Picking a career is hard. Even adults may struggle to find a career that is a good fit and will change careers multiple times, searching until they find something that fits their skills, lifestyle, and interests. Helping adolescents, who have limited knowledge of the world of work and vague ideas about their futures, find careers is an even more daunting task. Through the use of student career planning data, districts can capture the interest of students and organize a process to help them create successful post-secondary plans.
Student Career Research and Selection
The process of researching and selecting a career path is both crucial and challenging for students. Starting early in elementary school, students work through a continuum of career education, from career awareness and exposure to exploration. In other words, career research starts broad and narrows over time. A tool such as Choices360 offers a flexible curriculum that can be assigned to students, by grade level or other cohorts, across this continuum. This enables districts and schools to ensure an equitable and consistent career and academic planning experience for all students.
For older students who have narrowed their focus, Choices360 becomes even more beneficial. Not only can these students research hundreds of careers, but they can also gain perspective regarding the career fields in which they can have a bright future. Choices360 also compiles data that can be analyzed and used by districts to guide the opportunities that they provide for students.
Ideally, this career research will turn into a post-secondary plan for each student. Having researched a career, students will know the level of education that they need to reach. They will begin to dig deeper to discover more about their future college options: which schools have their major, whether those schools are in or out of state, and what kinds of costs are involved with that level of education.
Using Student Career Planning Data
The data that comes from Choice360 is organized in a way that makes it actionable at the district and building level. At the most basic level, schools can monitor student engagement. Factors such as how many times students are logging in and assignments completion are crucial markers of students who are making progress in their post-secondary planning.
Using the gathered data, districts can create opportunities that are aligned with the career goals of their students. Options include:
- Providing Work-Based Learning Opportunities: Work-based learning experiences give students a great way to get a feel for what a job is really like. Job shadowing, mini-internships, and even field trips provide students with information about many aspects of the job. Districts need to know which opportunities to provide for students, and the data collected from their career planning process is the perfect resource. The new work-based learning module in Choices360 can support this initiative.
- Offering Courses Aligned to Students’ Career Pathways: In order to create relevance for students, schools need courses that match the goals of their students. Schools that use data to support this can increase the relevance of learning and the motivation of students.
- Communicating with Families: Individual post-secondary plans can help frame parent expectations, which have the bonus of significantly impacting student achievement. By changing parents’ ideas about what their students can accomplish, their expectations for their students can change too.
Keep in mind the implications of post-secondary planning in terms of access and equity. Many students without a plan are those who might need it the most. Monitoring the data of every student is easy with the right tools in hand.
Student career planning data can be used to help students become successful after graduation, no matter which career path they might journey down. Selecting a career can be hard for many adults, but with the right tools and support, current students can make ideal plans for their future.
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!