Life After High School
Let’s face it, deciding your future career while still trying to figure out who you are as a person in junior high and high school can be downright overwhelming — as many secondary counselors can attest to.
When career advisor Lori Blaukat of Minnesota asked her students what they planned on doing after high school, she was often met with blank stares coupled with shoulder shrugs and the ever-popular teenage adage: “I dunno.”
Lori’s experience is, unfortunately, quite common. A survey conducted by allaboutcareers.com states that “over 37,000 undergraduates and 1500 school and college students were asked about their career aspirations and 52% of school students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, ‘I have no idea what I want to do with my career.’”
“I think as a career advisor, a lot of times when you sit down with a student you get that answer . . . and you just want to cry for that student because they are literally even scared to think of something that they could possibly do. There are so many of them that are like that.”
In an effort to help her students navigate life after high school, Lori sent them personality tests and interest surveys hoping the assessments would provide some kind of direction. But instead, she found they offered very limited insight and students were often still left in the dark.
It wasn’t until a nonprofit purchased YouScience for her school that she realized there was a tool that not only provided a detailed summary of interests, but also paired participants with careers that align with their specific aptitudes AND said interests. YouScience completely changed the way Lori’s students viewed their futures:
“Before using YouScience, a common theme was, ‘I only want to go to college for a year or two and that’s it. After that, I’m done.’ It was very common, especially with the boys. But with YouScience, they learn what they’re capable of doing and if they latch onto that goal, they’re willing to do the four years, the six years . . . whatever it takes because they know! It changed the trajectory of what they thought they could do.”
Changing Career Pathways
Not all students are clueless when it comes to their futures. Amanda Nicoles, a student at Lori’s high school, wanted to be an early childhood educator. After taking YouScience, her viewpoint shifted. She was shown that she could be successful at something that would take a lot more schooling. Possibly even a higher education professor. As she explored her options within the YouScience app, her confidence soared, and she began to question how to make that opportunity a reality. She became inquisitive about her options. Her worldview expanded as she realized her mind might be better wired for a different career path.
In a survey conducted by YouthTruth, a whopping 46% of students said they felt their school didn’t help them figure out which careers matched their interests and abilities. What’s the purpose of school if not to prepare students for future careers?
What Are You Good At?
The underlying issue is that many high school students don’t know what they’re good at. They don’t know the intrinsic talent they have within them. A lot of students don’t even know what they’re interested in or what opportunities are available to them. And many educators don’t have the resources to help students discover their unique and specific options. How many people end up in careers because of family tradition or culture (the notion that “my dad is a lawyer so I’m going to be a lawyer”) when, in reality, they may be more suited to other career paths? Many students aren’t even aware of what’s outside their own bubble. On top of that, life after high school and career choices may not even be on the radar for students who are dealing with family problems or traumatic life events. The thought of trying to figure out what to do after high school when just trying to get through daily life can bury someone under even more needless stress.
Through a series of brain games, the YouScience Discovery tool uses performance measures of aptitudes and interests to empower students with knowledge of their unique and specific capabilities. YouScience provides pertinent insights for career counselors to open possibilities for ALL students to help shape their futures. It narrows down choices and education pathways for those on the road to college, while offering an array of options for students not wanting anything to do with college.
Research from the University of Missouri confirms aptitude assessments can help close gender gaps and increase the talent pool in high-demand, rapidly growing fields like healthcare, computer technology, manufacturing, and construction. YouScience Discovery does this by opening students’ eyes (and minds) to careers they’ve never dreamed of before.
Gain Confidence with Discovery
The beautiful thing about YouScience is that it takes the guesswork out of important life choices. Lori states, “I was pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive [YouScience] was and how it didn’t just tell you what you already knew, it takes it that next step further. It’s another level. A whole other level of assessing your aptitudes and marrying it with your interests and giving you a tool that you use to figure out what options are best suited to you.”
Students are the future. Before asking the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and being met with blank stares, we can start by providing the future workforce with the guidance and confidence they need through YouScience Discovery.