Choosing and Using Your Major

Choosing and Using Your Major

By Alex Venturini ’21 The process of choosing a major is fraught with difficult choices, all of which feel monumentally important: your major shapes not only the next two years of college life, but also, seemingly, your career prospects for the rest of your working life. Questions you may now be asking yourself include: Do I choose something practical, or something I love doing? Whose opinions should I take into consideration: my parents, my friends, my family, my dean, my professors..? Which department(s) do I prefer? What can I see myself doing in the future, and which major(s) will help me in doing that? As the April 19th deadline for declaring a major approaches, it is important to think seriously about this significant decision. Read on to dispel some myths surrounding undergraduate majors and to find valuable resources available to Haverford students.   What is the most practical major? In his New York Times article “Choosing a Practical Major”, Dean of Academic Affairs Phil Bean examines traditional advice to major in something ‘practical.’ He gives the following advice: Any definition of the practical that fails to take into account an individual’s interests, demonstrable aptitude, or current state of personal development will tend to undermine the ability to get the most out of college. Rather than choosing a major based on prestige or perceived financial pay-off, it is important to choose a major that aligns with your interests. Dean Bean highlights how doing well in your classes, which comes easier with interest, ultimately represents “the ability to identify, define, research and offer well-composed analyses for complex problems.” These are useful skills...
What is “Career Readiness” and Where Can I Get It?

What is “Career Readiness” and Where Can I Get It?

Photo Source: https://www.haverford.edu/home/2013-10-07-200739/then-now-commencement-now What is Career Readiness? The term “career readiness” is frequently thrown around in higher education settings. Whether it is promised to prospective students and parents at admissions info sessions, listed as a learning goal on course syllabi, or declared by students upon graduation, career readiness is on people’s minds at every stage in their education. For a concept so central in higher education, it may surprise you that there was not much consensus around its definition until just a few years ago. In 2014, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted extensive research among employers to finally define career readiness as “the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.” NACE identified eight key competencies, listed below, to help students, educators, and employers talk about career readiness with more precision and a common vocabulary.   NACE Career Competencies:  Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness. Oral/Written Communications: Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively. Teamwork/Collaboration: Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure and can negotiate and manage conflict....
Welcome Mike, our new Career Counselor!

Welcome Mike, our new Career Counselor!

Meet Mike Hertel: Our newest Career Counselor here at the CCPA! If you want to come in and talk to him, be sure to schedule an appointment at haverford.joinhandshake.com/ Education: My undergraduate degree is a BA in History and in Government from the University of Notre Dame, while my graduate degree is a Master in Education Counseling and Development from Montana State University-Northern. Favorite Books: Into the Wild, Call of the Wild, A Walk in the Woods, The Life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters Favorite TV Shows: M*A*S*H, Notre Dame Football, Philadelphia Flyers Hockey, and NHL Rival Night on NBC Favorite Movies: The Sure Thing, Rain Man, Goodwill Hunting, Apoll0 13, The Imitation Game, Wind River Fun Fact: All four members of my family (me, my wife, two daughters) were born in completely different locations, representing two countries and three US states. Role in CCPA: I provide career counseling/advising to current students and alumni. This means I help them answer the “What should I do with my life?” question, demystify the job search/grad school application process, help them identify and pursue opportunities relevant to their interests, skills, and values, etc. Ultimately, I help students effectively connect their education to their career of...
“Feeling Lost? The Best Careers Change and Evolve” by Melanie Buford

“Feeling Lost? The Best Careers Change and Evolve” by Melanie Buford

“Feeling Lost? The Best Careers Change and Evolve”  is written by Melanie Buford originally on the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  by Melanie Buford A senior psychology major came into my office the other day. She dropped her bag, plopped down into a chair, and said “I’m lost!” With relatively little prompting, the story came out. She already knew her long term goal: to be a child and family therapist. A faculty mentor had recommended a graduate program for her, and, doing very little of her own research, she applied to the program and turned her attention back to school. She was accepted, fortunately, but upon learning more about it, she realized that it was a business focused program, not a therapeutic one. “That’s disappointing,” I said, “But it sounds like you have a good sense of what you’d like to do in the short term—graduate school—and the long term—child and family therapy.” “No,” said the student, “you don’t understand. I’m lost. What will I do now? Program deadlines have passed. I can’t go to graduate school now. I have to wait a whole ‘nother year!” How often does “I’m lost” mean “things didn’t turn out as I expected?” Here’s the thing, and it’s something I tell students over and over in spite of the fact that it doesn’t reassure them at all: The best careers, just like the best lives, aren’t linear. So many people are paralyzed by the idea of choosing a career—at the age of 20—that they’ll have to spend the rest of their lives on. This is entirely reasonable. And yet, students seem equally...
Public Policy Forum this Weekend!

Public Policy Forum this Weekend!

Above: Here are just a few of our wonderful panelists, which include representatives from The White House, Puentes de Salud, U.S. Department of State, New York City Urban Fellows Program, and Philadelphia Public School Notebook!    The third annual Public Policy Forum is officially here! The event will be held from 9:00 am – 5:00 p.m. in the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center.This exciting annual event demonstrates how Haverford alumni have leveraged their educations in service of greater ethical purposes. It is an opportunity for students from across the Tri-College system to learn more about careers in public policy. Students also present their policy-related research, and have opportunities to dialogue with alumni about their questions and findings. The day includes alumni panel discussions on topics including education, foreign policy, policy in the developing world, health policy, and environmental policy. The Haverford College Lawyers Network will present a panel on Law and Local Government. A keynote discussion will be moderated by David Wessell ’75, Director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings Institution. Find more information here. #haverfordPPF   Check out what alum, Noah S. Leavitt ’91 wrote in the Huffington Post about the Public Policy Forum last year. His article, Liberal Arts, Public Policy and Public Service: A Perfect Combination, quoted Dean of the Center for Career and Professional Advising, Kelly Cleary, and her thoughts of last year’s event:  “Public policy leaders craft legislation serving the interests of a wide range of individuals and communities, in the short- and long-term. A liberal arts education provides students with the skills that public policy leaders need to develop and communicate their positions...