The Four-Year Plan

"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up someplace else." -David Campbell

Although it may seem overwhelming now, eventually everyone must face that one ultimate question: 

What should I do with my life?

Luckily, the Augustana Career Center is here to help guide you through every phase of your career development. Career planning is an on-going process, and confidence in a career decision comes from understanding yourself and the options available to you. This year-by-year guide takes you through the process of gathering current information, helping you to form goals and the skills needed to achieve them. These steps build upon each other, allowing time to research, reflect on, and experiment with a variety of choices as you gain the necessary confidence to implement decisions during your senior year.

Don't settle for drifting through college without a goal! Begin the career development process now, and look toward a brighter future. For the best service, stop by, email, or call 605.274.4127 to schedule an appointment at the Career Center. The better we know you, the better we can help you!

Freshman Year: Self Assessment

Perhaps you have felt that tinge of anxiety already when others have asked you, "What will you do with a liberal arts degree?" By exploring your interests, skills, and values early in your college career, you will be more prepared to choose the career that best fits your criteria, more easily making the transition from college life to life after Augie.

Goals and Activities

Identify the following, either on your own or with assistance from the Career Center staff:

  • Begin the process of self-awareness by identifying your interests, skills, and values.
  • Take an interest inventory.
  • Consider your past accomplishments, skills, and abilities.
  • Learn your personality style.
  • Get acquainted with the Career Center staff and resources.
  • Meet with a career counselor.
  • Talk with parents, friends, and professors about different kinds of work.
  • Build skills and leadership through co-curricular and volunteer activities.

Sophomore Year: Exploration

After assessing your interests, skills, and values, you are now prepared to choose a career field that best fits with your criteria.

Goals and Activities

  • Talk to the Career Center staff to help you decide or confirm your major and develop a career plan.
  • Explore and investigate career options that best fit your skills, values, and interests.
  • Gather career information in the Career Center office and website.
  • Talk with your professors about your career ideas.
  • Consider studying abroad for a semester, interim, or Spring Break
  • Contact professionals in your field of interest to set up informational interviews.
  • Set some short-term goals (Examples: conduct three informational interviews, search for a summer job related to your major, meet with your professor to talk about options for your major, etc).
  • Apply for summer jobs or internships related to your major or chosen career.
  • Begin developing a resume by attending a workshop and writing a first draft.

Junior Year: Evaluation and Decision-Making

Now that you are better acquainted with yourself, you are ready to begin planning and preparing for the next step after graduation.

Goals and Activities

  • Meet with the Career Center staff to refine your resume and cover letters.
  • Attend information sessions offered by recruiting organizations.
  • Attend and gather information from career and graduate/professional school fairs.
  • Consider whether graduate/professional school is necessary for your intended career choice.
  • Visit with Augie alumni about your chosen career field.
  • Weigh all career options and make preliminary decisions.
  • Conduct research on graduate programs and talk to an advisor.
  • Explore scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship opportunities.
  • Decide when to take the GRE, MCAT, or other exams.
  • Seek out a summer job or internship in your career field of interest.

Senior Year: Implementation

Now what? You have spent the last four or five years writing papers, researching topics, giving presentations, and studying for tests and finals. You deserve a break, right? Of course you do, but remember, you have one more big task ahead of you: The Job Search!

Goals and Activities

  • Take the plunge: talk with the Career Center staff about developing a job search plan.
  • Don't Do It Alone! Come in for a senior appointment, let us know your plans, and bring your resume.
  • Begin developing your network of contacts (friends, relatives, alumni, professional associations).
  • Continue to revise and update your resume and develop cover letters.
  • Participate in mock interviews.
  • Interview with employers coming to campus.
  • Attend job fairs.
  • Seek advice on graduate school from faculty.
  • Take GRE or other exams as soon as possible.

Other Resource Links

Career Exploration - University of California - Berkley
Career Options By Major - Kansas State University
Careers in Business - Business Job Finder
Exploring Careers Step-by-Step - The College Board
Major Resource Kits - University of Delaware
Occupational Outlook Handbook - Bureau of Labor Statistics