College Admissions Guidance

Blog posts about college admissions topics such as essays, extracurriculars,  planning, mental health, etc.

Career options outside of CS and pre-med :-)

career options extracurricular activities future planning Apr 21, 2021
Often people graduate from college and realize that their major is not something they want to pursue in the form of a career.
There is something to be said for choosing a career that will provide a comfortable income and an opportunity to save aggressively for the expenses you’ll have as you get older, especially after you have retired from your career. There are quite a few careers that are lucrative, so limiting yourself to medicine or computer science— especially at the age of 15— is ill-advised
Between now and high school graduation, explore extra-curricular activities that are in diverse disciplines. Maybe you’ll like debate. That doesn’t mean you need to become a politician or a lawyer. There are many careers in which being logical, being able to research facts, and being able to persuade are important. In some types of businesses, those skills are very important for marketing personnel. Marketing is a field that has a lot of monetary growth potential, if you eventually want to be in management.
You might discover, around the age of 21–25, what personality characteristics you have that would be strengths in particular careers and what characteristics you have that suggest you should avoid certain careers. If you’re a bit introverted, you would not want to become a wedding planner. If you are compassionate, you might find any of the helping careers (social worker, therapist, medical professional, etc.) a good match. People’s personalities evolve between your age and their mid-20s. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself with someone else’s or your assumptions about your personality as it seems to be today.
The best thing you can do for yourself for the next 4 years or so is to educate yourself broadly. Take advantage of elective courses. Be sure you take a course in civics. If you can, take one in psychology and/or philosophy. Do whatever you can to improve your vocabulary and ability to articulate your thoughts. Do something that involves team coordination and something else where you’re 100% responsible for a substantial project— even if it’s a project that you do at home.
If you’ve explored various disciplines or have practical experience in more than one type of field (e.g., a summer spent as a library volunteer, another summer spent working in a physical fitness center, an internship with a startup that is not in high-tech), you are going to be much more valuable to an employer. Those experiences also clarify your thinking… about a lot of things beyond career choices.
Good luck. I hope you’ll think of your current exploration of careers as a buffet table of all kinds of foods. Some you know you’ll like, some you’ll know just by looking at them that you do not even want that food on your plate. And then there are those that you will taste and think about whether they’re to your liking or not.