Why the program was created
The CareerPrepAcademy program was created to fill in the gaps between academic preparation and career preparation. The thought process for most schools involves “teaching to the test”, a brief meeting with an overworked guidance counselor, and the assumption that if one gets good grades in college, the student’s future will be successful.
This “sink or swim” approach has been especially unhelpful as the job market has become increasingly competitive. The fact that college and career preparation is lacking in high school and assistance is insufficient in college is proven by the increasing amount of time it takes for students to earn a degree.
Creation of the program
Knowing what adults need to know for a successful future has been reverse-engineered and simplified for students as young as Eighth-graders.
The program was created because I had revamped a career guidance manual. It began when my research writing skills were needed to help revamp a career guidance manual. The manual was created by an award-winning career adviser for one of the top agencies in the country when he began his own practice. I began to work with his career clients and incorporated lessons I had learned from a recent career search as well as information I learned since career advising from another agency was a service provided in my severance package when I was downsized.
From working with adults (mainly mid-career professionals), I found that many of these clients realized they got off track in high school or college, and wanted to explore a career path they had abandoned prematurely. I was often asked if I had a program for high school or college students, and have had an interest in helping students avoid the difficulties I faced since I had a difficult time graduating from college. I decided to create the program with input from students and educators as I had made several observations on which the program is based:
- The same interpersonal skills and knowledge of oneself that adults need for a career search are the same skills and knowledge that help students complete college on-time (or within a shorter span of time than the new norm). The essential elements of these skills can be developed at a young age.
- Young people are still developing but it’s not necessary to wait until one has completely developed in order to build necessary skills.
- Students change their minds about their future but many of their core interests remain constant.
- A sense of accomplishment can build confidence. Documenting accomplishments can provide the basis for selecting a college and/or major as well as preparation for scholarship applications. This documentation and creating a habit to document academic and professional accomplishments helps with many aspects of the career search.
- So much must be done that it’s difficult to prepare without a “road map” and the timeline to narrow career focus continues to inch forward—necessitating career preparation earlier in a student’s lifetime than in previous generations. The program simplifies the road map and tasks with a timeline and activities that are easy to understand and complete. Just the adult version of my career guidance manual, each step builds on knowledge gained. With minimal effort, a student will be prepared for the future.
An overview of the problems the program solves, along with inputs, activities, solutions, and long-term impacts:
I did consider using a legal service to assist with the filing of non-profit status. However, I am always interested in a new challenge, and I found that the documentation required to file for non-profit status helped me refine the program. Filing for non-profit status is not for the faint of heart, and I learned even more about red tape by adhering to this new procedure.
Manual, curriculum, and materials
I have created a manual which walks students through each step. I have used this information on clients; both students who are preparing for college and college students planning to graduate, and adults who plan to go back to school. Main chapters of the manual:
- What should I do right now? Part 1 Grade Level Overviews
- What should I do right now? Part 2 Timetable
- What am I good at? Personal Inventory
- Study Skills
- Let your Classes do the Work (Developing Skills through Coursework)
- Social Situations (Social Skills)
- Why Should I Talk to My Teacher? (Research Interview)
- Meeting with your Guidance Counselor
- Academic Testing (SAT, ACT, AP, etc.)
- References & Recommendations
- How to Find the Right College (Researching Colleges & Campus Visits)
- FREE Money! (Scholarships and Financial Aid)
- How to Get Accepted to College (College Acceptance)
- Instead of learning the hard way
I have created 1-page handouts for many topics covered in the manual.
Blog posts at CareerPrepAcademy.com, Training materials for support staff, Power Point Presentations, and other supporting documents have been created for the program