This year my high school junior’s schedule includes a course titled College and Career Planning. Initially it was supposed to be a one-semester course, but based on the amount of time and effort required, it appears that it will take a full year.
To begin the year, the college-bound student should spend a significant amount of time studying for the Pre-SAT/NMSQT. After taking this test in mid-October, the student should switch to studying for the SAT/ACT. Ideally, the student already knows that colleges require test scores as part of the application process.
In addition to studying for college entrance exams, students also work on developing goals for their life after high school. This involves reading about learning styles, aptitudes, and career interests. The goal is for the student to discover/reinforce a direction for future studies (or, I suppose, some students might reinforce not wanting to attend college), and know what will be needed to attain their goal.
Resources we are using include:
- The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. After reading this book, use a search engine to locate a free learning-styles self-test (take more than one to confirm consistent results). Knowing how they learn best can help students devise good study strategies, and is well worth the time to think about before heading to college.
- StrengthsQuest, from Gallup. If you purchase this book used, be aware that you will need to spend an extra $10 to buy a new access code for the online portion of the program. It’s probably best to just buy the text new for $20. One of my daughters was introduced to this program in first-year seminar (a required course for freshmen) at her college. Another option is to skip the book and go straight to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, which was required in my other daughter’s first-year seminar (different college), and is the exact same thing online without a book. It’s a great idea to tell kids that they’re good at things, since so often it can be easy for them to dwell on their weaknesses.
- What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens, by Carol Christen & Richard N. Bolles
- Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type, by Paul Tieger
- Confirm personality type identified in Do What You Are with the free online 16-Type Jungian Personality Test
- Holland Code (RIASEC) Test – this free test includes a link at the end that suggests careers to match the personality type
- Finding a Career That Fits You, by Larry Burkett & Lee F. Ellis (for high schoolers, we’re only using the first two chapters)
- Why College Matters to God, by Rick Ostrander
- Homeschoolers College Admissions Handbook, by Cafi Cohen
- Homeschooling for College Credit, by Jennifer Cook-DeRosa
- Accelerated Distance Learning, by Brad Voeller (depending on the child – this is more applicable to some majors than others – this might not be realistic for a child whose goal includes playing college sports)
- Already Compromised, by Ken Ham & Greg Hall
- Handbook Guide: Career Guidance WA
- GOE Interest Inventory or Career Exploration Inventory
- College evaluation worksheet
My high school junior is creating a notebook documenting his work. We are beginning the process earlier with my younger son. He will begin his notebook this year (8th grade) and create a High School and Beyond Plan similar to what his friends in public school are making (ours is better, and geared to our family rather than the generic average student).
These pages get inserted into a 3-ring binder. At the back of the binder, I am inserting one binder pocket (with the interest inventory), and two poly-envelopes (one for filing test scores, and one for letters from colleges).
Good luck with your planning!