage career exploration? Most colleges we have visited have career centers, but they typically only mention resume and interview skill sessions, or how many employers came on campus to interview. Are the students encouraged through their classes to explore different careers? How would we research this when college shopping?

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit

I am a total fan of LACs, and I think my D's was the perfect choice for her, but I don't think they did much with career exploration. Basically, the career center gave directions about resumes etc., and pointed them to Monster.com. As far as internships, I know some students did get them in the summers, but she needed to work for money then, and never found a paid one. The lack of that kind of experience is impeding her job search now. I think now I would've counseled her to take out loans and do the unpaid internships, if I had realized what a difference it could make. but this would've been an issue no matter where she went to college.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:02 am: Edit

Garland, re your last sentence, not necessarily. There are schools that offer departmental, alumni, and finaid funding for unpaid summer internships.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:08 am: Edit

I think her school did this for some students if they were on FA, but not if they weren't. I'm going to definitely have my S explore this at the U he's at, to see if that's possible.

By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:37 am: Edit

As Interestedad noted, the curriculum benefits of an LAC education vs. that offered by a comprehensive university is a false one.

In addition the perception that a career-path major like engineering precludes a student from obtaining a broad education is not necessarily true either. I went to Ohio State in the day when the standard undergrad engineering program was 5 years. Because of that I was able to take a wide range of electives and because of Ohio State's size the options far exceeded anything an LAC could reasonably offer. Some of my electives were Serbo-Croation literature, Cybernetics, Social Thought in America taught by the great Visiting Prof Gunnar Myrdal, metallurgy of ferrous metals, regional and city planning, medieval and Rennaisance music, 20th century music(the first day of class-entering a dark lecture room-Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps-Danse Sacrle playing at ear-splitting volume-I still get the chills remembering that moment), hydraulics lab in the famous Robinson Laboratory lab, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and of course Concrete Canoe(2nd place in regional competition baby!) Add to that the opportunity to be on the stage crew of a Jerome Lawrence world permiere play, playing a Saturday morning pickup game with future NBA player and coach Jim Cleamons, solving the world's problems far into the nite with Bruce Villanch(yeah, he was out and proud in 1970!), ah what a wonderful 5 years it was.

Today a student could opt to go to the state university, put together a 5 year engineering program chocked full of interesting electives and still come out financially ahead of the game.

By thinking creatively, we can significantly reduce the number of either/or chioces we need to make.


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