College To Career – For High School and College Students

Most high school and college students fall into one of three categories with regard to career:

  1. They are all set to dive into a specific career path.
  2. Their career is unknown, but they have a specific subject they really enjoy.
  3. They have no idea of a career or a subject of special interest.

If you fall into the first category, you may want to investigate the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook to learn what level of education is needed for the career you have chosen, what the job forecast is for that career, and what the job typically pays.

If you are in the second category, you may want to find out what career options you might have if you major in that subject in college by checking out a site like this.

If you have no idea of a career or subject of interest, it might be best to determine your personality type using a Myers Briggs personality test and then see how the careers for that personality type appeal to you.

Whichever group you are in, it is good to get first hand career exposure for careers you are considering by doing as many of the following as soon as possible:

  • Talk with someone in that career
  • Shadow someone in that career for a few hours or a few days
  • Volunteer or work part time in that career or a related one to see if and how you like it
  • Do research or a capstone project related to your career
  • Take advantage of service learning related to your career (i.e., a class with a community service component) to gain some real world experience
  • Join a student organization related to your career.
Hands-on activities and projects by engineering students at Olin College

Be sure to take advantage of the career guidance available in high school and college. For example, your college advisor or a professor in your major can help you by:

  • Talking about the career with you and answering questions you may have
  • Providing guidance regarding what classes to take
  • Providing you research opportunities
  • Introducing you to potential employers
  • Providing references and letters of recommendation for graduate school or jobs.

Don’t forget to take advantage of your colleges Career Services offices which provides services like:

  • Career assessments
  • Help with resumes, cover letters, and interviews
  • Listings of internships, co-op opportunities and jobs
  • Career fairs
  • Graduate school application assistance including preparation for exams (e.g., GRE, LSAT, MCAT).

You can help yourself in your career search and growth by:

  • Strengthening you writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills
  • Joining professional organizations for your profession
  • Networking (e.g., with alumni, with local business people, with local chamber of commerce members)
  • Using social media like LinkedIn to aid in your job search.

While you are in college, don’t forget to keep your grades up and make use of these services so you can do your best academically:

  • Study groups
  • Professor’s office hours
  • Tutoring
  • Writing Center
  • Math Center
  • Learning Differences Resources (if appropriate).

Senior Year Blues

If you are a high school senior and not feeling great about your future because of the following all is not lost:

  • You didn’t apply to college, but you recently decided want to go
  • You applied to college, but you didn’t get accepted into any of the schools you applied to
  • You applied to college, but none of the schools you got accepted to are affordable for your family or
  • You applied to college, but you don’t like any of the schools you were accepted to.

Here are three approaches you might take:

  • Attend a local community college or a college with open admissions in the Fall
  • Take a gap year, and apply to colleges in the Fall
  • Check the list of colleges with available space in the Fall on the NACAC website (https://www.nacacnet.org/) typically posted on May 2 or 3. Apply to the colleges that you would like to attend and that you believe will be affordable for your family.

Best of luck!

25 Things to Do After Getting Accepted Early Decision

Congratulations on your early decision acceptance. Here are 25 things to do:

Follow college’s instructions that came with your acceptance.
Stop work on any other college applications.
Withdraw any other applications you have submitted to by emailing the admissions office. Include your name, high school, and a brief note that you were accepted early decision to a binding program and you will be attending that school. 
Follow your high school’s procedure for recording your acceptance.
Thank your high school guidance counselor and those who wrote letters of recommendation for you.
Look for outside scholarships.
Get a meningococcal conjugate vaccine if you will be living in a residence hall. If you received it before their 16th birthday, you will need a booster shot for maximum protection before going to college.
Request that an official final high school transcript be sent to your early decision college. This can’t be sent until the current school year is over.
Send ACT/Sat score officially through the testing agency if it was previously only self-reported. 
Take any pre-tests required before registering for fall classes.
Determine if you can receive credit for college level work you took while in high school and submit any paperwork needed (e.g., send official AP scores or official transcript from dual enrollment courses)
Review course catalog and register for fall classes in accordance with college’s directions.
Complete financial aid verification process, if necessary. 
Accept or decline the loans you have been offered. 
Complete loan counseling online for any loans you are accepting. 
Sign master promissory note for any loans you are accepting. 
Consider finding a summer job.
Submit housing deposit and enrollment deposit.
Sign up for summer orientation.
Confirm freshmen move-in date and make your travel plans. 
Purchase items needed for college living. 
Check student portal and email daily.
If you don’t already have one, open a bank account.
Look into getting a state ID card if you don’t have one and don’t have a driver’s license. 
Consider reading a book like “The Naked Roommate” and/or “How to Survive Your Freshman Year” before college starts.

Four High School Graduation Gift Ideas

Are you wondering what to get a high school graduate as a graduation gift? Here are 4 practical gift ideas for a high school graduate who will be attending a residential college in the fall:

  1. College apparel (e.g., a hoodie) from the college they plan to attend in the Fall
  2. The book “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College” by Harlan Cohen for advice about dealing with the day to day “surprises” they are likely to encounter at college.
  3. A gift certificate for a store like Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase college dorm necessities like XL sheets, a shower tote, and shower shoes.
  4. A photography session to capture important events and people (e.g., high school graduation, graduation party, close relatives and friends). If you are looking for a central Jersey photographer, contact April Ludwig Photography at info@aprilludwig.com.

Student New Year’s Resolution to Volunteer

Is your student’s New Year’s resolution to volunteer more in the community? Start with what they love to do most to find a made-to-order community service opportunity.

For example, if your students like to cook or bake, they could make a dish for a soup kitchen like SHIP on a regular basis. If they like children, they can volunteer to be a teen mentor for a child with special needs, at an organization like JFS. If they like horses, they might volunteer at Mane Stream, which provides therapeutic riding. If they like to run, they could run a 5K raise to raise money for a local charity. If they want to enter a medical profession, they could volunteer at the Rescue Squad or the hospital. Do they get along well with their grandparents? Perhaps they could do chores like raking leaves, taking out the garbage and recycling, shoveling snow, putting away groceries for an elderly neighbor.

Still stuck? If you are in New Jersey, try looking at the Jersey Cares website.