By Damian Ramsey 

While student exploration in college is generally considered a good thing, there is a hidden cost to students changing their majors after their first year. Changing majors after sophomore year has been linked to declines in college graduation, extended time to degree, and increased  student debt. Students change majors for many reasons. Understanding one’s aptitudes (natural abilities) and interests prior to enrolling in college, may reduce the likelihood of doing so. 

Students sometimes lack visibility into the types of careers that would be both personally and financially rewarding. YouScience is a talent discovery platform that uncovers students’ aptitudes and interests, and aligns them with best-fit, high-demand careers. Using a series of short, game-like exercises to measure various types of aptitude (e.g., spatial visualization, sequential reasoning, numerical reasoning, inductive reasoning, etc.), and a career interest survey to assess students’ knowledge of, and interest in high-demand careers, YouScience matches students to fields in which they are uniquely fit to succeed. The report that is generated  provides the first step in bridging the gap between students’ aptitude and interests.

What if YouScience was leveraged to match students to college majors that lead to high-demand careers? Would exploring a student’s talents, desired lifestyle, and understanding of specific career pathways prior to college, result in better outcomes during and after college? Learn4Life’s Postsecondary Success Network is exploring these and other questions as we consider YouScience as a tool to reduce major-changing and improve the region’s 27% postsecondary completion rate. 


Currently, Georgia pays for all middle and high school students across the state to have access to YouScience. In 2019, almost 22,000 students across the 5 county 8 school district metro Atlanta region used the platform. Administration of this assessment, however, is completely voluntary, so usage varies from district to district, and the analysis of results for college and career advising, and experiential opportunities, vary from school to school. 

By raising awareness of YouScience as a state-funded tool to unlock students’ interests and aptitudes, Learn4Life hopes to not only increase usage, but also encourage cross-sector partners to leverage the platform in ways that expose students to high-demand careers so they enter college with more clarity and focus. By helping high school students understand their unique skills that map to rewarding careers, we hope to mitigate the pressures that compel many of them to change majors in college. Doing so can set them on a path toward postsecondary success, and propel them toward future careers that directly align with their interests and natural abilities. 

If you’re a parent, or from a school, nonprofit, community organization, or business, and you’d like to support Learn4Life’s cradle to career approach, you can join our early literacy, math, and postsecondary success networks here. All are welcome, and we’d love to have your voice at the table.

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