By: Lauren Perrodin

With so many career paths to choose from, it can be intimidating to enter college if you’re unsure of what you want to do. However, educators can have a huge impact on the future of their students long after they graduate from high school. Is college necessary for every career? Here are some helpful tips that could assist your students in discovering an exciting career path that aligns with their interests, strengths, and abilities. Additionally, we’ll assess whether pursuing college is essential to achieving their goals.

5 Tips for Helping Students Find a Career Path

Sitting students down to discuss their interests, creative outlets and personal goals can help them uncover their passions, which can open up a conversation about careers. If the conversation doesn't point you and the student in a clear direction, you may want to do some research at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about trending careers.

Assess Which Careers Fit Students’ Skills, Preferences and Personalities

What’s more, if they feel focused on an industry, encourage them to shadow a job or request an informational interview. This can help them find a role model or mentor who can guide them to their future career.

Analyze Students' Interests and Talents

Another way to pull out interests that could connect to careers is finding creative ways to start conversations about their strengths.

  • Which subjects are they doing well in?
  • Do they love working on group projects and delegating responsibilities?
  • Do they have a creative side to problem-solving?
  • Is STEM something they excel in?

Taking general studies could help them uncover the college-level courses that spark their interest and offer a general career path.

Discover Students’ Personal and Social Strengths/Weaknesses

Students could talk to people close to them to discover what aspirations they see in them as it relates to career goals. Sometimes other people know us better than we know ourselves or see things in us that we can't. Your students’ friends and family could help them narrow down their next career move. Or, an aptitude test can help the student dive into their interests through a quiz and learn how they could translate into a career.

Create a Life Map

Creating a Life Map is a valuable exercise to help students improve their self-awareness. This will help guide students to make the best possible choices and develop mindsets for growth — a necessity for success in life and career.

There’s No Such Thing as a Dead End

It’s important to remind students they can always change careers at any time. No one is behind in life, and there is a new beginning around every corner. That’s why continuing education organizations like UCR University Extension exist — to give lifelong learners opportunities to explore new avenues.

Why Students Should Consider Seeking a College Degree

The labor market has continuously rewarded college graduates with higher salaries; workers with a bachelor’s degree in California earn an average annual wage of $81,000 and a higher net worth over time than households with less-educated members.

The jobless rate for college-educated job seekers is less than 2% compared to high-school graduates at 3%; in 2020 these numbers differed even more significantly.

Aside from the economic advantages of acquiring a college education is the personal growth individuals gain during this experience as well. For most young people, college is the first time they’re able to leave their childhood homes and view life on their own terms. During this time, they have the opportunity to explore their own interests, meet new people and make lasting memories.

While college may not be top of mind for every high school student, it could help facilitate a brighter future and a reliable career path.