Choosing an Academic Program That Fits My Career Aspirations, Innate Cognitive Abilities, and Emotional Profile

Envisioning a system that correlates occupation skill/knowledge requirements by industry segment with academic program/course content.

Photo of Keith Waters
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I have been exploring the idea of tightly coupling several collections of data needed to help guide students as they select a career path in conjunction with each Academic Program/Degree offered by a Higher Ed institution. A variety of interested parties (Academic Advisors, Recruiters, Students, Parents, University Faculty/Staff) could interact with these data groups to collaboratively design a Student's Academic Roadmap.

1) Initial exploration of a one or more career path occupations that match a Student’s stated interests. 

2) Subsequently helping a Student select his/her “Top Three” Career Paths.

3) Automatically generating Program/Degree Pairings that match up with the selected “Top Three” Career Paths from step 2. Allowing the Student to select up to two of these P/D Pairings with one designated as “Primary”.

4) Automatically generating a list of available course offerings relative to the P/D Pairings selected in step 3. Helps avoid taking courses that don't fit selected paths.

5) Automatically analyzing any overlap of course offerings across the Student’s established Roadmap direction (Top Three Paths, Top Two P/D Pairings). These overlapping course offerings can be completed by a Student without committing to any specific path or pairing. However, after the Freshman year, there may still be some overlap choices that do not force a “commit”.

6) Automatically generating a list of available classes (i.e. a scheduled time/location for a course offering) for the next Semester that is based on the overlap courses not yet taken.

7) Establishing a comprehensive description of job activities (by industry) and the associate knowledge/skill requirements.  Presents a detailed picture of what a particular career path entails.

8) Cataloging the knowledge/skills to be accrued from participating in each academic course offered by an institution.  Forces a specification of K/S gained from class participation with associated correlation to one or more occupations.

9) Automatically generating insights into current Academic Programs from the standpoint of:

a) Percent of match of a student’s cognitive capabilities, personality traits, and technical skills (existing and to be developed) relative to selected Academic Program/Degree and post-Academic occupation options.

b) How well Academic Programs prepare students for specific occupations in terms of helping students develop requisite skills/knowledge.

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Students in Higher Ed institutions cannot effectively navigate Academic Program choices in a way that leads them toward specific career options, nor do they fully understand the world of business..

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Photo of Michael Schurr

Hi Keith! Thank you for your thoughtful post. I really like your idea as I myself struggled to understand the true scope of the program I selected when I entered undergrad studies. I ended up going undeclared at the end of my freshman year as the major I thought I wanted did not align with my interests and skill set. 

As we are about to move into the ideate phase, we would love to see you repost this idea there.  That way we can build the idea out together with a team of educators. Awesome post which deserves to fully fleshed out!