“But I’m not sure what I want to do.”

If this is what comes to mind when you are thinking about graduate school or a professional path, then you are not alone. To contemplate the future, however, you DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. You do not have to name a profession or a job. The important thing is to simply have a direction that orients you towards the future and the desire to explore your options. 

You might have a very definitive objective: you want to be a teacher, doctor, anthropologist, psychologist, or professor. Knowing your goal may seem to make things easier because it will help define the kinds of steps you take moving forward. However, you will still have plenty of choices to make.

Or you may take a broader approach to your advanced degree search by deciding you want to work in a particular field, like healthcare or the arts. This would also give your career exploration a direction.

You simply might have the idea that you want to go to graduate school. Perhaps you like to study or you know you want to work in a professional environment. You might want a career that allows you to travel or even something flexible that allows you to have a family.

Another way of thinking about an advanced degree and career path is to consider what you like to do on a daily basis — and imagine how this activity could lead you to a graduate program and ultimately a career.

Once your ideas have begun to take shape, you can start to explore. In this section, there are suggestions, ideas and resources about ways in which you can investigate what your future might be. If you already have a good idea, some of the suggestions here may help you refine your goals further. 

We help California’s former foster youth apply to graduate programs and professional schools by providing the knowledge each applicant needs to create a competitive application and succeed.

MAPS is a California non-profit