CPC Cypress Newsletter


Career Planning and Development Knowledge Center – Spring 2014
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Decided  or Undecided Major?

 I know my College Major.
If you have clearly identified your college major, then make an appointment with your Academic Counselor each semester while at Cypress College.  Contact the Counseling Center at (714) 484-7015.
 I am unsure of my College Major.
If you are unsure, still deciding or researching various college majors, consider the following:
  • Work individually with a career counselor.  Make a Career Counselor appointment by contacting the Career Planning Center at (714) 484-7120.
  • Enroll in a Career Class (COUN 141C Career Exploration or COUN 151C Career and Life Planning). 
  • Take career assessments to help you identify your interests, values, skills, personality, and work-style preferences.  
  • Visit the Career Planning Center’s Resource Library to explore your options.
  • Use the site-licensed career applications for occupational research and information.  
  • Visit the Career Planning Center's Resources & Links for a wealth of valuable information.
  • Take a variety of courses in different subject areas.   If you are working towards a degree, you are required to take general education and elective units. Use these courses as an opportunity to explore new areas.

What Do I Want to Be?  

Have you known from second grade you wanted to be a carpenter? Or are you panicking because you don’t know what you want to do after high school? Some students know early in their childhood what career path they’ll follow. For others, the discovery process takes longer.

No matter which category you fit into, the Cypress College Career Planning Center  will help you explore your interests, skills and strengths so you can decide what options fit you best.

Career vs. Job

What’s the difference between a career and a job, you ask?
Basically, a job is a short-term, paid position. A career is a long-term profession that typically requires educational training. You may currently have a job, something that helps you and your family pay for school clothes or your cellphone, but once you graduate you’ll want to decide on a career, an occupation that allows you to use your unique skills and strengths.
  • With many career possibilities, how do you make a decision?
  • What career path do you follow?
  • How do you get there from here?
The Career Planning Center is HERE for YOU!

Career Planning Checklist: High School

Use this time wisely to explore career opportunities and narrow down your choices.
 Keep up on your school assignments.
Now is not the time to let your schoolwork get away from you. Stay on track with schoolwork and plan ahead for deadlines. Spend more time studying the subjects that are the hardest for you.
How you perform in high school lets colleges gauge what type of student you are and lets employers assess what type of employee you'll make. Plus, you will learn skills in school that will last you a lifetime.
A good work ethic in school represents a good work ethic in life.
Explore some of the more interesting courses that your high school offers.
Once you identify some career areas that interest you, take a look at your high school curriculum to see what classes may help in your career decision-making. Interested in journalism? Try a writing class. Interested in medicine? Sign up for an anatomy or biology class.
Taking a class can re-affirm your interest in the field and build on your skills. If you find that the class is not for you, you still have time to change course and explore different career paths. High school provides the perfect time to "sample" what's out there before you need to make a commitment.
Take classes now to help establish a direction for the future.
Think about what kind of job you would like to have some day.
Think about what you would like to do with your life after high school. Would you like to work in a busy office, or do you prefer the outdoors? Do you like being around lots of people, or are you more of a loner?
Complete career assessments with the Cypress College Career Counselor to see what careers may best fit your personality and interests. Choosing a career that you like and you are good at will be a big part of your future happiness.
A good career choice "fits" your personality and interests.
Get experience.
Get an early start on career exploration by trying out an internship or job shadowing opportunity. Internships and job shadowing are great ways to get some "real world" experience in a field that interests you. These types of on-the-job training give you a small taste of what you may face day-to-day should you pursue full-time work in that field.
Plus, you'll have the opportunity to meet professionals who do what you hope to. Ask questions, find out the challenges they face, and learn from their experience.
Internships and job shadowing look terrific on a college or employment application.
Ask the employed adults you know what they like and dislike about their job.
Talk to some adults you know to find out if they are satisfied with their job.
Many factors go into job satisfaction—job location, daily stresses, colleagues. Prioritize the top five or 10 things you want from your professional life and choose a career that you genuinely like to do, not just something that will make you a lot of money.
The more informed you are, the more prepared you'll be when you start your career.
Talk to your parents about school and your future plans.
According to a recent study by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), less than 20% of students talk to their parents about their school day. After spending all day in the classroom, you may just be too tired to rehash it all again at home.
But parents have experience that you don't. They can help you look at a situation more clearly and provide support as you problem solve. And if your parents will play a role in your college choice or contribute money toward your education, keeping them involved in your thought process will allow them to prepare emotionally and economically.
Parents are a great sounding board for important decisions.
SOURCE:  EducationPlanner.org  

WYM?  "What's Your Major?"

This is one of the most commonly asked questions of college students today.  
What's your major? 
When asked this question, do you feel . . .
  • uncomfortable saying you're undeclared or undecided
  • most of your peers already know what they want to do
  • something is "wrong" with you if you have not yet decided on a major
  • stopped in your tracks . . . not wanting to make the wrong decision
  • as though you're not adequately informed or prepared to declare a major
Choosing a major is and important decision for a student and our Career Planning Center resources will help you answer this question as you learn about:
  • College Majors
  • Programs of Study 
  • Careers 
  • Yourself       
What's the purpose of choosing a major?
  • Do you want your major to prepare you for a specific career field?
  • Do you want your major to help you develop a depth of knowledge? 
  • Do you want to learn skills that you can apply in many different fields of work?
  • Will your major simply be a subject that you enjoy studying?  
Not everyone has the same purpose in choosing a major, so it is important to think about what YOU want and what YOUR goals are.  
Does my academic major have to relate to a career choice?        
Many believe that major and career choice are the same thing.
It is true that certain fields do require specific degrees or substantial course work in order to qualify for certification or licensing    such as Accounting, Education, Social Work, and Nursing.
However, there are numerous careers that may require a degree or certificate for entry into the field, but not a specific major.
Most employers are concerned with the solid skill base that is gained through a college education.  
These transferable skills include:
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Critical thinking abilities
  • Organizational skills
  • Research and analytical skills.  
The ability to be trained and the ability to adapt to new environments are necessary skills to have for the work force of today and the future.  Your college courses and academic experiences enable you to develop and enhance these skill areas regardless of your declared major.
What should I consider when selecting a major?
Students get overly concerned about selecting the "right" major.  The choice of an academic major is an individual and personal choice.  As the person declaring the major, you will be accountable for:
  • attending the classes
  • learning the material
  • completing the coursework
  • conducting the research
  • taking the exams
Therefore YOU and you alone, should decide what you will major in while attending Cypress College.  
How do I begin the process of choosing a major?        
The best place to begin with your choice of major is to think about your:
  • Interests
  • Values
  • Skills
  • Personality
  • Workplace preferences
Can you imagine dreading the thought of going to class each semester because you are bored by the material or you have no real interest in the field?  
When you consider the amount of time you spend studying in courses related to your major    your interests and a desire to learn the material becomes critically important.  
The Career Planning Center utilizes several different assessments in combination with career counseling and/or career classes which can help you learn more about yourself and your options.
No “test” or inventory can tell you what you should do, but these tools can be a good place to start for those who are undecided.  
The counseling and class sessions will help you:
  • assess yourself
  • learn major career development theories
  • explore career and major options
  • gather information about the world of work
  • establish short term and long term goals for career and life planning.
What if I don't think I'm ready to declare my major?
The choice of an academic major is not an easy choice and many students believe that once they choose a major they are "locked" into that course of study.  This is not true.  
You may change your major as many times as you would like.  Declaring a major is never a final choice. There are, however, a few precautions to consider about changing a major too frequently or declaring late in your college career.
Some departments may restrict enrollment in courses to majors only.  Other courses may have prerequisites that must be taken before enrollment is possible.  There could be a limited number of courses open to you outside of the courses required in the general education program.  If you declare or change your major late in your college career, your date of graduation may also change in order for you to complete the necessary graduation requirements for your new academic program.
Don't rush the decision and choose your major out of thin air . . .   But don't delay learning about yourself to help in the decision making process.  
You may find it easier to procrastinate because you are focused on completing general education requirements, but you need to realize that choosing a major is a decision you will need to make – and no one else can make it for you.
Are there benefits to declaring my major if I'm hesitant?
There are benefits to declaring a major. 
  • When you declare a major, you are assigned to a major specific counselor.  This gives you an opportunity to get to know which courses to take, and receive assistance and advice from a counselor familiar with the department and the curriculum.  
  • You will learn about the recommended sequences in which to take courses, and how frequently they are offered.
  • You will be better able to network with faculty and others in your major and have access to student organizations, scholarships and departmental activities.  
  • Saves time and money by enrolling in courses in which you are truly interested.
SOURCE:  What’s Your Major? Workshop by Sharon Easton, Career Counselor, 2010
Five Signs You Should Change Your Major
In a recent survey, almost 1300 college students were asked about the factors that influenced their choosing a college major. Here are some of the survey results:
  • 66% of college students said they chose a major based on their career interests
  • 12% of college students said they just sort of drifted into their major
  • 9% of college students cited other reasons, including inspiration from their teachers
  • 7% of college students chose their major based on its perceived earning potential
  • 6% of college students picked their major following the advice of friends and family
Regardless of the reason a college student chooses a college major, it is quite commonplace for them to contemplate changing their college major. In fact many college students change majors several times during the college experience.
How do you know when to go ahead and actually change your major?
For college students going back to school this fall and pondering a change in college major, these are 5 signs to consider.
  1. Are you are struggling in your current major core courses? If a college student's major GPA is lower than their overall GPA, employers will assume that they do not understand the core material needed to succeed on the job.
  2. Do you find your core courses boring and uninteresting? Loving a career or job requires that the material your will learn for your profession excites you. If you find you have no interest keeping up with trends in your major, maybe you should be looking at an alternative.
  3. Did you choose your major for the wrong reason? (e.g., because your girlfriend or boyfriend had chosen that college major?) This is often times at the core of the college students' disinterest in their college major. They may have selected the college major for all the wrong, short term reasons.
  4. Do you want to explore other classes? Exploring other courses is a good thing. In today's world of work, there are many ways to complement a college major and still specialize. However, if there is no connection between the classes you want to explore and the career you want to pursue, you might consider changing your major.
  5. Does your chosen major present employment challenges? College students in finance, accounting or other majors who were planning careers in the financial services sector, may want to think again about options. It might be time to pick up a minor in a complimentary area, without discarding the original major.
Before you make the decision to change your college major, connect with your college career center. There are many resources, such as career assessments, available on college campuses to help college students explore alternatives, discuss education plan and overall help students manage the paperwork required to make the transition. Many times there are academic ramifications, including delay in graduation date, additional costs, transferable credits, that students don't know about.
SOURCE:  Yahoo! Voices

Five Ways Education Pays


For most students who go to college, the increase in their lifetime earnings far outweighs the costs of their education. That’s a powerful argument for college. But more income is by no means the only positive outcome you can expect. The knowledge, fulfillment, self-awareness, and broadening of horizons that come from a college experience can transform your life — and the lives of those around you — in other equally valuable ways. More security, better health, closer family and stronger community, in addition to greater wealth, are the real value of a college education.

Greater wealth means more choices. Whatever your dreams — owning a home, traveling the world — college is the way to support a richer life. The way to find a career that delivers greater wealth. Individuals with a 4-year college degree earn an average of $22,000 more per year than those with only a high school diploma.
Better health makes everything else possible. It gives you the strength to take on life’s challenges. To enjoy the opportunities that come your way. College is where you can build the knowledge and skills to maintain better health.  Young adults with a 4-year college degree are much less likely to be obese than those with only a high school diploma.  
More security means less worry. Less worry that you won’t be able to support yourself or the people you love. Less stress that you’ll have to rely on others to get by. College is a way to achieve independence and achieve more security. Individuals with a 4-year college degree are about half as likely to be unemployed as those with only a high school diploma.
Stronger community means more cooperation, more collaboration — and more progress in understanding and solving the issues we face as a society. College is where you can shape your views on those issues. Find your voice. And build a stronger community. Individuals aged 18 to 24 with a 4-year college degree were much more likely to vote in elections than those with only a high school diploma.
Closer family comes from sharing life experiences, from passing on knowledge, from inspiring the next generation to achieve even more than the last. College is an opportunity for you to broaden your world, to create the foundation for a closer family. Children of parents with a 4-year college degree are much more likely to be read to every day than children of parents with only a high school diploma.
SOURCE:  College Board Advocasy & Policy Center

More Education Pays Off in Higher Earnings

A survey from 2012 shows that average earnings grow from $471 to $652 per week just by earning a high school diploma. Getting a bachelor's degree increases average earnings to $1,066 per week.
Education Pays
Level of education
Median weekly earnings in 2012
Unemployment rate in 2012
Some high school, no diploma
High school graduate
Some college, no degree
Associate degree
Bachelor's degree
Master's degree
Doctoral degree
Professional degree

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Myths and Facts about Major and Career Choice

As you decide on a major and career, don't fall prey to these common myths:
MYTH:  "Something is wrong with me if I don't know what I want to do."
FACT:  Most college students don't have a clear idea of what they want to major in or do for a career. This is normal. With research and support, you can make decisions that are right for you.
MYTH: "There is only ONE career for me."
FACT: The combination of elements that determine career satisfaction are found in many different careers.  For example, if you like helping people in an artistic way, you may be happy as a dance therapist or a high school art teacher.
MYTH:  "If I choose a major or a career , I'll be stuck with it forever."
FACT: Most majors prepare you for a variety of careers.  When you combine the skills you'll learn in your major with others you'll gain from full-time work, internships, and other activities, you'll have the ability to move in a variety of directions. Most people have multiple careers and jobs during their work lives.
MYTH: "I've failed if I make the wrong choice."
FACT: You only fail when you do not adapt. If you learn a major or career choice is not right for you, change it.
MYTH:  "Happiness is impossible without the perfect career."
FACT: Career can be a major source of satisfaction in life, but it is not everything. Sometimes a job simply earns money so that other time can be spent on the things that really make you happy.
MYTH: "There is a test or an expert that can tell me what to do with the rest of my life."
FACT: Only you know what's best for yourself. There are people and resources you can use for support, but in the end you make your own decisions.  Counselors and the Career Center can help you clarify information about your interests, skills, personality, or decision-making patterns. Based on your individual situation, counselors may suggest an assessment to help with this. Remember, no test or expert knows you better than you do.
MYTH: "I won't be qualified to do anything with a liberal arts degree."
FACT: You will be more qualified than most: the skill s you develop in a liberal arts curriculum— communication, human interaction, analysis, and flexibility—are those most desired by employers.
MYTH: "I just need a little more information before I can make a decision."
FACT: Although it's important to make a well-informed decision, sometimes people are paralyzed because they think that no matter how much information they have gathered, it's not enough. They indefinitely put off making a decision. Don't let this happen to you. Collect enough information about your major or career choice. But realize that even after you make a decision, you will still be able to collect more information and evaluate whether it was the right one.
MYTH: “You need an exact match between your course of study/major and a future career.”
FACT: Though there are some careers that require specific training, such as nursing, engineering, accounting, etc., there are more careers that do not follow from a specific course of study/major. In fact, a recent study by the College Placement Council indicated that the majority of college graduates are successfully in fields not directly related to their academic majors!
MYTH: “Once you have a course of study/major, you must stick withit your entire college career.”
FACT: More than 70% of college students change their course of study/major at some point during college.
MYTH: “Job market demand should be the primary determinant of an academic choice.”
FACT: Selecting a course of study/major because it is currently "hot" on the market can be dangerous. Though it is important to look at the potential for employment, the job market is difficult to predict. What is in demand when you are a freshman may not be in demand by the time you graduate. You are on much firmer ground when you select a course of study/major that truly interests you, and find a way to apply it to a career.
MYTH: “You must pursue a certain specific course of study/major in order to prepare adequately for professional schools such as dentistry, law, business, medicine, etc.”
FACT: Most professional schools do not require a specific course of study/major, as long as you meet certain academic courses. For example, in recent years, liberal arts majors have had a greater success with acceptance to medical schools than biology majors.
MYTH: “Your academic course of study/major is the primary determinant of your future career success.”
FACT: A college major alone is not enough to help you prepare adequately for a career. Internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work all contribute to your growth as a well- rounded person, and in developing your skills and abilities. In fact, employers place a very high value on these types of " extra " activities when looking for employees.
MYTH: “Your career path will remain fairly stable throughout your adult life.”
FACT: Nearly half of all graduates change their career plans after they finish college, and the average person changes careers nearly 8 times in his/her lifetime. Your college course of study/major does not train you for a single, specific job. Instead, it seeks to develop your aptitude and abilities so that you can use them in the broadest variety of careers. That is why it is important to choose a course of study/major that allows your individual talents to flourish. Find a course of study/major that fits YOU, rather than trying to fit yourself into a course of study/major. Undergraduate education is not so much a determinant of what you want to BE, as much as what you are prepared to BECOME.
SOURCES: College is Only the Beginning, edited by John N. Gardner and A Jerome Jewler; What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Bolles; What Can I Do With a Major In...? by Lawrence R Malnig; Indiana University Bloomington

Referral Sheet –  Career Planning Center

•    Career Counseling
•    Adult Re-entry Counseling
•    Refer to Academic Counseling    
Career Assessments
•    Make an appointment with a career counselor
•    Enroll in COUN 141C or COUN 151C    
Career Classes
•    COUN 141 C Career Exploration
•    COUN 144 C Women and Career
•    COUN 145 C Changing Careers
•    COUN 151 C Career and Life Planning    
Computer Programs
•    CaCareerCafe.com
•    Career Cruising
•    Choices Explorer
•    Choices Planner
•    Bridges Ability Profiler
•    Chronicle Career Library
•    Facts on File
•    Focus 2
•    Funding Finder (EUREKA)
•    Kuder (beginning Summer 2014)
•    MicroSkills (EUREKA)            
•    Vocational Biographies online
•    WinWay Résumé    
Career Resource Library
•    Career Files
•    Books - trends, outlooks, major specific
•     Computer research
•    Career Newsletters    
Job Search Preparation
•    Résumé, Interview, Job Prep books
•    WinWay Résumé
•    Handouts    
Workshops – Career and Student Success
•    Current workshop series
•    Online workshops
•    Handouts from previous workshops    
Study Skills and Employability Skill Resources
•    Books
•    Computer programs
•    Workshop Handouts    
Cypress College Website and Social Media
•    Cypress College Career Planning Center
•    Cypress College Counseling 

Contact Information

Location: Student Center, 2nd Floor
Parking Lot <
Fall and Spring Semester Office Hours:
Mon & Thurs: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Tues & Wed: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(Closed on Fridays during the Summer)
Phone: 714-484-7120
Fax: 714-826-4070
Admissions Office