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    Future-Proof Your Career with Aptitude Testing from the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

    Posted June 3, 2024, 8:00 am by Casa Wilson

    Choosing the right degree program weighs heavily on the minds of every student when they’re planning for college. What should I study? What if I don’t know what career I’m interested in? What if I choose the wrong degree?

    Many students have limited tools to help them make such an important decision about the future. They might be told to choose a degree based on their passions, interests, or their favorite classes. If they’re lucky they might have access to career or personality tests at school.

    These techniques can provide some insight, but they’re incomplete. Self-reporting surveys just mirror their answers back to them. Their interests and passions change as they get older. Even their experiences in class can be misleading: Their feelings about a subject can easily be influenced by how the class is taught or what courses they’re exposed to.

    These data points capture them in the present but don’t always accurately reflect who they might be in the future.

    The Wrong Degree Can Lead to the Wrong Career

    Take Mark, a recent graduate of the University of California, San Diego, who came to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (JOCRF) for career aptitude testing and guidance. He thought he was making a smart choice when he declared his Communications major as a freshman. He liked working with people and enjoyed an intro-level class. It felt like a good fit.

    But four years later, his degree felt like a major roadblock to his future. With guidance from JOCRF he realized that his talents pointed towards engineering. He wanted to build machines, not work in public relations. This straight-A student had chosen the wrong major.

    A Different Kind of Career Assessment

     So, what is the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, and how can it help students like Mark?

    JOCRF is a nonprofit research institute offering career aptitude testing to teenagers aged 14+ in testing centers across the United States.

    Testing with JOCRF is a unique experience. These assessments are interactive and hands-on, administered in a one-on-one setting with trained test administrators. The tests feel more like puzzles or games than like sitting through the SATs. No studying or advanced preparation is required—these tests are measuring natural potential, not school knowledge.

    Clients are tested for 21 different aptitudes ranging from reasoning abilities and idea flow to goal-setting and workplace personality. The scores aren’t influenced by what they’ve learned in school or their hobbies or interests at the time. The results provide truly objective, data-backed information about their innate talents.

    Each client’s test results are discussed with them in 90-minute consultation appointments where they learn about their aptitudes and the types of roles, careers, and degree programs that match their natural approach. A written report provides their aptitude test scores and a list of career examples that fit their unique combination of abilities.

    Unlike the outcome from an interest survey, aptitude test results won’t change with time, so the information can always be used to make smart career decisions. Choosing a degree and career path based on the results of aptitude testing means making a choice that suits both the present and the future self.

    Making Intelligent Choices Today

    There are close to 2000 degree programs available in the United States and half a million careers to choose from. It’s no wonder that the typical student changes their major multiple times in their college career.

    But students who use JOCRF’s aptitude testing to plan for college stay in their major at higher rates than the average student, saving time and tuition money. That’s because using your aptitudes regularly in your classes or work has strong correlations with satisfaction. Everyone enjoys doing what they’re good at and can be successful in.

    Clients often report that learning about their aptitudes gave them new confidence and a deeper understanding of themselves and their motivations. Their test results provide the kind of self-knowledge that can help them make informed decisions when they find themselves navigating the many choices they face in high school and beyond:

    • Choosing a degree program and school size
    • Focusing their high school classes and extracurriculars
    • Deciding between trade school or a four-year degree
    • Writing college essays and explaining their career plans in interviews
    • Selecting a career path and internships
    • Planning a gap year

    Aptitude testing answers the “Whys.” Why this school? Why this major? Why this career/

    Navigating Changes in the Future

    The benefits of aptitude testing continue far past their school years. Because aptitudes don’t change with time, they can always be turned to for guidance. For many clients, their aptitude test results become a vocabulary they can use to navigate through transition periods like:

    • Career pivots
    • Promotions
    • Starting a business
    • Retraining
    • Re-entering the workforce

    The certainty of knowing their aptitudes can help them face a changing career landscape, too. The World Economic Forum's 2023 Future of Jobs report predicts that 44% of workers' skills will be disrupted in the next five years and require retraining. The person who is armed with data about their innate strengths will always know which roles suit them, even when their job title or industry evolves.

    Career Guidance with 100+ Years of Research

    JOCRF’s aptitude testing began in 1922 as a hiring tool for the General Electric Company. Looking for a more scientific way to hire new staff, an employee named Johnson O’Connor created hands-on tasks to serve as predictive “samples” of the types of work done in the plant. The theory was someone who excelled at a work sample would thrive in the actual role it represented. It worked. High scores on the tests correlated with more career success and enjoyment.

    Today JOCRF’s mission is still rooted in the belief that every person has their own unique combination of aptitudes and that choosing a degree program and career path that matches those abilities can be the basis for a happier, more successful life.

    With over 100 years of research into careers and human aptitudes conducted by a full-time research department, JOCRF’s testing service continues to offer students the opportunity to discover how their minds like to naturally work.

    It only takes one day to discover career-long success. Get started at www.jocrf.org.

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    Casa Wilson

    Casa Wilson

    Casa Wilson is the Director of Special Projects at the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation in Los Angeles. She holds both a BA and MA from the University of Virginia and has had the privilege of helping hundreds of adults and teenagers learn about their aptitudes and career potential.