Career Exploration Studies

What is Career Exploration Studies?

Career Exploration Studies (CES) is a program option at the college of NTID to assist first-year undergraduate deaf and hard-of-hearing students in their major exploration journey. CES serves two groups of students: RIT/NTID students in their first-year of undergraduate study in the college of NTID, and current RIT/NTID students who want to re-explore other major options available to them at RIT. 

Through advising, coaching, career assessment, and course sampling, RIT/NTID students have the opportunity to make an informed, educated decision when choosing their final major.

The CES program also supports deaf and hard-of-hearing students who need additional academic preparation to be ready for their chosen major. Learn more.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who meet admissions requirements may be eligible to enter an undecided program in one of RIT's eight colleges or School of Individualized Study.


Career Exploration Studies will facilitate the engagement of undeclared deaf and hard-of-hearing students into the RIT/NTID community and guide them toward personal success in selecting and being prepared to enter their major and career path.


The NTID Career Exploration Studies staff and faculty will provide academic advisement and career guidance to Career Exploration Studies students and to the general RIT/NTID student community. We will guide students toward identifying a program of study and a pathway to achieve their educational and career goals. This will be accomplished through:

  • Individual advising
  • Personal/social counseling
  • Attention to overall student growth, development, and success
  • Career assessment to discover each student’s interests, values, and skills
  • Collaboration and partnership with the RIT/NTID academic colleges and divisions

Our Students

Career Exploration Studies allows deaf and hard-of-hearing students to enter RIT/NTID before identifying an academic program of study. Students may be first-year students or transfer students who have minimal transfer credit from another university or community college.

The benefits of being a "New RIT/NTID" student in Career Exploration Studies:

  • Students will have the opportunity to explore RIT/NTID and its programs in greater detail before committing to a program of study.
  • The first year will focus on core general education courses that will meet requirements across many NTID majors.
  • Students will receive personalized academic advising that also focuses on career exploration and student development.
  • Students will enroll in Career Exploration Seminar to experience a blend of guided and self-discovery exercises designed to develop academic and career objectives.

In Career Exploration Studies, students will have up to one year to explore their interests, values, and career goals to make an informed decision for a major and resulting career.

Current RIT/NTID students who are re-considering their major choice are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Kiersten Blankley, director of CES, to discuss their options. If after this appointment a student wants to request a change of program into Career Exploration Studies to explore and discover a new major, a student is considered an internal transfer to Career Exploration Studies.

Internal transfer students will need to be in their first or second year by credit hours and meet all admissions requirements. All internal transfer students to Career Exploration Studies will be required to successfully complete Career Exploration Seminar their first term in the program.  

Changing into Career Exploration Studies is not an option for students in their third year or higher, however, they are welcome to consult with the director of Career Exploration Studies to talk about other options and to gain information about the general change of major process.

Exploration Process

Make a well informed decision when deciding (or re-deciding) on a college major. Career Exploration Studies offers a step by step, systematic process for students to learn about themselves and their options for a major at RIT/NTID.

Start your exploration now by clicking on the topics below.

Career Exploration Studies students are assigned a counselor/academic advisor who will assist them every step of the way through the exploration process. Advisors will know their students personally as they transition through college and discover their final major.

Role of the Counselor/Academic Advisor:

  • Effectively communicate major/program requirements
  • Encourage students to assume responsibility for their educational plans and decision making.
  • Create an environment where mutual respect and trust allow students to define and develop realistic personal, academic, and professional goals.
  • Monitor and accurately document students’ progress toward meeting these goals.
  • Serve as a teacher/mentor in providing students with guidance, support, and advocacy.
  • Be accessible for meeting with students in person or through telephone or email.
  • Provide students with information about and strategies for utilizing campus services and resources.
  • Uphold the integrity of the RIT degree by enforcing institute policies.

Role of the Student Advisees:

  • Schedule an appointment with their academic advisor at least once each term.
  • Come prepared to their appointments with questions or issues for discussion.
  • Ask questions if they do not understand an issue or have a specific concern.
  • Organize official documents in a way that enables students to access them when needed (Advising Portfolio)
  • Complete all assignments or recommendations from their advisor.
  • Clarify goals and provide accurate information regarding their interests and abilities.
  • Become knowledgeable about institute programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Read their RIT emails frequently.
  • Accept responsibility for their decisions and actions (or inactions) that affect their educational progress.

One of the most important components of deciding on a major is experiencing the major or a content area through "sample courses". 

Click program names to view admission requirements.

Visual Communication Studies 

Business Studies

Engineering Studies 

Liberal Studies

Science and Mathematics

Information Computing Studies

Career exploration counselor/academic advisors get to know their student advisees well and this one-on-one relationship helps the advisors select sample courses that best fit their student advisees’ interests. Many sample courses also satisfy general education requirements.

During NTID’s two-week orientation program called the Summer Vestibule Program (SVP), orientation students will spend significant time on career sampling. They will have the opportunity to learn about majors and careers in each NTID department. From this meeting they will choose their top two departments to take in-depth classes with and get a hands-on feel. They also will be supported by a professional staff person functioning as a career seminar instructor for the length of SVP. After going through this process students can either interview with a department they are interested in studying or remain with Career Exploration Studies. Students who stay in Career Exploration Studies will receive guidance and support and translate their career assessments into possible RIT/NTID majors. Then students will start their major research by identifying majors of interest in the RIT Undergraduate Bulletin.

Completing a worksheet for top three majors of interest helps guide students through a process of exploring what they may like and dislike about a program, often leading to a list of questions for a department chairperson such as "What type of job will I have with a degree in laboratory science technology, mobile application development, or 3D graphics technology?" 

Once students have narrowed down their interests, identified a few programs of study, meeting with departments will help clarify and validate interests. This referral to a department gives students the opportunity to ask questions about careers, program requirements, and the process for changing into that major.

In most cases, when students are ready to apply to a major it involves completing one simple form, a Change of Program form, which they then submit directly to the director in Career Exploration Studies. There are a few majors that do require supplemental application materials or they may have artistic portfolio requirements as well. A very small number of majors also may mandate a fall start. The counselor/academic advisors in Career Exploration Studies are all aware of these details and effectively communicate them to their student advisees. It should be noted that students also are advised to research a “Plan B” major should they not be qualified for and accepted into their first-choice major.


Starting in the Career Exploration Studies program provides a structured process to help you explore your options and choose the right major for you. An experienced counselor/academic advisor will work with you to find the best sampling classes and what steps are going to work for you to make a well-informed decision.

We have two separate student groups who enroll in Career Exploration Studies. The first group consists of incoming deaf and hard-of-hearing freshmen and first-year external transfer deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are "undecided" about what major they may want at RIT. The second group consists of first-year deaf and hard-of-hearing students already enrolled in a major at RIT that want to change majors but are "undecided" about what major they want to pursue.

Yes, we can assist with your exploration even though you do not enter the program. We will help you determine the steps to take to find the major that is right for you.

Your Transfer/AP/IB credits will be evaluated and accepted using the general guidelines of the University.

The goal for students entering Career Exploration Studies is to choose a major within one academic year.

Generally most of the courses completed while in Career Exploration Studies will be used towards various requirements in your selected major.

In addition to your first major choice, you are encouraged to develop a back-up plan that consists of one or two comparable majors.

No. Career Exploration Studies is designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing students find the right major. Your best plan of action is to work closely with your current advisor and an advisor in the program you wish to change into.

No. Career Exploration Studies is an exploratory program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students wanting to stay at RIT.

On occasion, a student may go through the program but still hasn't made any progress towards selecting a major. In that case, the relationship created between the student and the counselor/academic advisor is key. They will have a discussion about what works for the student when researching career options. Some possible outcomes would be to revisit career counseling, pros/cons on additional majors, and other methods of career exploration.

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