I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

How do people go about selecting a college major or future career? Are there job fairs in high schools in your area to help students learn about different careers? Is it a common practice for children to ask parents for guidance in choosing a college major?

HELPFUL TIP: Some college students often are still undecided on what career path to take even during their first year in college, so it can be a good idea to take a variety of classes to test your interests.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. Where does the conversation most likely take place?

A. in a college dormitory

B. in a unversity classroom

C. at the school’s library
2. What year is the woman in college?

A. second year

B. third year

C. fourth year

3. Which statement is NOT true about her paying for college?

A. She is currently repaying student loans.

B. She has worked to earn college tuition.

C. She received a scholarship.

4. What is her future job situation?

A. She will work in her father’s business after she graduates.

B. She wants to go on to graduate school the following month.

C. She hopes to have interviews with different companies soon.

5. What surprising information do we find out at the end of the conversation?

A. The woman is dating the man’s business teacher.

B. Paul Jones, a college teacher, is the woman’s father.

C. The man and woman are actually long-lost relatives.

Score =
Correct answers:

Man: I wonder if this is going to be an interesting class.
Woman: Yeah. Me too. So, what’s your major?

Man: Well, I’ve been batting around the idea of going into business, but I haven’t decided yet. And my dad keeps telling me I have to choose a major, but I’m undeclared at the moment.

Woman: Ah, that’s what happened to me my freshman year.

Man: Oh, so what year are you in school?

Woman: I’m a senior, and I only have to take 10 more credits to graduate. Yeah!

Man: Well. That must feel great to be almost finished with school.

Woman: You can say that again, but once I graduate, I have to start repaying a student loan, so I’m not looking forward to that.

Man: But didn’t your parents help you out with your college tuition?

Woman: No. My dad said he wasn’t made of money, so he thought I should earn my own education, so I worked like crazy in the summer and part-time during the school year to cover most of my costs. [Well, that’s parents for you.] And, I received some financial aid and a scholarship one year, which really saved me. [Ah, that’s nice.] But this past year, school has been more demanding, so I haven’t been able to work as much.

Man: Well, you know, at least you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Woman: That’s true.

Man: Well, have you lined up a job yet?

Woman: Not yet, but I’m trying to line up a few interviews at the job fair next month.

Man: Well, at least you have some ideas on your future. I mean, I’m taking a business class right now, and the teacher always lectures us by saying that life is difficult, and we should prepare for our futures by setting realistic goals. And the only place that success comes before . . .

Woman: . . . work is in the dictionary. {Yeah!?] Yeah. I’ve heard that all before. Let me guess. Is your teacher Paul Jones?

Man: Yeah. How do you know? I mean, did you have him too? I mean, the guy is, you know, he’s just really . . .

Woman: He’s my dad. Yeap.

Man: Your dad? I mean, I didn’t mean anything by what I said. I wasn’t bad-mouthing him or anything. I mean he’s a good teacher and all. It’s just that . . .

Woman: . . . he’s a dad. That’s what dads do. Lecture. He has about a thousand sermons on life, and he always shares them in his classes.

Man: Yeah. Well, um . . . , nice talking with you. I have . . . I have to go.

Woman: Same here. Bye. I’ll tell Mr. Jones you said hello, and maybe we can study together at my house? [Nah, nah, nah . . .]

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • so: often used when changing the topic of the conversation
    So, what do you want to do after you graduate?
  • bat around (idiom): consider different choices, including the positive and negative points of each option
    – My daughter batted around a few ideas on where to travel over the holidays until she settled on Hawaii.
  • you can say that again (idiom): used when completely agreeing with someone
    – So, you think the teacher is too difficult? You can say that again.
  • help out (phrasal verb): help someone who is in need, especially when they have problems
    – Because my parents are old, I try to help them out whenever I can.
  • see the light at the end of the tunnel (idiom): something that gives you hope for the future after a period of difficult problems or challenges
    – College life was difficult, but by my last semester, I felt more relaxed because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel: graduation was just around the corner.
  • line up (phrasal verb): arrange
    – I need to line up an appointment with my school advisor by the end of the week.
  • realistic (realistic): actually possible
    – My younger brother isn’t very realistic; he thinks he can get a great-paying job right out of high school without any training.
  • bad-mouth (idiom): criticize
    – He always bad-mouths people behind their backs. If you have anything to say about people, it’s best to say it to their faces.
  • sermon (noun): a talk with moral advice about life
    – The minister gave an interesting sermon at church this past week about serving others in need.