The CSUN Career Center launched a new program designed to provide students a virtual environment to envision their future.
As of last month, students of all majors and class standings have access to the Career and Academic Pathways website where they can manually browse through the tabs to help them understand their skills, interests and values. The site is meant to take those aspects to compare, contrast and parallel the majors and occupations relevant to an individual’s characteristics.
Emily Hagan, program coordinator at the Career Center, has been working with the development of Career and Academic Pathways for over a year and half. She says the website will be an initial step to a journey of self-discovery for students.
“We hope students will start to learn more about themselves,” she said.
About five years ago, Terry Piper, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dr. Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for academic affairs, conceived a website that would eventually become the hub of student services.
The website is based on Parson’s Trait and Factor Theory, which states that students will be more successful if they are conscious of their strengths, like knowing their skills and abilities, job factors and an understanding of how they relate.”
Bringing the website to fruition took a collaborative effort between the Career Center, the Mike Curb College of Art, Media and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs before the website launched mid-February.
At the initial homepage, a user is granted options to four links, titled Discover Yourself, Find Your Major, Explore Occupations and Make Campus Connections, which are the pillars of the website.
“We encourage (students) to learn more about the occupations from the links that are provided,” Hagan said.
One of the main components of the site is that it offers information about the majors offered on campus.With direct access to the appropriate college, it also connects to descriptions of over 200 occupations. Career and Academic Pathways is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
“Everything on the website is viewable and accommodates all students on campus,” Hagan said. “We wanted to be a one-stop shop for students, so students can find everything they need. If (a student) is undecided about their major, this is a great way to go and explore from there.”
Michael Hansen, 20, is a sophomore who has not declared a major. Although he is an active participant of on-campus organizations and a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, he is debating which major fits him best.
“The time to pick a major is dwindling down for me,” he said. “The thought of declaring a major is something I cannot even fathom.”
After browsing through the Career and Academic Pathways site, Hansen said it was easy-to-use and self-explanatory.
“The website offers such a vast range of majors and occupations with interactive games to choose from and to explore,” he said. “The website is so detailed, it will even show you what classes you need to be on the path to declaring a major.
Although Hansen thought the site was helpful and is leaning toward an interest in business, he said he will make use of the time he has left before having to declare a major so he can make the right choice.
While Career and Academic Pathways offers detailed information and contains a database with job descriptions, majors and guidance, Hagan says there is no replacing personal communication with on-campus resources.
“Schedule an appointment with a career counselor and speak with an academic advisor,” she said.
The website is still in its initial phase. It will incorporate more features as its use grows. The site can be expected to increase the interactivity, present information using multimedia forms, add a section for a cyber-portfolio and expand the major and occupation databases.
“I have so many big plans for this. This is just the very beginning stages,” Hagan said.