How to Improve Your Student Career Path Planning Program

Encouraging students to make mindful decisions and reflect on how they impact their personal goals and wellbeing is one of the best ways to engage them in their learning. This process requires encouragement and guidance, and school counselors are crucial to the process. Tools that support both school counselors and students to this end are becoming more significant and exceedingly useful in modern learning environments. There is a growing recognition of the many viable paths and options for young people upon high school graduation, along with the importance of having a post-secondary plan or program in place. Exposing students to all their options is crucial to meeting the needs of every learner. Mindful decision-making necessitates exploration.

An inclusive and individualized approach to student career planning during high school

Post-secondary education and training directly correlate with job security and downstream benefits such as better health. It is important for every student to transition from high school to further education. Most people automatically assume that this means a four-year college or university. However, college is not the right choice for everyone.

Limiting the conversation during formative years leaves many students feeling isolated and disengaged from the importance of their education and any real-life implications that it has. By exposing students to all the possibilities (including two- and four-year colleges, continuing adult education, career/vocational and technical training program, job training/certification program, apprenticeships, community service program, and the military), more students are likely to be engaged and find a place for themselves in their learning communities.

Choices360: multifaceted layers of support

While some young people know what they want to do and what they need to do to get there, most students do not. Making these decisions involves a great deal of self-exploration and nuanced coaching. Choices360 is a high-quality technology platform with built-in tools to encourage exploration and intentionality around curricular decision-making, post-secondary education, and career planning.

Students can investigate career paths based on self-assessments, interests, aptitudes, values, and skills. The “career finder” activity tool enables them to triangulate their personal results and revisit them as they evolve and continue to explore all their options. When students make the connection between their possibilities and the relevance of their planning during high school, they become self-motivated. Practical, usable information, including assigned curricula tailored to help students achieve their goals in a vastly complex education marketplace, helps them carve out their unique path, while also lending a layer of much-needed support to school counselors.

School counselors can actively engage with Choices360 through curricular planning and robust tracking tools to measure students’ progress and offer consequential support. Traditionally, many schools ramp up conversations around post-secondary decisions when students enter their junior year of high school. But starting as early as the middle school years gives students ample opportunity to explore all their options and competencies in a thoughtful process as they continue to develop their interests and goals. Choices360 does much more than streamline the college application process—it encourages true exploration and planning so every student can have a plan in place after high school graduation.

Additionally, it provides school counselors with relevant, evidence-based data. Planning on a continuum helps alleviate the anxiety surrounding the “last two years” and provides longitudinal data to school counselors who are charged with guiding young people through critical post-secondary transitions. Choices360 helps eliminate the guesswork around post-secondary decision-making and ensures that fewer students fall through the cracks due to an expansive approach to meeting the aspirations of every learner.

An essential factor of school success and planning is an increased need for organizational skills. Choices360’s easy-to-use technology platform keeps students on track during a dynamic growth period. The easy-to-use academic and career planning tool is customizable to meet students’ individual needs and school district requirements. Students and counselors can monitor progress using the straightforward dashboard.

Choices360 also has the ability to increase the number of interactions between students and their school counselors. Building a knowledge base around each student early on in secondary school demystifies the transition from high school to next steps. It helps build trust between students and their school counselors and ensures stronger outcomes for every graduate.

When schools cast the net wide and promote a culture that respects diversity around post-secondary decision-making that includes multiple options—technical college, the military, college, vocational program, apprenticeship, etc.—they are practicing inclusivity and promoting equity. By presenting these varied options to young people and elevating the conversations around choices, every student can find their place in school and be engaged and empowered.

Choices360 sets high school graduates up for success by offering students the tools to build meaningful career, education, and life plans.

Here at XAP, we believe that exploration lays the foundation for planning. That’s why we help school and district counseling leaders implement equitable programs and strategies to ensure that students graduate high school not only with a diploma but also with a plan.

To see how we can help you better support your students and drive state, district, and school initiatives with greater ease, transparency, and data, feel free to contact our specialists today!

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