Most students want to find a sense of purpose in their career, but many are not succeeding.
Consider these statistics from a recent study:
- Over 90% of students say that it’s very important to have a purposeful career.
- Only 40% say that they have succeeded in achieving their goals.
Those are sobering numbers to think about. Less than half of students say that they have achieved a meaningful and rewarding career. Students also say that they are not getting the guidance or help that they need from school career centers. Only 16% of graduates found resources that helped them with career planning.
One of the overriding problems is that most programs focused on careers are almost entirely aimed at college-bound students. But not all students have the same educational or career goals.
School districts need to provide equity in career planning by supporting student career paths, whether those include a four-year college, community college, skilled work training, military, or other careers. Many high-paying and rewarding jobs don’t require a four-year degree, yet students who aren’t going the traditional college route often feel disenfranchised even when these are presented as viable options.
However, research shows that once students learn about career options and find something that they find rewarding, they are more engaged with their studies and more likely to find success.
The Challenges of Driving an Equitable Career Planning Program
One of the biggest obstacles to creating an equitable career planning program for many school districts is the lack of a comprehensive plan. Most school districts do not provide a curriculum that focuses on career readiness. In many cases, an equitable career planning program is not seen as a fundamental learning program for schools.
Therefore, it’s often left to the discretion of individual schools or counselors. Even when counselors do focus on educational equity programs, many lack the necessary program support, resource tracking, and/or training. All too often, it leads to a concentrated focus on college-bound students only. Students who don’t take the college route do not get guidance on meaningful course selection to help them achieve their career goals.
Another challenge for school districts is keeping track of student progress so counselors can engage when necessary. Managing the process is especially important because counselors have a limited amount of time. This creates a stressful environment for counselors and makes execution at scale difficult due to the typical student-to-counselor ratio in schools.
Solutions for Driving an Equitable Career Planning Program
To engage all students, school districts must embrace formal programs that expose students to different career options to get students excited and involved regardless of their interests. An equitable program provides an opportunity to learn about various opportunities and what it takes for students to choose a career path.
Educational equity programs should help students see the possibilities and help design curricula to prepare for post-secondary education, training, and careers.
Creating effective educational equity programs requires a comprehensive platform for managing and tracking to make sure students don’t fall through the cracks.
How XAP Helps School Districts Organize
XAP offers proven online solutions to promote academic and career readiness for students.
Choices360 helps reduce the administrative burden on counselors so they can focus on ensuring that all students graduate with a diploma and a strong post-secondary career plan. Choices360 helps guide students’ career and academic choices with ready-to-go curricula that you can customize to meet outcomes and reporting requirements.
You can help students envision who they are and who they can become by creating and tracking college and course plans, career options, experiences, and goals in a real-time portfolio that you can measure to keep students on track.
My Colleges and Applications
Within Choices360, My Colleges and Applications helps college-bound students or those going to technical schools optimize and simplify the college applications process. An integration with Common App ensures that all students’ materials are in one easy-to-access place. AppDocs enables students to request transcripts and letters of recommendation. The Choices360 Professional Center enables counselors to securely send transcripts and other documents (including Common App forms) to colleges and universities to make the process easy and seamless.
Paws in Jobland
School districts can get students engaged starting at the elementary school level by taking students on a tour through the Jobland neighborhood. It helps open students’ eyes to the possibilities and opportunities that careers present and can help them identify personal interests.
Paws in Jobland has more than fifty ready-made lesson plans and activities and a robust interactive platform. Students can learn about different occupations or answer questions to see jobs within the sixteen Career Clusters that match their interests.
Creating Career Pathways and Corresponding Curricula
XAP solutions for educational equity programs have been adopted by school districts throughout the country for their self-assessment activities and guidance in helping students focus on education and career plans.
For example, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) chose XAP for its 160 schools serving more than 66,000 military-connected children. DoDEA students, grades 7 to 12, get postsecondary-planning resources to increase college and career readiness for a diverse student population.
The Virginia Community College System chose XAP as part of its 2021 strategic plan to raise application rates, improve student satisfaction, and increase enrollment for the state’s twenty-three community colleges.
These are just two examples of how XAP creates an end-to-end solution for students and educators to help create educational equity programs. Its products are used by thousands of K-12 institutions, colleges, and universities in the US and Canada.
XAP also provides comprehensive training for school districts to create educational equity programs. Webinars, on-site training, and online resources are available to help launch career and education development plans.
Developing Educational Equity Programs
To serve all your students equitably, you need tools that enable them to explore careers, discover opportunities, and help them plan for the 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!