It is not always easy to discover what career path is best to follow for each individual, especially for college-age students. The newly created Pathways Center at Waynesburg University, however, recently started utilizing a program to assist students in finding their vocation.
Focus 2 Career is a program consisting of several assessments and tools students can use to help determine what may be a good career or vocational fit for them. Any university student or alumnus can create an account on the program and take the assessments through Waynesburg University.
Sarah Bell, career development specialist, said students can choose to take a number of assessments through the program, depending on what they are hoping to learn about themselves.
“One of the primary features of Focus 2 Career is that it assesses career and vocation and where students could go with their career path,” Bell said. “I see this as something that’s particularly useful for students who are exploring or undecided or who are up in the air or considering changing their major, because the different assessments look at different things.”
Students have the option to combine the assessments they take to see potential career options that may be in tune with the student’s skills, values and interests, according to the assessments. Bell stressed that these suggestions should not be considered the only choices, but are simply helpful guides for students exploring different options.
“It’s not meant to be a test that determines what you should do for the rest of your life,” Bell said. “It’s just to give you suggestions and point you in a direction.”
Focus 2 Career has already been utilized by some students on campus and a few faculty members are even assigning the assessments in their classes.
In addition to utilizing the assessments for students who request career counseling, Chaley Knight, Waynesburg University counselor, also uses it in the career and life planning course she teaches.
“Students have been able to identify how specific skills they have can show up in a variety of different majors,” Knight said. “Students have gained clarity and direction through the use of this program, but more importantly I believe they have been given confirmation that their gifts and abilities matter.”
Knight said that, although the assessments can give great insight into possible vocation and career options, students should go over the results of the assessments with a counselor to get the most from the program.
“This program is a ‘tool.’ It can help students access their innate gifts, abilities, and values, but the program alone will only help a student so much,” Knight said.
Bell said faculty advisors can greatly benefit their students through the program, especially if a student is feeling out of place in the major they chose. Through the assessments, they can continue to search for their vocation, which should be something they enjoy.
“A vocation is not just a career, it’s something that you’re passionate about, that you are willing to live out each day,” Bell said. “Something that you really want to do, not just something that you’re good at.”
Students were sent the access code for the university network on the program to their school emails in November.
Bell hopes the number of students on campus who use the program will continue to increase. Eventually, she said, the university may extend the assessments to community members, such as high school students. For now, though, they are focussed on providing the service to students and alumni.