School to-college transition and informed decision making
Career counseling is a process where a child discovers his/her passion and makes that a career for his/her life. In this process career counselor is a well-trained faculty to handle this process. He/she acts as a catalyst for the child from being well-trained and for other people in the life of the learner. He/she helps the child discover passion and makes his/her take an informed decision for his/her life. Every teacher shall be a counselor and share the opportunity of each subject and relate to his career. She also can speak about the current trends regard to the subjects and get exposure to the subject.
Career counseling is based on competencies rather than competition. The focus of career counseling is to empower children to choose out of their passion for their life as a career and excel. In the demand of 21st Century skills, career counseling develops the skills required for the career rather than choosing a career based on the marks taken in grade xii. The process is reversed by selecting a career and achieving what is required to do that. It can be any profession, starting from Entrepreneurship, doctor, engineering management, technology, etc. Ultimately leaving the child fulfilled in his accomplishment.
Career counseling starts from Grade eight when learners are mature enough and have enough exposure to take informed decisions. As a process, at the end of grade 8, in our school, we do a DMIT test based on fingerprint which interprets the innate skills of the child. Then, we go with the Aptitude test through several platforms available in the market. Then we go with reasoning and psychometric test to conclude their interests, strength, and weakness. After this, we give exposure to an industry where an expert gives a lecture and guide them on a particular field of knowledge. We have university representatives sharing the opportunity for the courses and their relevance. We also take them to different events conducted by the different fields outside school. We also have certain universities giving provisional admissions at grade 9 provided by certain universities. Based on this, one of our students decided his career to be in cyber security. He did an internship and online courses on cybersecurity. He also has done freelance projects during this tenure. His career is to be an entrepreneur.
We as a school are supporting him to become an entrepreneur by exposing him to workshops required for that and the support required for that. We also have every week two classes for the learner to continue discussing this. By Grade 9, the child is clear on what is career path and the kind of college and career path to be chosen. We are also taking support the platforms available in the market. We are associated with the CIALFO platform which helps the learner to apply across 13000 colleges around the world with one application. With the help of this portal, career counselor empowers the child to have a smooth transition out of their choice. We also send our children to summer and other entrepreneurship programs in a few of the colleges like AMITY, and Ashoka University to get exposure to what is available for the learner.
As a career counselor, there are enough resources with the advent of technology. For a career counselor to write a letter of recommendation, a portfolio of a student, or write an essay for a particular course. Speaking to university representatives, and organizing university fairs. Sources for these I would recommend ic3 institute which offers a one-year certificate program on Career counseling and setting up a career counseling lab in school. Apart from this, we have college board, mindless, they, Cialfo, university, etc. for counseling. As career counselors, we also can create a bridge between college and school for students to have a smooth transition among students. This is done by conducting summer programs in the universities.
One of the key stakeholders in deciding the career for children is the parents. Parents, Teachers, and Management shall work for the common goal of the child. For this to happen, we shall have healthy conversations among these stakeholders and create partnerships to accomplish the goal. Frequently having sessions with them will give clarity on what is required for them to do as a parent. We also enlighten them with the opportunities and latest career paths available for children.
Career counselors shall ensure parents do not enforce their wishes on the child and involve emotions in it which will result in unfruitful results for the child. We bring parents to special events for the parent with university representatives as well. In my opinion, parents play a critical role in deciding the child’s future. The challenge will be resisting any new career rather than a traditional career. They want the child to be safe in the transition period. Ultimately, we shall empower parents to acknowledge the anxiety and fear they are going through and support them to accomplish their goals.
In conclusion, what is required is for every school to have a career counselor lab, which engages all stakeholders in creating careers based on competencies rather than competition. Each teacher equipped themselves as a career counselor.
Author – Mohammed Azhar, Principal, Knowledge Academy School, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu