Today, while I was instructing a webinar for executive coaches on Career Coaching with CDR Assessments (for Vets Coaching Vets), I had an epiphany about college bound students. Over the nearly two decades of our business, from time to time, I have debriefed assessments for college-bound students as a favor to their parents who are either friends or clients.  The reason for these request-based sessions is to make sure that their son or daughter is heading on the right course as far as their college major selection and ultimately towards a best-fit career path.

In my epiphany moment, as I was talking to coaches during the webinar, I recalled (and realized) that all of the college bound students that I have coached in recent years WERE ON OR HEADING ON THE WRONG COURSE!  In other words, they were heading in directions for their “majors” counter to their inherent personality characteristics strengths and/or intrinsic motivators.  Due to the debriefing sessions and their new level of self-awareness, they were all able to change or adjust their majors.

In thinking about student loans, the cost of college, time, and huge investments by families and the student, this is a revelation that I wanted to share.

Often, students under appreciate or have difficulty honing in on their best strengths and gifts.   Believe it or not, parents, while their intentions are loving and positive, are often the ones who nudge their kids to go in the ill-fated direction of study.  Knowing that the universe of majors and career choices is so large, it can be nearly impossible to identify what a 17 or 18 year old student would be best at and what they would enjoy most.  (And, the Holland Model or RIASEC used by many colleges and high schools falls short!)

I encourage college bound students, or even those in college, to have an in-depth assessment and coaching debrief conducted (with a validated personality and motivational assessment for selection screening) to help them get on the right track from the start.  College costs far too much these days to squander.

Additionally, you never get those precious 4 or 5 years back to focus on your field of study – so it is important to make an accurate, wise decision.

My nugget of college and career advice is:

Find what you are really good at — know your strengths AND find what you love to do – and do that.  One without the other is not enough.