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CAS 104: Career Exploration

One-credit course

2017-18 pilot year: sophomores (fall 2017), first-years (spring 2018)

Course Description

This course is designed to help students successfully navigate career choices and challenges in a complex, global economy. It provides an introduction to career development theories, decision making strategies, and career readiness competencies which can help students transition to post-graduate opportunities including jobs, graduate/professional school, volunteerism and entrepreneurship.

Students will use the following to develop a personal career readiness and exploration plan:

  • Class readings
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Online research
  • Informational interviews with alumni
  • Exploratory research on industries, professions and career paths of interest

Explore Meliora Program

Students are assigned to contact and conduct an informational interview with a University of Rochester alumnus/alumna as part of the Explore Meliora Program. The purpose of the conversation is to gain insight and advice on career decision-making and the role of career in one’s life.

List of Assignments

  • Reflection Paper #1 (Self-Assessment)
  • Reflection Paper #2 (Exploring Career Options)
  • Explore Meliora Conversation
  • Resume Review
  • Final Project: Career Readiness and Exploration Plan


The course is grounded in writings and theories that have shaped modern-day thinking about careers and career development, providing a multifaceted perspective on career exploration and decision-making that students can apply to their own unique situation. Each week, assigned readings will provide an overview of a different theory, including person-environment fit, self-concept, life design, narrative, chaos and happenstance.

Course Learning Outcomes

In completing this course, students will be able to do the following:

  • Understand theories of career development and decision making strategies
  • Describe career development as a process.
  • Describe individual interests, values, strengths and skills and connect these findings to career choice.
  • Identify and use online resources to research industries, professions, post-graduate academic options, and career paths.
  • Practice building professional relationships and articulate the role these relationships play in career development.
  • Write a basic resume to document experiences in relation to career readiness competencies as defined by NACE.
  • Create a plan to continue the process of exploration, self-understanding, and competency development throughout the college years and beyond.

Schedule of Course Topics and Assignments


Week 1—Overview of Career Development; Introduction to Self-Assessment

  • Course/syllabus overview
  • Self-assessment exercise/icebreaker

Week 2—Self-Assessment: Values and Interests

  • Life values inventory group interpretation activity
  • Strong interest inventory group interpretation activity

Week 3—Self-Assessment: Strengths, Traits and Skills

  • Activities based on assigned self-assessment activities


Week 4—Researching Industries and Professions

  • Activities for exploring and using online resources for career research


Week 5—Making Decisions

  • Activities and discussion on effective decision-making strategies

Week 6—You on Paper: Resume Writing

  • Basic resume conventions
  • Reflective resume writing activity;

Week 7—Career Readiness; Reflective Exercises

  • Introduction to NACE career competencies
  • Self-reflection activities on career readiness


For more information email Laura Jones, senior career advisor, at