Recently, a friend shared a graph with me that portrayed price changes in the U.S. between 1997 and 2017.  While nonessential items such as TVs or Toys have experienced a nearly 70 to 100% drop in price, essential items such as education, childcare, or medical care have seen exorbitant increases in price. College tuition prices, for example, have increased by 170%! Meanwhile, the average wage index has increased by only 75% during the period from 1997 to 2015.

This data caused me to reflect on our June blog post that highlighted results from Gallup and Strada Education Network’s report entitled ‘On Second Thought: U.S. Adults Reflect On Their Education Decisions’.  The report is based on surveys of 350 U.S. adults and it explores the ‘extent to which education consumers in the U.S. are pursuing and completing postsecondary education programs that advance their chosen careers and life goals’. It is disheartening to see the high percentage of adults who would change their past education decisions – 51% would change either the type of degree earned, their major, or the institution they attended! 

The above data really drives home the point that career exploration is necessary for our youth. With the high costs of college tuition, youth cannot afford to make uninformed purchase decisions regarding their post-secondary education. Career exploration teaches students about the factors they should consider when comparing career options and educational pathways. It enables them to benchmark options against their own interests, values, and desired work characteristics. It also provides students with insight into what their working life would be like after completing their post-secondary education. Armed with such information, youth are setting themselves up to make better post-secondary education choices, boosting their chances of long-term job satisfaction, and decreasing the chances of incurring college debt without the payout of a viable job offer.

How are you helping your students and/or children to make informed choices about one of the largest purchase decisions they will make in their lifetime? Make sure career exploration is part of their post-secondary planning process!

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