A common problem college students face is deciding a major course
of study. One of our sons started as an economics major and is
now on track to graduate with a degree in English. Often, the result
of this drift in study focus is a student who either graduates
unprepared for a career he will love or one who is well educated
in a field for which there are few employment opportunities.
The student's potential is greatly increased if he goes beyond
high school with a clearer picture of the kind of career that will
be a good fit for him and for which there are employment opportunities
beyond college. One way to get there from here is a program called Career
Coaching for Students. The program has, until recently, been
presented in a 12-hour seminar format in three four-hour increments.
But now Career Coaching for Students is available in
a home study edition that can be completed in six to eight weeks
or as a full semester course. The cost is $349.00.
Once enrolled, the student gets a binder containing an outline
of the program's major steps and log-in information for his or her
account in the Student Resource Central portion of the Career
Coaching for Students website. The process begins with completion
of two assessments. One measures the student's personal interests,
attitudes, and values; the other measures the student's talents.
The assessments are designed for use in corporate human resource
programs and may contain questions that are awkward or unclear
for a high school student. In this step, parents are advised to
assist the student with explanations of what the questions mean
but not with suggestions for an answer.
As our son worked through the assessments, he found them frustrating
at times. For example, he would have to choose one pair of words
over another pair of words when the real preference was one word
from each pair. However, even with the corporate orientation and
the frustration of "false choices," the results as the facilitator
explained them were very close to the personality and interests
of our homeschooled student.
Before moving on to the actual curriculum, a "debriefing" is offered
to help the student understand the assessment results and, more
importantly, to validate these results. Even the best tests can
yield results that are not meaningful when the facilitator is unfamiliar
with the person who took them. For this reason, even though the
facilitator can provide the information to the parent only, it
is best for the student to be actively involved in the debriefing.
Armed with an understanding of the interests and values that drive
him and the talents that can contribute to a future career, the
student can explore a career focus. This is the part of the process
where Career Coaching for Students is really valuable.
After reviewing the personal talent reports that the assessments
generate, the student creates a "mission statement" that serves
as a platform for identifying career possibilities that match his
values, interests, and talents. A software application is available
in the Student Resource Center to help him develop his "mission
The number of career possibilities is narrowed as the student
learns more about his top career choices. Then he can move on to
researching those careers, building interview skills, and analyzing
educational requirements for the career as well as strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and threats (called "SWOT analysis"). The program
is rounded out with an action plan and suggested actions for high
school juniors. Ample emphasis is given in this course to strategic
planning, networking, and education planning.
The entire course is focused on helping the student gather and
use vital information about himself, his career options, college
choices, and planning for education and employment beyond the high
school years. In addition to the guidebook provided with the assessments,
the student has access to an online reservoir of career exploration
and planning knowledge called Student Resource Central. The sheer
volume of information on the site can be overwhelming. This is
a good place to mention that the facilitator is available to help
home study students learn how to mine this vast resource.
Career Coaching for Students is clearly designed to
be presented in a seminar format; the content of the guidebook
is a great resource for students to continue exploring their career
focus. Adapted to homeschools, this can be an excellent platform
for parents to guide their students beyond the high school years.