Blog Posts, Career and College Readiness

4 Ways to Support Students on Their Career Exploration

Around 80% of college students end up changing their college major (withfrank.org). While some people say college is the time to find yourself and your passions, high school is the time to expose young adults to all of the options available to them. As youth serving professionals we get the chance to make positive impacts on the students we work with and help them find their calling. We’ve curated a list of tools and strategies to help you support your students as they plan to make the transition out of high school. 

Person standing on arrow confused.

Relate the topics to real-life situations.

We have all heard a student say something like “when will I ever use this information”. Only about 46% of high school students believe that the information they learn in school is relevant in their daily lives (The74Million.org). This leads to a decrease in students’ engagement and it also means that students are not making the connections between the lesson and the outside world. Beginning each lesson with an example of the content in use in the ‘real world’ not only helps students understand its importance and increases engagement in learning, it also introduces them to careers they may not have known about. 

For example, if you are beginning a lesson on statistics, explain how careers like finance, marketing, and data scientists (including those working in municipal services, human rights organizations, and public or animal health) all use statistics! There are so many great careers out there, we just have to help them find theirs. 

Help students notice the subjects they are good at.

Some students may not pay much attention to the topics where they excel. Between classwork, extracurriculars, and studying, digging deeper into their personal strengths and weaknesses can easily be overlooked. When a student excels at a specific lesson compared to others, give them a short list of the jobs that may be of interest to them. Using MyNextMove.org, students can search using keywords, browse by industry, and search based on their interests to find career paths associated with it! 

Career expert interviews. 

RoadTripNation.com is a great source that students can use to explore career options. Their tool ‘Your Horizon’ lets students watch interviews with professionals from different career fields and get a behind-the-scenes look at what an average day would be like at that job. They can also learn about the steps it takes to get in that position. There are also interviews with adults that were in their shoes, struggling to find their niche. 

Our friends in Ashtabula County, Ohio and A-Tech are doing a great job of helping students learn more about the local careers in their communities.  They create videos where businesses in the county help students see the purpose for learning by discussing careers all while demonstrating how academics are used on the job! Learn more at Careers in Ashtabula County.

Hands-on experience.

Apprenticeships can offer so many benefits for young people too! According to Apprenticeship.gov, students can gain hands-on experience, explore possible career options and get to work towards graduation credits while earning some extra cash. Although apprenticeships have traditionally been for students 18 and over, that’s no longer the case. By effectively partnering with employers and industry experts, schools can create safe and valuable apprenticeships for students between the ages of 16-18 which can then lead to ‘adult’ apprenticeships and even full-time employment. 

This August 2022 EnvisionEdPlus is hosting LaunchPad Summer Institute – a two-day fully immersive, in-person learning experience that will help high school teams create high-quality career and college ready pathways for their students. 

  • Learn from a dozen schools that are already doing this work.  
  • Meet experts from the Ohio Department of Education, State Support Teams, Ohio’s Educational Service Centers, Young Entrepreneur Institute, Ohio Afterschool Network, and Ohio STEM Learning Network.
  • Discover how schools are partnering to implement “Doable Credentials” and Work-Based Learning within their schools.  

Regardless of whether you are just starting this work, need to enhance your current pathways or are ready to expand or replicate high quality pathways – LaunchPad Summer Institute is for you! 

Your team will completely customize your schedule and sit in on learning sessions most aligned to your local needs. Through our facilitated team meetings your team will work together (with support from industry experts and employers!) to create, expand or replicate high-quality career and college ready pathways for your students 

The LaunchPad 2021 event turned our world upside down in the best way possible!! There has been a total mindset change. Our team left feeling energized with support in place

Raechel Purdon, K-12 Curriculum Director at Blanchester Local Schools

Finding the right career choice is a challenge for everyone. These tools and resources can help give insight and valuable information to assist your students on their exploration!