High school may seem way too early to start thinking about a potential career. Your child is probably focused on thinking about the SATs, applying to colleges and keeping their grades high. With four years of high school, and possibly four years or more of college to complete, do students really need to consider choosing or narrowing in on a career path so early?
- Why should students start thinking about a career while still in high school? High school is a great time to start thinking about a possible future career. If your child already has an idea of what they’d like to do – especially if it’s something in the performing arts or another specialized field – you can choose an appropriate, specialized high school for him or her to attend and they can being working toward their career goal early. At the same time, your child could start taking classes or gaining work experience outside of school to prepare for their dream job. This will help bolster their resume and college application, which could ultimately get them accepted into a college that is appropriate for their desired career.
- How do young students begin to decide on a career path? While your child is still in school, have him or her start thinking about what interests them, what they enjoy doing, what they believe they are good at, etc. Help your child discover the areas in which they are interested, talented, or willing to learn more about. Encourage them to try out different elective classes, extracurricular activities, take advantage of volunteering opportunities, etc. Basically, if you’re child doesn’t have an idea of what he or she is good at or enjoys doing, help them explore lots of options.
- Research careers. When your child has decided what their skills, interests and talents are, you can help them begin to research careers. Encourage your child, or make an appointment that you can also attend, with your child’s guidance counselor and talk about possible career paths that suit his or her interest. You can also being to research what college degrees would be best suited to your child’s interests and goals. This also make it easier to choose the right college once the time comes.
- Once a desired career is chosen. Once your child has chosen which career he or she would like to pursue, there are many steps you can take to being working on achieving their goal. As mentioned before, your child can now take electives in high school, participate in after-school activities or outside programs and events that will help educate them and give them early experience in their desired field.
At first, asking your child – who may have just started high school – to start thinking about what they’d like to be doing after college, may seem a bit crazy. However, the benefits of starting early are hard to deny. Just remember to remind your child that while starting early can help, they can always change their mind or change their plans. In fact, you can probably anticipate your child will change their mind somewhere along the line, but it’s still better to have started early than to fall behind later.
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