Front loading the curriculum: early placement experiences enhance career awareness and motivation
Deciding which career path is right for undergraduate students can be challenging and positive outcomes are linked to early work placements. The aim of the current study was to explore the student experience following the introduction of early career-based awareness-raising and reflective learning opportunities in first-year sport and exercise science-based students. Students met with the first-year coordinator to discuss career progression and career aspirations. From this meeting, students were allocated a placement. Following the placement visit, students submitted a reflection piece addressing their experiences at the placement site with six themes identified including: 1) positive experience; 2) degree selection; 3) exposure and reinforcement of practices; 4) career awareness; 5) supervisor impact; and 6) negative experience. The provision of early placement for students in an observational capacity appears to be beneficial to first year experience to assist in consolidating their choice of degree.