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How to Determine Your Strengths & Use Them to Choose a College Major

How to Determine Your Strengths & Use Them to Choose a College Major
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  • 0:02 How to Determine Your…
  • 0:55 Aptitude Tests
  • 2:42 Research Your Choice
  • 4:24 Experience
  • 5:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Figuring out what you are really good at can sometimes be a difficult task. This lesson will give you tips for determining your strengths, so you can use that information when choosing a college major.

How to Determine Your Strengths

Hi. Have you met AJ? AJ is trying to decide what to do with his life after high school. He knows he really likes music and thinks that he definitely wants to do something involving music in his life, but he just doesn't know what that might be.

AJ doesn't have to pick his college major blindly and hope that everything works out. There are a few things that AJ can do to find out what his real strengths are and how he can use them to choose the right college major. The first thing AJ should do is take an aptitude test. Then he should do some research on the career or study choices that result from the test. Lastly, after narrowing things down to one chosen field, AJ might try to get some experience in that field to find out if he would really enjoy the work. Let's help AJ along this journey.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests are tests that allow a person to understand the areas in which they possess the ability to learn easily. AJ should really start his journey by taking an aptitude test to determine if his enjoyment of music really does match his abilities. Remember, just because you like something does not mean that you have a natural aptitude for that area. Finding your aptitude will help you ensure that you choose a major that suits your actual abilities.

Many students are familiar with achievement tests - the kind of tests that measure what you actually achieved in a given subject. AJ studied hard in high school to pass his many achievement tests. Thankfully, AJ won't have to study for the aptitude test at all. All he will have to do is answer the questions as honestly as he can so that he can get accurate results. That is because aptitude tests only test a person's ability to learn subject areas easily, not what a person already knows about the subjects.

So, AJ took a few aptitude tests and learned some interesting things about himself. He learned that he seems to have an aptitude for music, working with people, and, surprisingly, business management areas. But, what could AJ do for a career? How does this information help him choose a major?

This is where AJ must get creative and think of all the different careers that would match his aptitude. He could be a music teacher at a school, work for a touring band, or work in a music shop. He might even be happy as a private music teacher. This is a nice list of areas for him to pursue further.

Research Your Choice

AJ has decided to do some research on each career he identified based on his aptitude test results. This type of research would mean checking reference information to find out what employment rates are and estimated income might be and interviewing others currently in the field to learn more information about the reality of working in that field. Growing up, AJ always thought it would be great to be on tour with a band. Because this has always been his passion, his first step in researching his future was to talk to a touring rock band. What AJ found out really made him think.

The band told AJ that it was great being on the road all the time. They said they only had to go back to their homes about four months out of the year and they loved it. AJ realized he would not love being away from home that much. The idea of being a rock star was much better than the reality for him. At least that's one option he can cross off his list.

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