Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2015 : Page 13

I n the furor to get into college, many teens, parents and schools forget one important factor: a career objective. And while a seventeen-year-old shouldn’t be expected to steadfastly commit to a major or career, we as a society do very little to expose students to professional options. It’s as if they are on a speeding train, barreling down the track toward college with no idea as to where that will lead them after graduation. Top high school students focus on AP classes, SAT prep, extra-cur-ricular activities and leadership roles but ignore the bigger picture. The reality is that most teens have no idea what business professionals do in the real world, how English or history majors secure jobs outside academia and the vast array of opportunities available in engineering fields. High schools rarely provide students with an organized approach to learning about different professions, and without that insight, few students are able to select the right college and major based on a long-term plan. Here are some suggestions to help students explore different professions. Career testing has been around for decades. However, many adult-oriented tests ask a lot of questions based on real world experience that teens just don’t have. So what is out there for their age group? The University of Missouri’s website features a career interest game (career.missouri.edu/career-interest-game) that asks teens age appropriate questions. Students can then click through to the Department of Labor for different professions and read about the majors and degrees that are recom-mended for each. Based on their interests and corresponding majors, teens can then identify target colleges. Another great career testing option for high schoolers is the Career Key (careerkey.org). For about $30, students can do an interest and strength inventory and then match it to possible careers. Guidance offices at your high school may also have free career testing options. Once you complete this step, you can then begin to target intern-ships, research opportunities and summer programs that allow students to explore options in greater depth. EVALUATE STRENGTHS AND INTERESTS Colleges all over the country have an array of summer programs designed to expose students to different majors and careers. Pre-college summer programs allow kids to try different courses or work with professionals from different fields. Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has a health sciences program that introduces students to a variety of professions inside the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Brown University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute allow students to explore different engineering disciplines in a hands-on environment. Georgetown University introduces students to business and government in today’s global economy, and Marist in Poughkeepsie, New York, offers fashion design, law enforcement and movie production. These programs have a fee, but there are scholarships and the cost is minimal compared to four years in college without a direction. Most state universities also have low-cost summer options for in-state students. The University of Rhode Island has a summer offering for every age group. MIT offers highly selective programs in science, as does Princeton University in journalism, and they are free if you make the cut. COLLEGE BASED SUMMER PROGRAMS First session  All Subjects  Tutoring & test prep leader for nearly 20 years  Average student improves 2 letter grades in just 60 days! Free! clubz .com 401.229.2101 Research projects, internships and job shadowing are terrific ways for teens to explore different career fields. You can set up your own customized experience to shadow a local lawyer, public relations person, veterinarian, architect or any professional. Many departments in the federal govern-ment provide summer internships for high school and college students to explore careers at locations around the country. From the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Institutes of Health, there are dozens of federal opportunities to build your resume. Interested in the health care field? Lifespan offers paid summer opportunities for teens in several of its hospitals. For those interested in a z REALITY CHECK continued on page 14 RESEARCH PROJECTS, JOB SHADOWING AND INTERNSHIPS GUIDE RI.COM Now in a convenient travel pack 13 RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I HIGHER LE ARNING I 2015

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