As your homeschooled teen approaches college, he or she will undoubtedly begin the process of thinking about career choices. Your teen may have a good idea of what she is interested in doing, or she could have no clue at all. In addition, what your teen may want to do one day will change several times as he pursues a college degree. You may worry that your child has no plans or direction. As a parent, you will want to gently guide your child in the right direction.
Looking at Careers
One of the hardest things that a parent will do as their teen approaches adulthood, is watching the teen make choices that may not be right for him or her. Your daughter might have a wonderful talent for writing, but have a yearning to pursue a career in medicine. Your son might have wonderful mathematical and science abilities, but is interested in pursuing a career in music. As a parent, you should allow your teen to make decisions on his own, but you can help guide him in the right direction and help your child identify his skills and abilities.
When your teen starts looking at colleges, the career choices are wide open. However, some colleges are better at some career paths than other. If your child knows that he or she wants to do nothing except teach, then it is time for you to take your child to visit colleges that are strong in this field. What you should remember, however, is that your teen could change career paths several times before ever declaring a major and deciding on one particular field. It is a good idea for your teen to explore several options and take many classes before deciding.
Asking for Help
If your teen comes to you and asks for your help, then you can offer your advice and guidance. Take your teen to visit businesses that will allow her to explore the various career options. See if your child can volunteer at a certain company to get a real feel of what happens in a particular career. If, for example, your teen is interested in law as a career, ask a friend or family member in the field to talk to your child about possibilities in the law field. You can also read books and learn more about certain career choices. Another great idea is to take advantage of local career fairs and college fairs. Career fairs are often held at local high schools or colleges and will feature many people from many different jobs. They can take openly about their own career choice to your child. College fairs are also good ideas. They can show your child the type of classes and course of study for certain careers.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your child is a success. You can gently guide your child in the right direction, but you never want to interfere with the choices.
Help Your Child Choose a Career
Choosing a future career path is probably the most important education related decision your child will ever make. Their choice of high school electives and college depend entirely on that often asked question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Determine where your child exels
- Ask your child to complete a strengths and interests questionnaire. There are several types available online, or ask your child's high school adviser. Many community colleges also have strengths and interest questionnaires to assist students in choosing career options.
- Evaluate your child's school transcripts. Look for subjects she is particularly good in, regardless of whether she enjoys the subject.
- Talk to your child about the extra-curricular activities he excels in. Find out what activities are especially easy for him, which ones seem frustrating or overly challenging.
- Talk to your child's teachers, work supervisor, or volunteer supervisor to find out their perception of your child's strengths.
- Talk to your child about how she handles challenges, frustration and difficult people or situations. Make notes on what she sees and her strengths and weaknesses in these areas. Also make notes on your observations of your child in these areas.
Determine where your child's interests lie.
- Examine the "interests' section of your child's strength and interest questionnaire.
- Talk to your child about his school subjects. Find out what he likes and dislikes about each one. Things like "enjoys researching for papers, but hates writing papers" or, "enjoys writing fiction, but hates writing about literature, " can be very useful.
- Find out which extra-curricular activities your child enjoys most, and most importantly, find out why he enjoys those activities.
- Suggest your child complete some volunteer or internship time at various jobs, in different fields. Maybe he can volunteer for a local veterinarian or animal shelter one month, and intern for a lawyer or office manager the next month, and a plumber, or electrician the the next. A variety of volunteer or intern positions will help your child further evaluate what he enjoys and what he is good at.
- Encourage your child to have hobbies. Hobbies allow people to explore new fields of study on an informal basis.
Compare strengths and likes to career fields.
- Give your child several books which describe different jobs in various fields. Ask her to read through and mark any jobs and fields that interest her.
- Help your child read through and identify jobs or fields she would be interested in. Have her identify academic and extra-curricular interests. Make a list of each job and field your child marks.
- Talk to people working the jobs and fields your child expresses an interest in. If you know people working in these fields, ask if your child can accompany them to work for a day or two. In those fields or jobs you don't have friends working, ask your child's high school adviser or the local community college adviser if he/she knows anyone willing to allow your child to sit in for a day or two.
- Encourage your child to take an introductory class on the chosen career field. For example, if your child is interested in psychology, see if your local community college offers an "Introduction To Counseling" class.
- Have your child discuss career options with and adviser at the colleges she is considering..
Help Your Teen to Understand the World of Work
The corporate world is organised into industries, with each industries having various occupations. The more understanding your teen has about the industries and their respective occupations, the better a career choice. In our childhood, when we were asked "what will you do when you grow up?" our answers were Doctor, Nurse, Policeman. Those were our choices because our knowledge of occupations were limited to those few. We might have said of becoming a Financial Analyst, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, but because we no knowledge of such occupations, we never mentioned them.
Develop a Career Plan
Having chosen a particular occupation for pursuance, a career plan is then development to acquire training and education as well as certification to meet career opportunities.
Periodically help Review the Plan
Change is constant. As the teen grows, the interest, passion and personalities changes due to different environmental influences. Periodic review is therefore needed to fine-tune the plan to the need of the teen.
Effective career decision for teens is a responsibility of both parents/guardians and the teen. Parents/guardian must be observant and creative to monitor the behaviour and attributes of the teen as these could form the basics to identify the personality of the teen.
It is therefore important to help the teen know about more occupations, a process commonly called Career Exploration.
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