Topic: Explore your major and career path
Many first-year students have declared a major by the time they begin their university studies, whereas others require more time to better understand their personal
tastes. However, all students who eventually earn a BA or BS from a four-year university graduate in a specific field or major area of study
. During those
undergraduate years of study, students should learn about their majors, why they have chosen them, and what careers are open to them.
The purpose of this essay is to allow students to learn more about their majors and also about possible career paths in that major.
The goals of this essay are:
To allow students to become acquainted with professors in their specific major at this university
To enable students to understand the intricacies of their specific major
To show students how their majors fit in the overall structure of the university and higher education
To present students with real career options post-graduation
To introduce students to three types of research: online research, observation, and interview
During the research and writing stages of this essay, students will:
Learn how to write a professional e-mail
Contact a minimum of two different tenured or tenure-track professors in their major at this university and conduct semi-structured interviews with them
Read a minimum of two credible articles pertaining to their major or employment options for their major
Learn how to properly cite sources, including interviews
Contact at least one person doing the job they would like to do in the future and conduct a semi-structured interview with that person (if possible)
If possible, job-shadow one person working in the field
Therefore, this essay with cover two main areas. You must conduct research on both areas in order to receive full credit for this assignment.
Your specific major at Shawnee or the major you think you might pursue
Realistic career paths for your specific major
In order to better understand your major, you should:
Read scholarly articles pertaining to your field of study
Read non-scholarly articles pertaining to your field of study
Read websites, including the Shawnee State web pages concerning your discipline
Interview two tenured or tenure-track professors in your major, including your academic advisor
In order to better understand possible career paths you could pursue, you should:
Read scholarly articles pertaining to job placement or career options for students in your field
Read non-scholarly articles pertaining to job placement or career options for students in your field
Read websites pertaining to job placement or career options for students in your field
Interview one person doing the job you would like to do
If possible, job shadow someone doing the type of job you would like to do
Keep in mind that interviews can be:
On the phone
Regardless of the format you use for the interviews, please note that no one is obligated to speak with you and that each potential interviewee has the right to
refuse. Please remember netiquette and be respectful of each person’s time.
Questions to ask yourself as you are writing and conducting research:
What information would I have liked to know one year ago?
What information would someone like me want to know?
What information should incoming students know before they begin college?
What does having a major in _____ look like?
What information, knowledge, or skills should I know when I graduate from Shawnee?
How well does this program prepare its students for the workforce?
What do I want to do after I finish school?
Can I actually make a living doing what I want to do?
How much education or training is needed to do what I want to do?
Are people in my field working or are they unemployed?
How likely is it that I will find a job in my field?
Your research (online, observation, and interview) should help you address these questions. Once you have gathered the information, you must then compile it so that it
fits well into an essay. Remember: an essay is not a transcript of a conversation, nor is it a report. Use the data you have gathered to form a coherent narrative with
a thesis statement and supportive evidence.
What are the three main steps?
Step 1: Online research
This step involves finding and reading credible (preferably scholarly) sources pertaining to employment in your major. This step should be done first chronologically.
Step 2: Observation (if possible) or field research
This step involves observing the environment where you wish to work eventually or job shadowing a person doing the job you wish to do in the future. This may not be
possible, depending on your career goals and time. However, don’t confuse difficult with impossible; if it is at all possible to job shadow or observe, you should.
Find places where you wish to work in the future and ask if you can observe. Contact professionals working in that area and ask if you can shadow them.
Step 3: Interview
There are three types of interviews: structured, semi-structured, and open. You should conduct semi-structured interviews (see the handout on interviews for more
information). However, these interviews can be in-person (best), over the phone, or via e-mail.
Essay 3 format:
1000 words minimum (notice!)
Typed on a computer
Correct MLA format (follow the model in The Little Shawnee Handbook pages 226-233), including header, page number, one-inch margins, etc. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Word count indicated at the bottom of the document (word count only includes the main text, not the title and not the header)
Standard font (Times New Roman, Arial, Book Antigua, etc)
Ten-, eleven- or twelve-point font
Zero point spacing before and after (ask your instructor how to format the essay if you have questions)
Make sure your fonts match for both the header and the body of the text (ensure that the essay looks clean on paper)
Complete works cited page
Correct citation protocol (see Little Shawnee Handbook chapter on MLA conventions)
A minimum of one interview
A minimum of one written source (scholarly article or internet article)
How will you be graded?
According to The Little Shawnee Handbook’s grading standards. This essay will be worth 10% of the total class grade.
Most heavily weighted aspect: Content and development
Next most heavily weighted aspect: Research and documentation
Least heavily weighted aspect: Mechanics