Many college students are unsure of the career path they want to pursue and often, this leads them to waste time and money on unnecessary college classes while trying to select a major. As the U.S. faces a tough economy and high unemployment rates, choosing the right career at the right time has become more important than ever. To combat this problem, two Indiana high schools have begun offering classes to help students begin career exploration and planning at an earlier age.
Tippecanoe Valley (TVHS) and Warsaw Community (WCHS) high schools have developed classes to teach students about different careers before they actually get to college. Students who explore different career options at an early age can eliminate the possibility of spending extra time in college due to indecisiveness over choosing a major. In addition, the classes allow students to consider different education options like online learning, and they help to distinguish the differences between technical schools, four-year colleges and community colleges.
Sandy Carmichael teaches "Orientation to Life & Careers" at WCHS. Next year, the name of the course will change to "Planning for College & Careers." Carmichael said that the course "gives students a change to learn about themselves, their lifestyle, personality, values, interests, skills and goals." Students learn about different career options based on what they have learned about themselves. They take part in project- based and group activities to learn essential skills for success in college and a career-like critical thinking, leadership and management, and problem solving.
Ben Rogers teaches a career planning class at TVHS. Through classes like this, he said, the school is "trying to make a real, big connection between businesses and school. All of us here feel the community connection is an important part of the kids' education . Students receive instruction on the proper way to walk into an interview, how to dress, and additional tips on how to speak to potential employers and even participate in mock job interviews.