Real world advising: translating college courses to experience

To empower students to drive their studies, they must see and experience how their discipline translates to opportunities

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Grade level: Postsecondary 

Content Area: All disciplines


Overview: As a postsecondary counselor for first-generation college students, I constantly observe frustration when students struggle to pick a major and potential career path. What if there was a tool that uses their courses to find real-world opportunities of what they are learning in their classes.

Potential for Impact: Students constantly question if their courses will actually help them in the real world. At times, they avoid taking classes that attract their curiosities because they don’t know how a course translates in the real world or job market. To empower students to drive their studies, they must see and experience how their discipline translates to opportunities. Students may find their niches earlier and authentically explore opportunities in their interested field. 

Here’s how to set it up: 

  1. Students enter their schedule with the course descriptions from their respective syllabi into a tool/app. The tool will create academic tags based on the descriptions. 
  2. The academic tags will link up with career tags from popular job, internship, and volunteer search engines. 
  3. Students navigate opportunities that directly link their courses with real-world applications of their interested disciplines. 
    1. For instance, an Intro to Criminal Justice course that focuses on recidivism initiatives will show opportunities for students to volunteer, intern, or potentially work in an initiative that is near their community. 
  4. Throughout their academic careers, students can use the tool to eliminate disciplines that they are no longer interested in and zoom in on opportunities that they are discovering in class. 

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