Undeclared students can rest easier knowing there is an entire class dedicated to helping them find their passion.
“Finding your passion” is the goal of most every student at Illinois State. That typically begins with choosing a major, which can be both rewarding and stressful.
Career Choice (IDS 106) is a for-credit class for students who are undecided or unsure of their career path. The course, led by instructor Laurenn York, provides students with skills and strategies for making a career choice. It’s one of many services offered to undecided students to help explore their options.
“Technically the course is designed for freshmen and sophomores, but I’ve had everyone from freshmen to graduate students enrolled,” said York, a career advisor in the Career Center.
By the end of spring 2015, 93 percent of students enrolled in the class had found a major, and every one of those students said they would recommend the course to a friend.
Some students come into the class with a major in mind, while some are just starting to figure out where their initial interests lie.
Central focuses of the course include exploration and preparation. In the exploration segment students take personality and career interest assessments such as the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory (SII). These assessments help students investigate their personality related to major and career options.
Jessica Power, a junior apparel merchandising major, took IDS 106 as a sophomore.
“All of the interest and personality tests really let me get a sense of the type of person I am, and along with that career paths were highlighted for all my strengths, which just happened to include the major I had been looking at. This made me feel even more confident in my decision.” Power told STATEside.
York tries to model and adjust the course for each student by inviting University advisors and outside professionals to share their knowledge and experiences related to a specific major or career.
“When they start confirming their interests they’ll talk to someone in that field to not only see what (the career) looks like on paper, but to actually see the day to day and opinion of someone doing that work, which can give them an entirely new perspective.”
Students then move on to prepare for their chosen path by taking advantage of Career Center opportunities, such as attending career fairs.
Michelle Driscoll, a sociology major who took the class as a freshman, used the preparation segment to build her resume.
“Before this course, my resume was very minimal and quite weak,” Driscoll said. “After this particular class I learned how to make a strong resume and am now more confident in sending it to possible employers.”
York still keeps in contact with past students, giving further guidance and advice after the class ends.
“The course helps ease anxiety and offers support as students go through the process of choosing a major or choosing a career, in turn helping them build confidence and giving them the reassurance and resources they really need to get to where they want to be here at ISU,” said York.
Learn more about what it’s like to be an undecided student at Illinois State in this episode of our #BirdofMouth video series:
University Marketing and Communications intern Andrea Casali can be reached at alcasal@IllinoisState.edu.