A few weeks ago, I blogged about how hard career exploration can be in public education. I highlighted the high ratios of students to counselors (457:1 across the U.S.) and the limited time available for career planning due to testing and academic priorities. This was all from the perspective of teachers and counselors.
Well, it turns out that students agree. In a recent survey conducted by YouthTruth (a nonprofit that uses surveys to measure student perceptions), high school students indicated dissatisfaction with career planning support at school.
YouthTruth asked 165,000 U.S. high school students about how they felt their schools had prepared them to be successful in college as well as in pursuing careers. Here are highlights of the results:
- Overall, less than half (44.8%) of students feel positively about their college and career readiness.
- Students are more likely to agree that their schools have helped them prepare for college than for careers.
- 45.7% of students agree that their school has helped them determine which careers match their interests and abilities.
- 48.7% of students agree that their school has helped them understand the steps they will need to take in order to have the career they want.
- Only 35.5% took advantage of counseling services about future career possibilities.
With not one statistic over 50%, it would seem that there is room for great improvement in the career planning arena of secondary education. We often see students selecting a college, then a major, and then a career. Perhaps it is time to flip the focus and help students do more career planning and exploration first and then help them to select the best post-secondary path for that career – such as vocational training, certifications, on-the-job training or college degrees.
If your students were to take the YouthTruth college and career readiness survey, how would your school fare?