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Articles / Career Planning / How Career-Minded Are You?

Jan. 4, 2021

How Career-Minded Are You?

One of the tools I use for college counseling is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). In a nutshell, the MBTI gives high schoolers (and adults of all ages) a look at their preferences about life, which can lead to pointing them in the right direction for a college major and life's work. It helped me to finally understand some of my own behaviors, about which I was puzzled. (Don't worry; I haven't completely figured out myself yet.)

The publisher of the MBTI is CPP. They have just done a survey of high school and community college students that had some interesting results. The study showed that career is high on students' priority lists. An overwhelming majority of participants (81%) said they either “constantly" or “frequently" think about their future career, and 42% (the largest group of respondents for the category) reported that career is “top of mind."

Here's a recap of this interesting survey that shows students are . . .


o 81% are “constantly" or “frequently" thinking about their future career

o 12% think about their career only “occasionally"

o Not a single respondent reported “rarely" or “never" thinking about it

Feel careers should be personally fulfilling:

o 80% believe a career should be something that brings enjoyment and fulfillment to their life

o 72% want a career that aligns with their passion

o 53% believe their career will play a role in defining them as an individual

Don't believe their parents have this privilege:

o 57% said their parents either “like what they do, but suspect they'd rather do something else" or “don't like what they do, but feel they need to do it for the money" (as compared to 25% who believe their parents “love what they do")

Connect career success with enjoyment of work:

o 78% believe they will achieve the most success in a career for which they have a passion

o When identifying specific motivators for successful people, the largest group of respondents (58%) believe “enjoyment of the work itself" as the primary motivator for career success over money and a desire for power, influence, and respect among other choices

See their studies as steps to career fulfillment and success:

o The majority (55%) believe that knowing their ideal career path will improve their college performance

o For specifics on what motivates them to study, the largest group of respondents (27%) cited “interest in the subject" as their primary motivator compared to only 9% who cited “getting into a good college"

Gain clarity about their career direction from assessments:

o 72% reported they were more enthusiastic about their future career after taking CPP's Strong Interest Inventory assessment

o 85% said they became aware of more appealing career options after reviewing their assessment results

o 50% reported that knowing their results made them more likely to study

Bottom line, as cited in the report: "For many of today's career seekers, the size of their potential paycheck is not all-important. Above all, they want a career that offers opportunities for both professional and personal fulfillment. Career satisfaction now affects everything from individual happiness and family stability to company profits and national economic competitiveness. It contributes to motivation and plays a crucial role in people's performance of and commitment to their work. Simply put, the more people like what they're doing for a living, the more motivated they are to put forth the effort and focus that success demands and organizations need."

Check out the MBTI, if you would like to learn more about yourself, your preferences about life, and how all that can lead to a rewarding career and life's work.


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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