We expect 17/18 year olds to make large decisions about college, the place they will live for the next few years and give thousands of dollars too. We also expect them to quickly choose what they are going to major in and thus what they will pursue after graduation. All in the span of around four years we expect our students to make important decisions.
Unfortunately, that's easier said than done, especially for low-income and first-generation students. Low-income first-gen students are usually off put by the idea of college because of financial reasons or family responsibilities. For other people, there is also a fear that they will study something that will end up not being something they need in life. For instance, what if they study creative writing and realize that they want to do computer science? They don't have the money to go back to school for another four years and pay more tuition or spend more time away from home.
There are also other people I know who have changed their major multiple times, it has affected the amount of time they spend at school. There are other people who juggle work and school years after.
So, what if, we offered a new system or program for students. When students come to college, they are required to spend a year or two interning at various careers. Every month or so students will have to try interning somewhere new. The students can begin by being sent to different jobs, or if they have an idea of what they have an interest in or passion in, then they can ask for specific work. After a year or two of experiencing different jobs and careers, students will then be able to decide what majors would actually suit the passions they have as well as the careers they want to pursue.
To connect these students with internships, the Career Services and Alumni Associations of schools could partner to have a network of alumni or connections of people who are willing to provide an internship to really show students what the jobs or careers will be like. Part of the internships would also allow students to make money that will pay for their tuition and also to make money to support themselves a little while they are preparing to start taking classes or to save for tuition.