High school is a really important time for young people to decide their college and career paths. Many afterschool learning opportunities can help teens identify an area of study, explore a career choice or learn valuable life skills.
College and Career Prep activities are offered year-round, sometimes as part of comprehensive program or as a program focus. Opportunities include life skills workshops, financial education/mentoring, journalism and production experience in a magazine or podcasts.
“Late elementary school and middle school is a great time for career and college exposure and exploration, as young people’s world’s expand and their identities develop,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D., executive director of the Youth Development Resource Center. “By high school, youth should be prepping and making decisions about their life after high school. Extra caring adults who, beyond parents and teachers, can help open doors for youth and give them more options.”
In the summer, youth have opportunities to visit college campuses or connect with learning programs that provide job opportunities. “Finding a program where a teen can earn a stipend or wage and learn to experience a career path is a bonus,” says Elliott. “It’s important to check those out quickly because a lot of programs hire in the spring.”
What to Look for
- Colleges that offer immersion experience on campus
- Afterschool or summer program job opportunities–hurry, many start hiring in the spring
- Programs that offer a stipend and insight into a career path