Guided by the professionals

Given the kind of options that the average student is confronted with post-college these days, it isn’t surprising that many of them don’t have the first clue what to take up. This is especially the case at the under-graduate level, where students rarely take up specialisations.

Even those who have a vague idea of the field they’d like to enter often have a multitude of questions – what are the options for a beginner in the industry? What is the best way to ensure an edge over their peers? Would a few years of work experience help them get into a better post-graduate college? The problem is that well-meaning friends and family don’t always have the answers to this question; which is why several students are now opting for professional advice. The trend of visiting career counsellors might not have been so common a few decades ago, when future options were clearly divided into engineering and medicine. But these days, more and more students seem to feel that a little advice can go a long way in clearing their doubts.

For instance, Ameen E Mudassar, a career counsellor, has noticed a definite increase in the number of students who approach him. “The primary reason is that they had a definite plan in mind, which isn’t working out. They come to me to figure out what alternatives they have. Others want reassurance that they’re on the right path and they feel they can’t get that at home,” he explains. On the other hand, he sometimes finds himself advising students who don’t seem to have any plan of action at all. “Some people are completely confused and believe that career counsellors can give them ready-made answers. It doesn’t always work that way. In my cases, I use a personality assessment tool to analyse the student before beginning the counselling. Generally, they tend to open up after this. Interestingly, many of them do have an idea of what they’d like to do — they simply don’t bring it up because of parental pressure,” he adds.

Nithin, a student of Global Academy of Technology, has another point of view. In his opinion, students sometimes balk at visiting counsellors because they simply don’t have a comfortable equation with them. “I’ve seen a lot of my peers approach their professors for help. I don’t think it’s because they necessarily feel a teacher has more knowledge than a professional — it’s simply because they share a certain level of comfort with them,” he reflects. “That being said,” he adds, “It does make sense to get a little professional help.”

Sharath, also a student, agrees with this view. “I think the main doubt that most people have is in terms of the scope of a particular course,” he says, adding that in such cases, advice from a professor is often sufficient. “On the other hand, it makes sense to visit a counsellor if you don’t have a clear-cut goal,” he concludes.

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