The Highlands Company Blog

Navigating Career Decisions with Confidence: One Client’s Journey

By Highlands Consultant Kristi Windish of True Compass LLC.  Read how one client’s journey with True Compass led to a change in college major and an exciting new career path.

“At True Compass, we have made it our mission to develop an assessment process that is personal and unique to each client and their individual career development. We are grateful for the opportunity to empower individuals with self-awareness and encourage them to live their best life!”

While in high school, Mallory was a gifted student who liked to learn and excelled in all of her classes; history, english, math and sciences.  Due to her aptitude in math and science and her strong problem-solving skills, engineering seemed a perfect fit for her, and she was encouraged to pursue that path.  She decided that she would study chemical engineering.  However, as she progressed through college and explored different classes, Mallory’s interests expanded beyond the confines of engineering, and she felt drawn to change her career plans.

Feeling uncertain about her academic path, Mallory reached out to True Compass for guidance.  She was questioning if she should push through and finish a degree she wasn’t passionate about, or should she change her major and find something else?

Through assessments like the Highlands Ability Battery combined with an analysis of her personality, interests and values, Mallory gained valuable insights into her natural abilities and preferences.

The assessment revealed key indicators that shed light on why engineering didn’t feel like the right path for Mallory.  For instance, Mallory scored in the mid-range on the Generalist-Specialist scale, indicating a preference for variety and collaboration with others. Engineers tend to score high on the Specialist side of this continuum, preferring to dive deep into an area, to become an expert in that area.

She also scored high on Idea Productivity, another indicator that she craves variety and needs an outlet for her creative ideas. Any part of school or work that is rote or follows specific steps felt draining because Mallory has many ideas on how to solve problems and communicate her views. Creativity is valued in engineering, but Mallory was beginning to feel stifled with her math classes and was interested in solving different types of problems that were not structural.

Mallory’s spatial scores provided additional clarity. Engineers typically score high on both of the Spatial subtests of the Highlands Ability Battery. The Spatial Relations Theory worksample indicated her ability to understand theoretical relationships and to understand how systems work. This explained why she excelled in understanding abstract ideas involved in higher level math and science.  However, she scored lower on Spatial Relations Visualization, indicating that she did not have a preference for hands-on work and tangible products. Instead, she is rather comfortable in the world of ideas and theories. She is drawn to thinking of possibilities, but not necessarily for structural or mechanical projects. This mismatch between her abilities and the demands of her engineering classes contributed to her dissatisfaction.

Additionally, Mallory’s high scores in Time Frame Orientation highlighted her inclination towards long-term projects with societal impact, a stark contrast to the short-term nature of many engineering projects. This misalignment with her values further fueled her desire to explore alternative career paths.

After a thorough discussion of her natural abilities and personality preferences, Mallory gained a deeper understanding of herself. If she chose to complete her engineering degree, she could seek out positions in the field of engineering that aligned with her preferences – those that use more creativity, allow for group interaction. She might have been drawn to long term projects or management positions that allowed her to see the big picture and do strategic planning. Where many engineers dislike management positions that take them away from the hands-on work, Mallory would have thrived because the tangible product was not as crucial to her job satisfaction. In the end, however, she just wasn’t interested enough in the field of engineering. She was interested in studying law and began to explore undergraduate degrees that would allow for a possible transition from chemical engineering.

Ultimately, Mallory made the decision to change her major, transitioning to biological science. This shift not only reignited her motivation but also led her to discover a newfound interest in medical ethics and law.

Reflecting on her journey, Mallory acknowledges the impact of the True Compass assessment process. It provided her with the clarity and confidence needed to navigate her academic and professional pursuits, ultimately guiding her towards a path that resonated with her true passions and aspirations. Read more about her experience in her own words:

How did you feel before meeting with True Compass and changing your major?

“Before meeting with True Compass, I felt very lost and confused about how I wanted to apply myself. The passion I held previously for academics had perished, and I no longer felt like I was on the right path. I felt less and less satisfied with the work I was accomplishing. Finding the will to keep pushing on in a field that no longer interested me was near impossible. I had a gut feeling that something needed to change, but I had no clue how or in which direction I should go.”

What did you learn during our meeting that made the biggest impact?

“It felt like a lightbulb going off in my head. I was finally able to reason with myself what pathways I needed to pursue to feel passionate about my field and be successful in it at the same time. My results demonstrated that problem-solving was an absolute must for whatever field I went into. This I thought was reasonable, since I had always enjoyed problem-solving as a kid and teenager. Rather, the result I found that helped the most was realizing I had strong idea productivity. The major I had originally been in was very math intensive. By finding out that people with high idea productivity can struggle with solving the problems the same way helped to validate the feelings I had about doubting my current path.”

What information from the assessment have you used or gone back to as you’ve made decisions about your future?

“My results indicated that I would be more satisfied if I had a strong mix of logical reasoning and artistic thinking. The other result that I have gone back to continuously is my work style. My scores indicated that it would be best to act as a specialist in group-oriented activities. This has guided me along choosing between career pathways and knowing what situations I will work best in. I continuously reference this section since I am quite introverted, and it reminds me to push myself since I recognize that I find more satisfaction in collaborative work.”

How did you feel after the meeting?

“After the meeting, I was able to reestablish the drive I once had for academics by picking a major which balanced both my interests in STEM and the humanities. The meeting helped to discuss what options were available to me where I would find success but also feel stimulated. I no longer felt lost, I finally had some form of a guide that would help me find happiness and accomplishment. Immediately after the meeting, I remember going home and just searching on my laptop for majors that met the criteria we had just discussed. To my astonishment, I actually found something that fit within my interests along with my abilities. The key takeaway I had from the meeting was that I needed to find some way where I could properly express myself and not limit all of my interests.”

How do you feel now that you’re on a different path?

 “When I was in engineering, the path felt rocky, like a country road where you’re unsure if the next rock will pop your tire. Changing my major to biological sciences was like taking a right turn onto fresh pavement. It felt so smooth, I was less tense at the wheel, and I felt confident that I was going in the right direction. Yes, I still had questions about the final destination, but I felt safe and secure about pursuing what I was truly passionate about. The change in major to biological sciences led to interests in bioethics and law. As of now, I am finishing my master’s in medical Ethics and Law. I’ve never felt more confident than where I am right now.”

Would you recommend this assessment process for others – why?

“I would highly recommend this test to everyone. Especially those who are going into college. It would have immensely helped me to understand where my weaknesses and strengths lie. Collaboration is sincerely emphasized in college, and knowing how you work best as a team player will help the overall success. I also feel that if I had taken this test before going to college, I would have never picked an engineering major. I would have picked something that aligned with my abilities and interests more, which would have resulted in allowing more time to pursue other certificates or graduate with higher honors. Outside of college, the assessment is a great resource to reference in interviews or creating resumes. I’ve used the result that I have high idea productivity in several interviews.”

What else would you want people to know about your experience?

“This assessment is more than just choosing between careers and college majors; it’s about figuring out how to balance your life. I found out during the assessment I was not allowing myself enough artistic freedom. Afterward, I made sure and gave myself at least 15 minutes a day to express said artistic freedom in whatever way felt natural. I noticed after I started doing this, I felt happier overall and the urge to constantly be creating something lessened. Little things like this go a long way when establishing good mental, physical, and social health. The results from this assessment allowed me to develop a lifestyle which supported my best interests.”

True Compass provides students with the gift of self-confidence and helps them realize their potential. Read more by True Compass- How to Help Your Kids Pick a College Major or Decide if College is Right (

Highlands Consultant Kristi Windish, Co-founder, True Compass LLC

B.A. University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana M.A. Temple University, Philadelphia, Certified Highlands Ability Consultant, Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator

For 20 years, I have worked with children and their families in educational and clinical settings. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I have evaluated the communication skills of children, interpreted their results, and guided their teachers and parents through treatment strategies. Email-

Highlands Consultant Robyn Jackson, Co-founder, True Compass LLC

Ed.S. Degree in School Psychology, Master’s Degree in Psychology, Bachelor’s Degree in Education

I am a licensed School Psychologist with over 16 years of experience working in the public schools. As a seasoned psychologist, I am honored to have helped hundreds of individuals grow, thrive, and better understand their abilities in order to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

True Compass allows me to empower and encourage individuals with knowledge of their natural strengths and abilities and align that information with careers they will find satisfying and prosperous.

This article is reposted with permission by True Compass LLC –