Your daughter wants to be a rock star one minute, a doctor the next. How can you help her find direction without stifling her inquisitive spirit? The career counselors at Austin Community College (ACC) have some tips for explorers. Each year, they help thousands of young people select majors, ace interviews, and land the jobs of their dreams.


Ask this essential question

“There are three things to consider when choosing a major: interests, abilities, and values,” says ACC Career Counselor Dawn Allison. Since students often have difficulty identifying these things right away, she asks them this essential question: “What are you doing when you lose track of time?” It’s an easy way to help people of all ages identify their passions.


Encourage exploration

You already know this, but it’s worth repeating: Sometimes it’s best to let your kids figure things out for themselves. “A lot of young people are influenced by their parents, families, and teachers,” says Allison. “They need time to really consider what’s a good fit for them. What I really like is when parents encourage their child to do some exploring.” She says volunteering and job shadowing are both great ways for teens to start seeing what’s out there.


Turn to the internet

ACC’s Career Services has assembled a website full of tools for those trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Encourage your child to browse job descriptions, learn about different areas of study, or take a career assessment quiz. The quizzes are tons of fun, but remember: They’re meant to be a starting point, not the final word. “It’s not a magic crystal ball,” says Allison. “I tell students, ‘There’s not just one major or career that’s right for you. There are lots of amazing possibilities out there.’ ”

Check out the career assessment quiz and other resources at

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