Sign In   
Sign In        

College students and career planning: Help is on the way!

LUTZ, Fla.— Only 27 percent of U.S. college graduates have a job related to their field, according to a recent Washington Post report. At the same time, student debt is ballooning: CNN Money reports that 2013 graduates owe, on average, more than $32,000 in student loans and other college expenses. Clearly, students need tools to help identify college majors and careers that are a good fit for their interests and skills. The popular Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) from PAR, Inc., a leading publisher of assessment instruments, provides a solution: The new SDS 5th edition is a 15-minute, self-administered test that is perfect for students choosing courses, deciding on a major, or beginning their career search.

“Taking the SDS is an important first step in developing a college plan that will lead to a great career,” says SDS 5th Edition author, Melissa Messer. “Switching from major to major in college can waste a lot of time, and the cost can really add up when students don’t graduate on time. The SDS helps students identify their interests and consider different fields of study.”

According to Ms. Messer, no special training or qualifications are needed with the SDS; it is designed to be self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted. The SDS can be taken online at; with paper and pencil; or via PARiConnect, PAR’s new online assessment system.

The SDS 5th Edition is based on Dr. John Holland’s theory that both people and work environments fit into six basic categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (known collectively as RIASEC). The SDS generates a three-letter Summary Code for each user, based on his or her aspirations, activities, competencies, and interest in different occupations. Users can match their Summary Codes to current programs of study or to careers in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, which lists thousands of current jobs at all skill and education levels.

The SDS Web site ( has also been updated with new resources for veterans and a contemporary, easy-to-navigate user interface. The newly revised report includes an “at-a-glance” summary, and users can share their results via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. The SDS 5th Edition is designed to work on mobile devices and tablets.

To learn more about the SDS 5th Edition or any of PAR’s other career or vocational products, visit or call 1.800.331.8378.

Founded in 1978, PAR is a leading publisher of assessment instruments, software, and other related materials. Over the past three decades, PAR has earned a reputation for providing customers with innovative assessment solutions and unparalleled customer service.