How to choose a mission before a major - lessons from 50k students

JP Michel
When career advisors help students choose a mission before a major, they unlock their #purpose.

Once students explore the impact the way want to have on the world, then they identify potential majors that can help them.

At SparkPath, we've helped +50,000 students choose a challenge to solve (their mission). Here are three lessons from our students that you can use:

Lesson 1 - Showcase the value of choosing a mission

To overcome the traditional approach to careers, students need a new perspective.

One of the best ways to do this is to show them the limits of career exploration based on job titles. 

Here are three issues to share:
• There is an awareness gap between the number of titles we know (50? 100?) and how many exist (+20,000).
• Most people will hold several different job titles during their lives.
• Some job titles will change, and others don’t exist yet.

Once students see the limits of using job titles at the heart of their approach, they will be open to trying a different approach.

Lesson 2 - Help them explore

We're surrounded by challenges, problems and opportunities.

But if we're not looking for them, we can't see them.

You can help students change this by showing them examples of challenges to solve. 

Here are three resources you can use:
• United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 
• Challenge Cards
• Wazoku

To create momentum, ask students to make a list of their 2-5 favorite missions.

Lesson 3 - Choose a prototype mission

Out of their list of favorite missions, ask students to choose one. This will become their prototype mission.

The goal is not to lock-in one mission, for the rest of their lives. Instead, the goal is to practice tackling a mission, so they can get better at it.

Once they’ve chosen a mission, students can research the answers to the following questions: 
• Which organizations are working on this mission? 
• Who works there? 
• What major did they need to learn to contribute?

The answers to these questions will help students identify which majors will help them work on their mission.

How would your students benefit from choosing a mission before a major?

Let's keep in touch