We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


LEARN

Interests + Abilities + Values = Career Options

What do you like?  What grabs your attention?  What motivates you?  

The answers to these questions tell you about your interests.  Discovering those interests is just as important socially as it is in the career selection process.  And for our kids, this discovery is a very important part of their development as it raises a host of questions for them: 

  • How do I go about discovering my interests? 
  • What criteria do I use? 
  • With whom do I compare myself?

But our interests are really just one piece of the puzzle.  There are really three main components to student career planning that can be essential for helping your student identify their options. 

  • Interests – Encourage them to identify those activities they enjoy most (reading, working with their hands, sports, etc.)
  • Abilities - Help them understand what they are good at (problem solving, communicating, caring, creativity)
  • Values – Support their exploration of what is important to them (relationships, adventure, financial success, helping others, etc.)

This is a process where working together is vital.  Students often make snap decisions, and we know the first decision isn’t always the best or the most thoughtful.  Your job is to help them decipher their interests, abilities, and core values so that they can make informed, long-lasting decisions.  

Encourage your student to not compare him/herself to others, but rather have them look introspectively – reflect on their own understanding of themselves. They need to put everyone else’s ideas and hopes (ahem, even yours) aside and focus on him/herself, their skills and interests to see what matters most to them. 

To do this, have them think about school, about their free time, friends, and hobbies to identify their particular interests and strengths. You can help them use a variety of questionnaires or computer assisted guidance systems, too.  And while they might not listen, you can share your thoughts on what you see and how you view him/her.  If discussed while in the right mindset, they may just listen to what you have to say.  You can even share about your interests, abilities, and values – just hearing your thoughts about yourself may help them form ideas about themselves.

Every day, you are developing and learning skills that are relevant to your career. Your student’s future career has so much to do with what they like, are interested in and where their strengths lie.  Take time to help him/her get to know him/herself and their future will start to unfold in the best way.  


DO

Take a Career Interest Inventory...then discuss the results!

Encourage your son or daughter to take an interest inventory survey.  These surveys are a great way for students to start to better understand the possible career paths that they may want to pursue.  The questions are thoughtful and get to the heart of what your teenager likes to do and is good at.

Once they finish the survey, discuss the results with them.  Ask them if the results were different than what they expected.  Make a list of people you may know that have careers in the suggested areas.  (As a parent, you can even take the inventory to see if you have found the career that best aligns to your interests!)

Here are two different interest inventories you can take:
https://careertech.org/student-interest-survey
http://www.careerwise.mnscu.edu/careers/clusterSurvey


TIP #1

Did you know that asking good questions is often a better skill than being able to answer them?  The formulation of a complex and thoughtful questions requires a depth of understanding and knowledge that our teens will need in the future.  They are still naturally curious, encourage them to ask really great questions.

TIP #2

Friends and frenemies. There is a vast difference.  Help your student understand the difference.  True friends share trust and build each other up, while frenemies knock each other down and sap their self-confidence.  Help your student avoid toxic friendships. 


Know a school that could use some college readiness support?

We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning.  Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students.  Learn more by clicking here.