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New App Matches Students' Interests With Careers

Young people today love being online. They are drawn to images—especially as they relate to their own interests. Plus, they have short attention spans.

Now there is a new, free app to help students discover careers that fit their personalities by reviewing photographs. And it just takes about two minutes. With Compass Lite, launched Feb. 11, users quickly click through a series of 84 images that ask: "Me or not me?" Among the pictures and phrases: Going camping? Hands on? Being competitive? Good with numbers? Public speaking?

With the information from the personality assessment, the app generates several career recommendations. Users can click on the options to learn more about the salary and job prospects. The app also lists top academic programs and businesses that employ graduates in those fields.

Compass Lite was developed by Woofound, a Baltimore-based Web and mobile-product company founded in 2011 by Daniel Sines and Josh Spears, both 24 and friends since middle school. The idea behind the app was to help students find their calling in just a few minutes and get information about the potential demand for jobs in their areas of interest.

"People get so set on a job title or what their family suggests studying in college. We wanted to open up the possibilities," said Sines. "It's a self-awareness and understanding tool." Not knowing what to major in can be a source of stress for students, and Compass Lite is an attempt to help them think about career matches earlier, he said.

Woofound has a more in-depth app called Compass, which is used by high schools and colleges. With this program, student information is used to help recommend career paths, as well as classes and activities linked to the person's personality. Towson University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County are currently piloting the full Compass application, along with Kenwood High School in Baltimore, said Sines. While the Compass Lite version is free, schools will pay an annual licensing fee for access to the full Compass program.

With Compass Lite, users sign on through Facebook accounts (though not with Compass). When they have completed the exercise and get career recommendations, they can share those with their friends online. The app also allows users to see more detailed information on their friends' personalities and suggests teams made up with individuals whose interests would complement their own. Users can also opt to keep their information private.

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