Many students enroll in college because they believe it will help them in the future. Many hope college will help them obtain stable jobs upon graduation. Many enter thinking they want to study one thing, learn more about the major and career options, and choose to study something else. And many know exactly what they want to do and love what they're learning and doing right off the bat. Wherever you're at in your career exploration path, at OSU you have a wide range of resources available to you that can help you find a path that's right for you. Take advantage of the tips and resources provided to you and explore the options that interest you. Talking to your academic advisor, professors, or other faculty members can be a great place to start exploring future career options. And engaging in research or work in the field or major that you're interested in can be extremely informative, too.

One of the first steps in career exploration is self-assessment. You can do this through discussions with faculty, values tests, online resources, interest inventories, personality assessments, or in a career exploration class. Some of the questions you'll be asked are: What interests you? What do you spend your time doing? What skills and abilities do you have that you'd like to use in the workforce? What values do you live by? What's important to you? What don’t you care as much about? These questions, and their answers, help lay the foundation for career exploration and development, and help guide you through the decision-making process.

Career exploration involves more than finding a major and completing the coursework. It involves the active investigation of careers and work experience. After graduation, when students look for jobs in their career field of choice, employers look at more than the coursework the student completed; they want to know about the internships, clubs, research, and work environments the students took part in during their time in school.

Some things to consider as you think about where you are and where (and what? and who?) you want to be:

  • Define your values. Figure out what is important to you and what isn’t. Always keep your values in mind. As you begin to seek out possible careers, see if the possibility matches up with your core values.
  • Use campus resources for picking and finding a major. The University Exploratory Studies Program (UESP) is a great resource for OSU students. UESP provides guidance as you explore your interests and find a major that fits your personal needs, interests, and career plans.
  • Take the ALS 114 Career Decision Making class. This class incorporates self-assessment, the exploration of academic and career options, as well as intentional decision making and action.
  • Look into internships, jobs, and volunteer work that relate to your interests or major during your summer break. Use these experiences to demonstrate to employers that you have valuable skills that can be useful in your field.
  • Get involved in Undergraduate Research. One of the best ways to learn about the research in your field of interest is to take part in the research now. Take time to reflect on what you're interested in, and then meet with the folks in Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts (URSA) to learn more about what next steps you can take.
  • Go to Career Events. Meet employers and talk to them about job opportunities and what skills and/or classes might help you if you are considering joining their field.
  • Set up informational interviews and job shadowing opportunities with professionals in the field. Use those experiences to gather more information about specific professions.
  • Get involved. Join a club or organization, study abroad, volunteer, and/or go to campus events and programs. These opportunities allow you to explore your interests while having fun and adding to your resume.  
  • Visit the Career Development Center, in person and online. Make a career counseling and assessment appointment. Get feedback on your resumes and cover letters, and set up mock interviews. These services will prepare you for entry into the workforce.
  • Visit the Writing Studio or use the Online Writing Suite. Take job descriptions, your resume(s), and your cover letters to the Writing Studio. A studio consultant can help you focus and enhance your writing based on the job description and requirements.

It's important to keep in mind that exploration can feel messy, and that it can take time to get to where you want to be. It's a form of transition. You're moving from wherever you've started in your thinking and study, dabbling and trying out and reflecting and assessing and choosing, and heading towards a place where you feel like you've landed. It's awesome that you're engaging in the process. Be sure to remind yourself of this throughout your exploration!

If you want to talk more about any of this, or to come up with a plan for your exploration, or if you need help finding someone or someplace to connect with, don't hesitate to swing by the ASC and chat with us. You don't need an appointment, you can just drop by whenever it works for you: Waldo Hall 125 | Monday through Friday | 9 AM to 5 PM. It can help to brainstorm and think through questions and next steps with someone else, and if you're not sure what resource you need we can help you identify and locate the place. We're delighted to work with you!