As more and more students seek information and guidance on college/university admissions and careers, career counselling in a structured format becomes critical to making decisions and offers much-needed direction. Selecting the right subjects of undergraduate and higher studies that lead to jobs, professions and careers of their choice are the main objectives with which they approach career counsellors.
Choice is an important word here – and it should be noted accordingly – as career counsellors mostly inform students about appropriate/suitable options and make recommendations based on the students’ interests, aptitudes, personalities and goals. Unlike a doctor’s prescription which is a clearly-defined course or path to follow for a patient, career counsellor recommendations to their students are seldom a single career path to follow.
Much to the dilemma and chagrin of students (and their parents), career counsellors usually present career scenarios and options to students, preferring not to pin-point a single subject of study or career path to individual students who seek advice/counsel from them. I’m not sure why this is so, but I’ve found that this practice is true in India, in the United States and in Australia as well… leaving many students and their parents in some uncertainty.
Perhaps this conundrum exists because career counsellors are expected to offer guidance only – a sort of handholding you might say – and. ultimately, students have to make their own independent decisions on their careers, subjects of study and colleges/universities they choose. So, though career counsellors can help students (a) articulate their interests and career goals and (b) identify their aptitudes, skills and talents, the challenge of choosing the right education and career path still rests with the students.
According to psychology.about.com, career counsellors “perform a range of duties, including the following:
- Administer personality and interest inventories
- Use achievement and aptitudes tests to help clients get a better idea of what they are good at
- Counsel clients who are considering a career change
- Evaluate clients educational and work backgrounds in order to help them determine what they need to do next to achieve their goals
- Advise students about what courses and educational programs they need for particular careers
- Help clients select the right schools or programs for their needs
- Help students locate sources of financial support to pay for school and other training programs
- Teach and practice jobs skills such as interviewing, resume writing, and networking
- Aid clients in the job search process by teaching them where to look for open positions and connecting them with job search resources.”
[Citation: Career Counselor by Kendra Cherry, psychology.about.com.]