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How to Choose a College Major With Virtual Job Simulations

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Choosing a college major can be exciting — there's so much to explore and try out! — but it can also be stressful. While most college majors can apply to multiple careers, what kind of major you pursue (a liberal arts vs. health major, for example) can determine what field you eventually end up in.  

So, how do you figure out what major to choose if you have no idea what you want to do after graduation?  

Job simulations, or online programs that simulate real-life work tasks, can be a low-stress, interactive way to understand what roles you want to pursue.  

What Is a Job Simulation? 

A job simulation is a self-paced, online program that introduces you to a "day in the life" working at a specific company in a particular role.  

For example, you may be interested in learning what working as an engineer is like. There are tons of job simulations available depending on what companies and industries you're interested in. Let's say you decide to take a job simulation with Ford, where you'll work as an engineer in their electric vehicles division. 

You'll first get an introduction to the company and what you'll be working on with a video from someone who actually works there. Then, you'll work on basic tasks that an entry-level Ford engineer would do: data analysis and visualization of battery capacity and reviewing Python code. 

Don't worry if you have no idea what any of these words mean — the job simulation will walk you through how to complete these tasks. You'll submit your work online, then see how someone at the company would have submitted it to compare your answers. 

When you complete any job simulation, you'll receive a certificate you can put on your LinkedIn, a summary of what you did for your resume, and tips on how to talk about the job simulation in an interview.  

>>MORE: Ready to try out this job simulation? Start Ford's EV Engineering Intro program. 

Job Simulation vs. Other Learning Opportunities 

How do job simulations compare to other experiential learning opportunities (programs where you learn by doing)? You may have heard of an internship, externship, or job shadowing, which are different opportunities for you to learn about specific roles or what it's like to work at a company. 

A job simulation is a virtual experience — you're not working directly with people from top companies. However, you may watch videos from people who actually work there to get a better sense of what teams at the company are like. 

Other opportunities, like internships, externships, and job shadowing, are typically focused on in-person experiences with varying levels of work and tasks.  


virtual job simulation compared

Why Should You Use a Job Simulation to Choose Your College Major? 

A job simulation is a free, low-stress, and relatively quick way to determine what you might be interested in majoring in.  

You Don't Need Any Experience 

Unlike an internship, where you need to go through a formal application process, or an externship or job shadowing, where you may need to tap into your network, job simulations require zero experience or connections. That means anyone can start a job simulation at any time! 

This low barrier to entry means you can explore job simulations whenever it's convenient to you — and try as many as you want with no consequences. You may do a task from an investment banking job simulation and decide it's not right for you, then choose a marketing job simulation to try instead.  

It Helps You Understand What You Like (and Don't Like) 

Knowing what you like (and don't like) can be challenging if you've never tried something out. Job simulations allow you to try out tons of different fields, roles, and even companies to get a better sense of what you enjoy doing.  

Because job simulations take a few hours, you can quickly understand what you're interested in without needing much time or resources.  

You'll Learn About New Career Opportunities 

The world of career options is endless! When I was in college, I knew I loved writing but had little exposure to what career options were available to me. I knew what a teacher was or what authors did, but I had no idea about fields like marketing or social media.  

Job simulations give you the opportunity to explore career options you might not have even heard of before.  

For example, maybe you're organized and great at methodically getting things done. Trying out project management job simulations can be a great way to flex those skills. Or, you may love designing posters for all of your school's events. Trying out UX design job simulations can show you a fast-growing career path that requires design skills.  

You'll Get a Head Start in Your Career 

Job simulations help you become career-ready by showing you what real-life work tasks are like. Some simulations even include general career tasks, like creating PowerPoint presentations, writing emails to your supervisor, or communicating with coworkers. All of these day-to-day career tasks can help you thrive in any workplace. 

Once you've completed a job simulation, you'll have experience to add to your resume and talk about in interviews. You'll also stand out to companies by showing your interest; students who complete a Forage job simulation are more than three times as likely to get a job offer. 

Virtual Job Simulations for High School Students 

Job simulations for high school students include entry-level simulations that don't require much (or any!) experience with the subject matter. Here are a few from various fields written specifically for high school students. 

  • CBRE Project Management: Learn how to plan a project for a global manufacturer's showroom development. 
  • CBRE Commercial Real Estate: Identify and establish relationships with potential business partners, then help manage a current client's real estate strategy. 
  • CBRE Sales: Analyze rental income streams to determine which businesses might be a good fit for open spaces. 
  • Clifford Chance Ready, Set, Law: Help various legal clients navigate issues like social media influencers, blockchain and crypto assets, and green and sustainability-linked loans. 
  • Lululemon Planning: Design a financial plan for future Lululemon sales, then troubleshoot an underperforming key style and a delayed delivery. 
  • JPMorgan Chase Cybersecurity: Learn cybersecurity basics, including how to filter out bad emails to protect your colleagues. 
  • Mayer Brown Introduction to Litigation: Help your client succeed in court using rules on hearsay, identifying types of evidence, cross-examining a witness, and preparing a closing argument.  
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Mass Spectrometry: Learn a scientific analytical technique called mass spectrometry and how it can help screen athletes for performance-enhancing drugs.  

>>MORE: Don't see a job simulation you're interested in? Explore all of Forage's 200+ job simulations 

The Bottom Line 

The end of high school comes with many important decisions, from where you want to apply to college to what you might want to major in when you get there. While this can be an exciting process, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you're unsure what interests you or career opportunities are available to you. 

That's where job simulations can help! Job simulations are online, self-paced programs that allow you to explore the world of work through real-life scenarios and tasks. You'll see what it's like to work at a specific company in a particular role on your own time and at your own pace. 

Whether you're curious about what engineering entails or want to know what it's like to work at a popular brand like Lululemon, a job simulation can give you the experience you need — without needing any experience. 

Ready to get started? 


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