Jenna Oyler '16 knew that she wanted to minor in coaching. She knew that she loved playing basketball at Elms College. It was everything else that was uncertain. 

Students with undeclared majors are placed in the new Compass Program, which provides a number of exploratory activities to help them determine their career path.

Compass Points Way to Career Path

Tue Dec 18, 2012

Jenna Oyler '16 knew that she wanted to minor in coaching. She knew that she loved playing basketball at Elms College. It was everything else that was uncertain. 

Students with undeclared majors are placed in the new Compass Program, which provides a number of exploratory activities to help them determine their career path.

Like all undeclared students, Jenna was advised by Joyce Hampton, Ed.D., director of the Compass Program. When selecting her schedule, Joyce asked Jenna if there was anything she was interested in. "No," Jenna replied. Was there anything she was not interested in? "Math. Stay away from math," Jenna said with a smile.

Joyce signed Jenna up for introductory courses in Spanish, rhetoric, coaching, and psychology to see if anything would stick. Several weeks into the semester, Jenna approached her psychology professor, Jennifer Rivers, Ph.D., after class to talk more about the major.

"I said, 'I'm really interested in psychology. I want to pursue this.' I had that spark like I wanted to learn more," Jenna said.

Decision Time

After a luncheon for students in the Compass Program to discuss career posibilities–and a series of discussions with her advisors, professors, parents, and even her old high school basketball coach–Jenna had reached a decision. Not only was she declaring psychology as a major, she already had a career path mapped out.

"I want to go to graduate school and become a guidance counselor. I love basketball and I've always wanted to coach so I'll have the opportunity to do both when I'm working in a school.

"I've never taken a psych course before so it's all new to me. But I like interacting with people and I want to be able to help kids, so it's perfect."

In it's first year, 44 students were enrolled in the Compass Program and over half have already declared a major.

While Jenna is aware that she will have to take math courses as a part of her core curriculum, she is happy and hopeful with her new direction.