Toppel offers interest assessment

Alicia Rodriguez, Associate Director of Career Development, meets with sophomore Priyanka Surio to discuss the results of her Strong assessment at Toppel's Career Technology Lab.

Alicia Rodriguez, Associate Director of Career Development, meets with sophomore Priyanka Surio to discuss the results of her Strong assessment at Toppel's Career Technology Lab.

In their first or second year at University of Miami, most students face the difficult decision of deciding on a major.

However, the Toppel Career Center’s Strong Interest Inventory Assessment can help, ranking students’ interests based on their answers to a series of questions.

The assessment, which takes anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes to complete and costs $10, aims to demonstrate students’ interest areas, not their abilities or skills.

Based on the student’s responses to whether they like or dislike numerous different occupations, subject areas, activities and types of people, the results recommend five different professions and interest areas.

“The interests [in the assessment’s results]don’t always match what [students]think their interests are,” said Frits Bigham, assistant director for career development. “The ‘Strong’ can be an awakening for students [who never considered a major in a certain field].”

Roughly 100 people took the assessment last year, but with 500 undeclared freshmen at UM, many more could benefit from it.

“A big part of the test was honesty with myself.  If I wasn’t being honest then I wouldn’t get the most accurate result,” said Emily Wingrove, a junior who took the assessment her sophomore year. “The test proved to be actually very accurate and I chose my majors [English and broadcast journalism] within a few months.”

The assessment isn’t only open to undeclared students. Since it can suggest vocations for those who have a major or a degree, it can also be valuable for upperclassmen, alumni, and graduate students.

Senior Rio Dienn took the assessment last year because she had no idea what she wanted to do after she graduated.

“I was surprised by the results but it definitely gave me more of an idea of what career options I have,” Dienn said.

After taking the assessment at Toppel, students are required to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor and discuss the results.  At this meeting, a student’s results will be analyzed and then the student will be able to take the results and reflect on them.

Most importantly, students need to know that resources are available to help them decide on a major or career.

“Don’t fret, you can still come in and meet with a career advisor or take an assessment,” Bigham said.  “There’s a big population of undeclared students and that’s okay.”

September 30, 2009


Rachael Kaminski

Contributing News Writer

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