College Bound High Schoolers Need Career Exposure

Upcoming events like this week’s Academy Expo will become valuable steps in preparing those high school students who plan to go to college.  Career Academies will give them another tool to selecting their college majors.

I had an opportunity this past week to accompany my son and grandson to an Open House at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. It was a full day of talks, tours and Career Expos which they held.  I learned a few things which I thought were important enough to pass along.

NIU offers 65 major degrees to it’s 17,000 undergraduate students.  Interestingly, 25% enter college undecided on their major while another 25% will change their major within the first year. I don’t know why these numbers to me are high but I wondered if it was because of lack of exposure to career choices while in high school.  I also wondered if this was typical across the country?

Sitting through the “Choosing your Major” presentation made me realize the importance of choosing one’s career before entering college.  A student muse choose which college he or she would enter, Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Health Sciences or Visual & Performing Arts.  Majors within each college had their own decision points.  If you were to enter the Athletic Training major, you needed to declare right away, same with the many majors in Visual & Performing Arts.

The College of business will allow one semester before declaring a major while you could wait until second year to declare a major in Liberal Arts.  Engineering requires the same basic courses so after the first year a declaration must be made among Electrical, Mechanical, Engineering technology or Industrial and Systems Engineering.

This week, the first Academy Expo will be held at Jefferson High followed by the start in January of the first phase of the Career Academies that will be implemented at each of the RPS 205 high schools.  certainly these students will be better prepared for entry into college and selection of a major.