The importance of education in the society cannot be overemphasized; it is one of the most important thing that every undergraduate students most experience. Without education the world will still be stagnant. Education and career work hand in hand; this is seen in students’ academic performance and career aspirations. Career is the sequence of occupations, jobs, and positions occupied during the course of a person’s working life. Career choice plays an important role in shaping the attitude of students towards any chosen discipline and in the subsequent achievement attained in the field. Many students fail because of an apparently unsuitable selection of the course of study. This may largely be due to the fact that a child’s attitude is likely to be affected by his interest in a particular discipline and which in turn may affect his performance.
Academic performance is an issue that deeply concerns students, parents, teachers and authorities not only in our country, but also in many other Latin American countries and continents. The complexity of the academic performance starts from its conceptualization. Sometimes it is known as school readiness, academic achievement and school performance, but generally the difference in concepts is only explained by semantics as they are used as synonyms. Conventionally, it has been agreed that academic performance should be used in university populations and school performance in regular and alternative basic education populations. We will point out just a few because there is a diversity of definitions. Several authors agree that academic performance is the result of learning, prompted by the teaching activity by the teacher and produced by the student. Academic performance is “the product given by the students and it is usually expressed through school grades”. Academic performance as a measure of the indicative and responsive abilities that express, in an estimated way, what a person has learned as a result of a process of education or training. Academic performance involves meeting goals, achievements and objectives set in the program or course that a student attends. These are expressed through grades which are the result of an assessment that involves passing or not certain tests, subjects or courses. Academic performance also can be seen as the level of knowledge shown in an area or subject compared to the norm, and it is generally measured using the grade point average.
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The purpose of the school or academic performance is to achieve an educational goal, learning. In this regard there are several components of the complex unit called performance. They are learning processes promoted by the school that involve the transformation of a given state, into a new state, and they are achieved with the integrity in a different unit with cognitive and structural elements. Performance varies according to circumstances, organic and environmental conditions that determine skills and experiences. The academic performance involves factors such as the intellectual level, personality, motivation, skills, interests, study habits, self-esteem or the teacher-student relationship. When a gap between the academic performance and the student’s expected performance occurs, it refers to a diverging performance. An unsatisfactory academic performance is the one that is below the expected performance. Sometimes it can be related to teaching methods
The influence of career choice has a lasting impact on an individual. It serves to be a predictor and determinant of their prospective level of income, nature of work and consequently leaves a mark on the personality, demeanour and outlook of an individual. Thus one wrong decision can change the fate of an individual. It is difficult for everyone to make a decision regarding their career. This individual action is manifested on a larger scale in the economic prosperity of a nation. Individuals who are misfits in their workplace tend to be less productive and efficient, and therefore are unable to achieve their goals. occupation as a means of living, which has the power to change personalities, determine social status, predict expected earnings, determine social groups etc. Thus its importance cannot be undermined. Given its complexity, it is then a point to ponder upon as to how career decisions are made.
FACTORS AFFECTING CAREER CHOICE
Career choice is one of the biggest dilemma and challenge in any student’s life. It involves interplay of many factors which are intricately intertwined. It is not a straightforward task and involves a difficult process of decision making. This issue is not confined to Nigeria only but is universal in nature. An individual’s environment, talents, skills, and academic achievement exert an influence on career choice. In case of a wrong choice, it may lead to resultant failure and disappointment. Research shows homes, schools and the social setup influence an individual’s career choice. Financial prospects influence the career choice of men as they have to meet household expenses, whereas women show more concern for social values and utility. Other factors such as aptitude, life circumstances, and academic achievement have also been proven as determinants of career choice. Educational level of parents, their profession and income are also identified as very important factors. Every student at a certain juncture in their life has to make a choice regarding their career. Unfortunately, career choices are made with little awareness of the real world. Students make crucial decisions at a stage when they may not be fully informed of their choices, or else unavoidable circumstances prevent them from pursuing their goals. Thus counsellors can play a positive role in guiding them to make informed choices. Being interested in a particular profession is very important in decision making. If a student is forced into a career, he may exhibit low self-esteem and poor performance.
INFLUENCE OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE ON CAREER CHOICE
Academic performance can influence career choice in a whole lot of ways; every undergraduate student have a particular career in mind before even gaining admission into tertiary institution with hope of making good grades so as to enable them get their dream job. There was a case of an undergraduate student wished to be retained by the school after graduation but he ended up not making first class and the school did not retain him. There are some job that will specify they want candidate with second class upper to first class; graduates that did not get second class or first class end up losing that opportunity. It is usually very important that you make good grades so as to not have a limitation as regard your career choice.