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Assessing your Academic and Career knowledge can help you in making yoUr Major Decisions

Self- assessment tools may vary, but the important thing is to assess you. Self-assessment means learning about yourself –- what you like, what you’re good at and what matters to you. It requires time, energy and sometimes money and the assistance of a skilled career counselor. You may be tempted to avoid all this, but the information self-assessment provides is an essential part of your career-development process. Listed below are four key self-assessment areas to consider.

Identify Your Interests and Personality Preferences
You want to find a career you enjoy, right? Then it’s essential to understand what you like and dislike. Assessments like the Strong Interest Inventory and the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey can help you figure it out.  You can take these through UMD Career Services. You can also try many of the free online assessments available within this site, found in the “getting to know you…. your road trip”.
Keep in mind, any test you take will only give you ideas about careers you might enjoy or paths you may want to explore. No test can definitively tell you which career you should pursue. Interest tests measure your current likes and dislikes. They can’t measure things you don’t know about or might enjoy if you tried them.
Identify Your Abilities
We’re all born with natural talents, or things we do well without much training or guidance. These are abilities. While you might have a sense of what you’re good at already, abilities tests like “Strength Quest” given at UMD Career Services can help confirm which abilities you possess and perhaps uncover abilities you didn’t know you had. But remember: Being good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy doing it.

Identify Your Skills
Unlike abilities, which we’re born with, skills are things we’ve learned to do well over time, such as writing essays or creating PowerPoint presentations. When researching careers within sites such as http://mncis.intocareers.org/ or http://www.bls.gov/oco, you will often find a list of skills needed for a particular career or job.
Once again, keep in mind that what you’re good at and what you like isn’t always the same thing.

Identify Your Work-Related Values
What matters to you in your work? What you do, where you do it, how you do it and why, and who you do it with are all work-related values. Values such as “I want to make a difference in the world”, I prefer not to work on the weekend, I would rather work outside than in an office, or “It’s important for me to earn at least $75,000 a year” may be deciding factors for you as you choose a major or career.

MyPlan, offers a great (and free,) values assessment that links to over 748 careers. Sort your personal values related to careers. This can be challenging because we all want all of our values met. Reflect on your top values, select the education level you plan on obtaining and review the careers that coincide with your values and educational goals.

Bringing it all together by exploring and finding the answers to your questions:

Resources for major, career and educational knowledge

Enter the links below to research information about majors and minors you are interested in.
http://www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/current/ UMD major and minors listed per college including information about each major, minor, free standing minors, credit and course requirements, and sample four-year plans.
http://www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/Majors/index.htm What can you do with a major in.......This site holds very comprehensive information about majors, associated career titles, areas of employability, internship links, and professional links. While the site stems from the University of North Carolina Wiliminton, the career title information found within each major remains relevant no matter the college your are attending. Students should also GOOGLE: “What can you do with a major in…. (insert a major here). Just by googling, student will gain more information about the overall scope of any major.

http://www.bls.gov/oco - United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook provides current and accurate data on projected career outlook to 2016, education required, nature of the work, related career titles, earnings and more. 
http://www.worldwidelearn.com/online-education-guide/index.html World Wide Learn: view college majors, job trends, assess your skills and learn more about your goals.

http://mncis.intocareers.org/  MCIS, MN Careers is a comprehensive career and educational planning guide to help Minnesotans of all ages explore their options. It includes an interest assessment worksheet and occupational details
http://www.iseek.org ISEEK, Minnesota’s gateway to career, education, employment and business information. Research over 500 careers and Minnesota’s growing careers and explore nontraditional careers.
http://careers.d.umn.edu Find major and career exploration resources on the UMD Campus  (skills and personal style inventory along with other self-assessment tools such as Strength Quest, Myers Briggs, Holland Code & more