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January 28, 2013

Harrison College: Career assessments can make useful tools

ANDERSON, Ind. — When it comes to the future, it can be difficult for potential college students to decide what career they want to have for the rest of their lives. For those who aren’t sure and need help deciding, career assessments can be useful tools, school officials say.

At Harrison College, a new career assessment tool is being offered not only to students, but to anyone who’s thinking about college.

“It’s really designed to help if you’re an adult looking to choose a career or a high school student saying ‘I don’t know what I want to do,’” Anderson Campus President Charlene Stacy said. “The whole world is open to you.”

The online tool is free, takes about 15 minutes to fill out and assesses work skills and personality traits to identify compatible careers.

“It’s a best-fit scenario,” Stacy said.

Rodneshia Burt, 24, is already pursuing a degree in health sciences, but saw jobs she could branch into that she’d never thought of before.

“It read me pretty well,” she said. “I’ve forwarded the link to friends figuring out what they want to go back to school for.”

She said it’s very easy to navigate and a great starter for someone unsure of the path to take.

“It’ll give them a wider range to brainstorm,” she said.

Stacy said many students also change their majors -- about 60 percent of them. A career assessment tool may help them make more solid choices as they “identify early on” what could be a good fit, she said, adding some make decisions based on what friends are doing or what seems neat on TV.

Miles Parker, 20, of Anderson, graduated high school a couple of years ago and said he’d like to go to college in the next year.

“I put off school because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” he said. “I kept bouncing from one idea to another.”

He did fill out Harrison’s career assessment after a friend suggested it, though, and saw some areas he’d never thought of.

The tool offers information on jobs and average salaries, and Parker said it gave him a bit more to research along with showing a couple of the careers he was interested in as compatible options.

“I don’t want to waste time or money, but I’m really starting to narrow it down,” he said.

While Harrison is offering its career assessment tool to the public, many schools do already offer some sort of assessment to their students.

Anderson’s Excel Center Director Joe White said they use Indiana Career Explorer to see what interests their students.

The charter school targets those who have dropped out of high school and would like to receive their diplomas, and also helps them transition into a career or college.

“We tailor the program to them,” he said, adding the assessment helps set a path.

Harrison’s online assessment can be found at www.harrison.edu/careerfocused.

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.

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