It’s a scenario counselors know well: A student proudly announces they’re applying to college and plans to study physics.
So far so good. But then comes the kicker. What does the student hope to do with their degree? Cure cancer.
But as many counselors know, a degree in biology or in the health sciences offers a more direct route to cancer research, said Nicole Murphy, director of college access and financial aid strategies with PUC Schools, a California nonprofit charter school organization serving students in Northeast Los Angeles and the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
So this spring, Murphy launched a new initiative aimed at helping teens make connections between their interests and the college search process. Thirty industry experts and college department heads shared their insights with students during PUC’s inaugural College Majors & Careers Event in March.
The event, which served 520 high school juniors, was supported by a $1,000 grant from NACAC’s Imagine Fund.
What role should school counselors play in helping students explore careers?
An article published this month by the National Career Development Association asserts that teens are best served when given opportunities to participate in internships and explore earnings data while still in high school.
The study — funded by Change the Equation and the Amgen Foundation— showed that although students like science, they aren’t crazy about the way the subject is taught. In addition, many lack the out-of-school resources and connections needed to explore STEM careers on their own.
“Teens know what good science education looks like, but they lack engaging learning opportunities, career guidance, and professional mentors,” the report states. “Science advocates in our schools, businesses, and communities can change that.”
Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published on Admitted in December 2015.
For Gail Grand’s students, the college search process is about more than just picking a campus.
Teens complete an aptitude and interest test and explore careers before ever submitting applications. The strategy is a smart one.
Fewer than four in 10 college students graduate in four years, federal data show. And as tuition rates continue to grow, extra years in school can often mean additional debt.
Tapping into resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) helps teens make wise college choices, said Grand, an independent college counselor based in California’s Westlake Village. It also increases students’ likelihood of graduating on time, she noted.
Good grades are no longer enough to secure post-graduation employment for a growing number of young Americans.
And as the job market evolves, the country’s high schools and colleges must adapt to ensure students are prepared to navigate the increasingly complex world of work, according to participants in Tuesday’s #NACACreads discussion.