Career & College Prep

Procrastination or preparation? When planning for the future, preparation should be the answer. High school is a great time to start setting the groundwork for your future endeavors, whether it is planning for a career after graduation or attending a college or university.

Knowing what type of career field you are interested in will help in the planning process. This can be done by taking classes in that field, talking with someone who has that career, participating in internships, or volunteering. A definitive answer isn’t a must. However, high school is a great time to start exploring the different careers that may interest you. It is likely that students will change their minds several times before the right one is found, potentially, even after they enter the workforce.

It used to be the idea that Career Technical Education (CTE) and Advanced Placement (AP) were worlds apart. However, in today’s society, they align together. As stated by Education Week, “Employers want high school graduates who can think mathematically, communicate, create, work in teams, and solve problems in an entrepreneurial environment. Colleges and universities continue to seek high school graduates who are academically prepared and can communicate, create, and think critically. There is no substantial difference between the two. The skills needed to succeed in the military, a trade school, or the workforce are the same skills needed to succeed at an institution of higher learning.”

A combination of both classes will help the student be balance with career related experience and challenging classes. Dr. Kelly Batten, Ed. D., the Executive Director of Secondary Education (9-12) and Career/Technical Education for Chatham County Schools, stated that, “A fulfilling, well-rounded, and satisfying high school experience includes the opportunity for traditional ‘academic’ or ‘college’ course credit, balanced with the opportunity for ‘technical’ or ‘career pathway’ course credit. This balanced approach has become more appealing to college admissions officers, potential employers, and scholarship committees. Prior generations of schooling saw these as separate experiences while the 21st century school experience recognize that ‘career’ and ‘college’ or hand-in-hand.”

To help students and their families in planning their high school coursework, Chatham County Schools’ is centralizing important information within the “Career & College Planning Guide” portion of the school system’s website. Dr. Batten, Ed. D., states, “It is intended to grow and develop annually as a place all grade levels can explore information about course offerings, career pathways, and related planning activities, including internships. The new portion of the website can be reached by navigating to the “Academics’ tab, then selecting ‘High School’.”

Chatham County Schools’ are also encouraging all students and families (K-12) to establish a free account with (College Foundation of North Carolina.) Dr. Batten, Ed. D., explains, “It is our goal headed into the 2019/2020 school year is to connect how our students, School Counselors, and CTE Career Development Coordinators use the CFNC resources to explore career interests and plan for next steps following high school graduation. By harnessing our attention on the free CFNC resource, we can connect students and families across schools more cohesively.”

A combination of CTE, AP, college classes, internships, and volunteering will help any student be well prepared for their future, whether that is attending a trade school, a college or university, or beginning a career. Employers and colleges are seeking students that have a balanced approach to experience and coursework. Everyone’s path is different, there is no right or wrong way. Stay engaged…an engaged student will be a successful student!

Article by: Jaime Detzi

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