Virtual inkblot test suggests potential careers

More fun than a guidance counsellor?

Trouble choosing a major? Luckily for you, there’s a new app to help students choose careers and it’s a lot more fun than a guidance counsellor.

This September, students at two U.S. universities will take virtual inkblot tests that will match them with potential fields of study and careers. (In case you didn’t know, inkblots are those blobby images that psychologists hold up for people in movies.)

The test is a series of images and associated words, such as a picture of a tent and the word “camping.” Students click either “Me” or “Not Me.” Based on the results, the application presents a list of seven personality categories and an algorithm matches them with potential careers.

Think of it as a sophisticated version of the personality tests on dating sites, except that instead of matching you up with someone else who enjoys walks on the beach and Woody Allen, it suggests potential paths that fit you well. (Okay, so in that last sense it’s not at all like dating sites).

Although many schools already have tests to assess career interests, the inkblot app has the advantage of being more fun. That means students are more likely to actually do it.

Of course, the inkblot app will only be useful if it can actually predict good match-ups. Some experts doubt the test will be very accurate. “An enormous body of good literature shows that tests like this do a dreadful job of predicting actual behaviour,” Palmer Morrel-Samuels, a lecturer in research methods at the University of Michigan, told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Whether or not this particular test can help, guiding students toward career paths that better match their personalities is a worthy goal. It could reduce the number of dropouts, shrink the amount of time students spend aimlessly drifting and save money for parents, students and schools alike.

Scott Dobson-Mitchell is entering the Master of Science program at Wilfrid Laurier University. He contributes to Future Campus each week. Follow @maconcampus. Like us on Facebook here.