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«A Resource Guide for Parents and Teens Developed and Compiled by the Youth Council of the DuPage Workforce Board A Letter to Parents: Your teen’s ...»

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15. What are some of the problems you have encountered on your job? How have you resolved them?

16. In what way has your present job prepared you for greater responsibilities?

17. How did you decide to become an (attorney, nurse, auto technician, etc.)?

18. Have you had any additional training or education since you completed school?

19. How do you think school contributed to your overall career development?

20. How did you spend your summers while you were in school?

21. What are your hours of work? How much vacation time do you get?

22. Can you describe your work environment?

23. What advice can you give me?

24. Would you be willing to give me referrals to other people in your career field?

42 Select an occupation that you have an interest in and complete this worksheet using career research guides and an informational interview.

Occupation - ______________________________________________

What are the major job responsibilities?




What types of organizations typically hire for this career field?




What are the working conditions? (hours, days/nights, environment) ______________________________________________________________________


What education is needed for this job?



What is the employment outlook for this field?



What is the salary range for this position? (entry level and with experience) ______________________________________________________________________


What are some related career fields?



What is my overall impression of how I would “fit” with this career field?




43 Career Clusters/Pathways/Programs of Study — Partnership for College and Career Success

–  –  –

“Success is a journey, not a destination.” 44 How do I get there?




Personal characteristics that all employeers in all job categories look for in all job candidates.











No matter what career you choose, your future employer will want you to have the above characteristics as well as the

capability of being:

A Life-Long Learner A Logical Thinker A Problem-Solver

–  –  –




If your rating was excellent or good, you are on your way to being a successful!

If your score is average or poor, look at the areas in which you scored the lowest. These are the work habits or interpersonal skills that you need to improve.

Directions: Write your three habits or skills with the lowest scores in the left-hand column below. Then, in the right-hand column, write at least three ways you can improve that habit or skill.

–  –  –

1. ________________________________



2. ________________________________



3. ________________________________



–  –  –


Four in ten college-bound high school graduates attend community college right after high school. Community colleges, which are also referred to as junior colleges and two-year colleges, can be a great option to prepare for a career or a four-year school.

Academics The highest degree offered is an associate degree. Transfer, certificate, career, technical, and continuing education programs are also available.

Money Community colleges enable you to keep the costs down for your first two years of college. Tuition is usually less than $2,000 a year and averages approximately half the cost of attending a public four-year institution; it’s also usually less than 15 percent of the cost of a private four-year school.

Campus Life The majority of students commute to the college campus which leaves fewer students on campus for dances and football games. Nonetheless, clubs and organizations often thrive.


If you’re looking for a small to mid-sized environment, private colleges and universities are the way to go. Although tuition is high, extensive financial aid and scholarships are often available. Diversity will be abundant from the student body to course options to campus activities.

48 Academics Private colleges and universities often specialize in certain programs and majors, adding depth and prestige to your field of study. Class sizes are usually smaller and there is frequently a low faculty-to-student ratio.

Money Independent colleges and universities do not receive subsidies from a state’s taxpayers and therefore, rely on tuition, fees, and endowments for funding.

Because they area privately funded, independent schools often charge much more for tuition than public universities, with typical costs between $25,000 and $30,000. Approximately 80 percent of students however, receive financial aid based on need and merit.

Campus Life Although private schools are often smaller than state colleges and universities, they generally have active campuses. Students live in on-campus dorms and apartments or in off-campus apartments and houses.


Students from around the world attend Illinois public colleges and universities.

With their extensive variety in students and academics, state schools are a great place to be for students with many of classes to choose from and peers to meet.

Academics State schools offer a wide range of majors and degree programs. The variety of academic programs is excellent for a student with unique interests. Large schools can also be good for students who aren’t sure what they want to study and need to explore different fields before they decide. Students who are self-motivated typically thrive at large schools because larger class sizes often leave students with lots of independence.

Money With low tuition, state college and universities are a great value. Annual tuition and fees usually average under $15,000. In-state residents receive an even greater value with reduced tuition.

Campus Life Like private schools, public schools have lively campuses. In fact, due to their typically larger sizes, they frequently offer even more activities. Most students live on campus at least for their first year as dorm life is full of excitement.

–  –  –



The decision-making process is an effective decision-making system. It is systematic and is usually more effective than most other approaches.


Identify the decision to be made. Your awareness may be triggered by a variety of things: the need to declare a college major, pressure from friends and family to make an occupational choice, or a general sense of dissatisfaction or unease. You then go through an internal process of trying to define clearly the nature of the decision you must make. This first step is a very important one.


Most decisions require collecting relevant information. The real trick in this step is to know what information is needed, the best sources of this information, and how to go about getting it. Some information must be sought from within yourself through a process of self-assessment; other information must be sought externally – from books, people, and a variety of other sources. This step therefore, involves both internal and external “work”.


Identify alternatives. Through the process of collecting information you will probably identify two or more possible paths of action or alternatives. You may also use your imagination and information to construct new alternatives. In this step of the decision-making process, you will list all possible and desirable alternatives.


Weigh evidence. In this step, you draw on your information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of the alternatives to the end.

You must evaluate whether the problem or need identified in Step 1 would be helped or solved through the use of each alternative. In going through this difficult internal process, you begin to favor certain alternatives that appear to have higher potential for solving your problem or reaching your goal. Eventually you are able to place the available alternatives in priority order, based upon your own value system.


Choose among alternatives. Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternative that seems to be best suited to you. You may even choose a combination of alternatives. Your choice in Step 5 may very likely be the same or similar to the alternative you placed at the top of your list at the end of Step 4.

–  –  –



There are five barriers to effective career decision making. Try to identify the ones that may prevent you from making a satisfying decision.

1. Lack of Self-Awareness – The first step of making an effective career decision is to know your preferred interests, values, skills and work environment in order to choose an occupation that allows you to use those preferences. The match of your job satisfiers with your future career is an essential part of your decision.

2. Decision Risk – Any important decision involves some element of risk. Do you have difficulty making any decision? This can result from a fear of change, failure or making the wrong choice. Asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and doing thorough research can help you gain more confidence in your decision-making abilities.

3. Authority Preference – Do you avoid making a decision by expecting someone else in a role of responsibility to make the decision for you, such as a parent, counselor, teacher or friend? Shifting the responsibility to someone else avoids the difficulty of making independent choices that may be difficult, but will not usually be based on your unique values and interests. Talking to others that you respect is very important and helpful, but in the end, you must make the choice about the occupation that will be right for you.

4. Leaving it to Chance – If you feel that you have no control over what happens to you in your life and that situations that happen are primarily out of your control, you may expect to just let fate take its course and “fall into a career” through your first job or college experience. This lack of self-direction can lead to careers that are based on circumstances that don’t match your interests or preferred skills. This barrier relates strongly to your level of self confidence in you own abilities to achieve your goals. Realizing that you have the resources to achieve your goals will overcome this barrier.

5. Alternative Gain – You may avoid making a career decision due to the tradeoffs that are involved in committing to a career choice. This can involve leaving home for the first time, wanting to stay in college indefinitely, or the expense that may be involved in preparing for certain occupations. Identifying what you may be concerned about giving up to make a career choice is a good first step in dealing with this barrier.

Discussing any of the above barriers that relate to you with your guidance counselor can be a good first step in overcoming them. This will help you to be sure that you are making an informed occupational choice based on good information instead of emotional concerns.



Take some time to identify your next career planning steps. Sharing your goals with someone and committing to a deadline can also be helpful.

–  –  –




A. Your Goals and Lifestyle

Personal Goals:

________________________________ ________________________________

________________________________ ________________________________

Desired Lifestyle:



What are the characteristics associated with your career choice that will help you in achieving the lifestyle you described above?

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