Stage 2: Assessment and Exploration
Okay, okay, we know what your thinking. Didn’t we just talk about assessment in the last stage? Well, you’re right.
Just like those green leafy vegetables you should eat more of, we believe one can never have too much self-assessment
or exploration. This stage differs from the first one as the focus of the assessment and explorations shifts a little from
being holistic in nature to becoming more focused on the professional and career aspects of yourself. By this time, you
may have some idea of what you are good at (skills) and what you like and want (values). The trick is to plug those skills
and values into viable career choices.
This process can begin by further compiling your interests, strengths, weaknesses and so forth in relation to a career
and the world of work together and actually matching these traits to career choices. Programs, such as, SIGI PLUS
and DISCOVER are helpful, self-directed, computer programs that assist with this task. Both programs (in different ways)
allow the student to answer a series of questions regarding values, skills, and interests and then takes these answers
to compose a list of suggested occupations. Students can then research these occupations and make further choices.
To make arrangements to take SIGI PLUS or DISCOVER, call CDC at 556-3471.
However, these computer applications and workshops are not the only way to "assess and explore" career options.
One of the best ways is getting actual on-the-job experience. For example, you may want to be a lawyer, but you don’t
know much more than the O.J. trial or Court TV. Getting a part-time job in a law office gives you a realistic perspective
into the life of an actual lawyer (you may find that not every lawyer makes as much as Robert Shapiro or is as sharp as
Tom Cruise in "The Firm"). Students can obtain this valuable experience in a variety of ways: internships, externships,
summer jobs, co-ops, part-time jobs, volunteer work, etc., Becoming involved in professional organizations is also a
great way to gain insight into your potential careers. The student branches of professional organizations allow students
access to some of the same resources professionals take advantage of, while getting the added bonus of specialized
programs just for students. If there is not a student division of a professional organization you are interested in at UC,
contact the organization for more information about the local professional group or information about preparation and
Finally, this is a great stage to learn more about what preparation is involved for your career interests. Medical careers
are a great example of preparation. Becoming a doctor, then a specialist, (i.e. cardiac surgeon, neurologist) can take
up to 15 years after high school before your training is complete, not to mention, the expense that is involved and the
courses that are required. Knowing what’s ahead and what the requirements are makes for a much more informed
career decision. Trust us. We see a lot of students that decide on becoming a doctor then realize, before medical
school, that the prospect of ten more years of even more difficult classes may be too much to stomach. A good way t
o learn about preparation and training is over the Internet. The ‘Web has literally thousands of sites devoted to
employment and training. Here is more information about professions and graduate school.