Student Resources

College & Career Readiness Resources

This webpage is a resource that allows you to explore options and activities that are designed to improve your overall college and career readiness so you can pursue your college or career options with a purpose and expand your future options!

How to use this Resource Guide

In your College and Career Readiness Student Report, locate the section containing the “Top Two Areas of Growth”.  Then, find the corresponding sections for those areas below. Select the resiliency skill indicator for a list of recommendations for future improvement.

CAREER READINESS

How well you are able to describe your career interests, skills and values, and the career planning and management skills needed to realize your career goals.

  • Career Exploration: Explore different career options at Big Future College Board so you can begin to understand the various career paths available to you.
  • CareerZone: This is an interactive website that you can use to explore career paths based on their interests. It allows you to analyze the opportunity outlook, school requirements, school programs, and colleges that can help you develop a “profile” and a plan for reaching specific career goals.
  • Green 360 Career Catalyst: Register for a free account to find career fields that match your interests, explore various career options, and put together a profile to help build your career awareness and readiness. This site also heavily emphasizes jobs and careers in the “green energy” sector.
  • Visit Career One Stop: Explore different career, training and job options here so you can be most informed about making this important decision for your future.
  • What Career is Right For Me: Take a career interest inventory survey to narrow down things you like and do not like, so you can see a list of potential career options that are best suited for you.

Actively set life goals and seek out opportunities to learn the skills needed to reach those goals. Goal-setting enables you to take advantage of important opportunities that you otherwise would not have chosen.

  • Career Exploration: Explore different career options at Big Future College Board so you can begin to understand the various career paths available to you.
  • Talk to Your Counselor-Tip: Have your school Counselor connect you to some resources to support you in navigating the appropriate career option for you. There are programs like Naviance and Career Pathways that your school may have to help you with your career pursuit.
  • Green 360 Career Catalyst: Register for a free account to find career fields that match your interests, explore various career options, and put together a profile to help build your career awareness and readiness. This site also heavily emphasizes jobs and careers in the “green energy” sector.
  • Make Connections on LinkedIn: Create a free LinkedIn profile to begin building a resume and outlining your skills. Explore pages of professionals who are in the area of your career interest. LinkedIn is a great tool for networking and exploring various career options and paths. It’s never too early to begin exploring and understanding the steps necessary to achieve a certain career.

Identify one or more career goals, have learned something about the nature of these goals, and have a clear idea of the post-secondary pathways needed to achieve these goals.

  • Job Opportunity – TIP: Get a job while you are in high school and try out different jobs so you have opportunities to explore what you like about different career options before you consider a career pathway.
  • Applying for a Job – Resume, cover letters, interviews: Research the crucial skills of putting a resume together, drafting a cover letter, and interviewing. The downloadable packet found here will guide you through those skills, and it also includes examples of resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interview tips.
  • Preparation Tips for Interviewing: Try using a smartphone or tablet app to help prepare you for job interviews. There are many free apps like “Job Interview Q&A”  that will, for example, take you through mock-interviews and present you with typical interview questions and example answers.
  • Interview Skills – How-to Video: Watch a short video outlining 20 tips for a strong interview. This video illustrates some common interview situations and questions, and it gives advice on how to respond or conduct yourself to prepare yourself. There are also links to other videos aimed at jobseekers, including tips for honing your resume-writing skills.
  • Volunteer Your Time – TIP: Volunteer at different places so you have exposure to different career opportunities. Many non-profit companies look for young volunteers to help out in their community. If you are dependable, on time, and are looking to give back to your community, find ways to help out volunteering! Check your local coffee boards, bookstores, and restaurants for advertisements. You can also visit the Volunteers of America website here for some ways to give back.

COLLEGE READINESS

Determine the extent to which you believe completing a certification, two-year or four-year college degree is important for your future career and life success.

  • Advance Placement Courses: Consider taking Advance Placement (“AP”) or college-level courses to help you better prepare you for college!  Visit College Board’s website to explore the different options available.  Taking AP courses in high school and passing AP exams (when certain scores are earned) can help you earn credit before you even begin college!   Learn even more about the AP exams here.
  • Meet with your High School Counselor – TIP: Ensure sure you are enrolled in the right courses that will allow you to get into the college of your choice so you know the college level course entrance requirements.
  • CareerZone: This is an interactive website that you can use to explore career paths based on their interests.  It allows you to analyze the opportunity outlook, school requirements, school programs, and colleges that can help you develop a “profile” and a plan for reaching specific career goals.
  • Interested in Being a Student Athlete: If you are interested in playing a college sport, you need to know which courses and exams are critical for you to complete while you are in High School. Your Counselor should have additional information about the requirements or visit the NCAA website for information and resources.

Determine how confident you feel in performing critical academic tasks such as reading textbooks, preparing for tests, and working with others. Confidence is important because it indicates how much effort you will give to learning how to improve on past exams and assignments.

  • Get Ready for College – Smart Phone Apps: There are a host of apps for your smartphone or tablet that can help you with college-prep.  There are apps to help you research colleges (ex: “Find Colleges” or “College Confidential”), identify and organize application tasks and deadlines (ex: Naviance Student), set up college visits (ex: “Quad2Quad”), prepare for ACT or SAT tests (ex: “EduPath SAT Prep” or “ACT Student”, proofread college essays (ex: “Essay Edge”), etc.  Browse the list here and the education section of your device’s app store to find even more.
  • Paying for College: To figure out how you can pay for college tuition, research your financial aid options on the FAFSA website.
  • SAT Preparation: Prepare to take the SAT test and consider taking advantage of the practice resources available online.  Make sure you are aware of the dates the SAT test is offered and where it is offered so you have plenty of time to prepare to take this test.  This test is only available on certain dates and can be taken only at approved locations. Get important dates and deadlines, here.
  • ACT Preparation: Prepare to take the ACT test.  It is a good idea to take this during your 10th and 11th grade years, given you can take it more than one time and work on improving your score.  Visit the ACT website to find out when the test is offered.
  • Preparing for the ACT: Take your ACT test prep further by downloading ACT Practice Tests, which are actual tests from previous years.  The five printable practice tests on this page include answer keys, so you can measure your performance.  The site also includes some tips on how to make your practice sessions more effective.
  • Preparing College Applications: Many college applications will require you to draft an essay as part of your application. Click through this slideshow to see some of the common essay questions colleges might ask, as well as tips on how to respond to these questions in your essay.

Determine whether you find education meaningful and relevant to your career and life goals. When you find activities and courses to be meaningful and important, you are more likely to put more effort into completing these tasks.

  • Build Up Your High School Resume with Extra-Curriculum Activities: The extracurricular clubs and activities you are involved with—or have the opportunity to join—can play a big role in deciding what you might pursue in college, or after college.  Did you know that these extracurricular activities also might make you more likely to be accepted at many colleges?  Find out more about the ways extracurricular clubs and activities can help you now and in your pursuit of college at the Big Future College Board website.
  • Find a College that Fits: There are thousands of colleges to choose from, so start by researching options based on criteria like:  What you think you want your major to be, big or small campus, campus and housing, sports and activities, tuition costs, entrance requirements, etc…  To help you narrow your initial list of prospective schools, use the Big Future College Search Tool.
  • Customize Your College Smart Phone Apps: There are a host of apps for your smartphone or tablet that can help you with college-prep. There are apps to help you research colleges (ex: “Find Colleges” or “College Confidential”), identify and organize application tasks and deadlines (ex: Naviance Student), set up college visits (ex: “Quad2Quad”), prepare for ACT or SAT tests (ex: “EduPath SAT Prep” or “ACT Student”, proofread college essays (ex: “Essay Edge”), etc.  Browse this list and the education section of your device’s app store to find even more.
  • Visit Different Colleges – TIP: To best understand what college is like, visit as many colleges as possible.  Many offer tours and information sessions throughout the spring and summer allowing you to tour a dorm room, the cafeteria, lecture halls and more.  These typically require advance registration, so go to a college’s website to find out what is offered.
  • Student Athlete Eligibility Requirements: If you are interested in playing a college sport, you need to know the entrance requirements to be accepted to play at various levels. For more information visit the NCAA Eligibility Center .
  • Apply for Scholarships: You might be surprised to find out what scholarships are available for students.  Explore the scholarships you may be a good candidate for by visiting the Federal Student Aid website.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL READINESS

Refers to your perception of how well adults, peers, and educators actively express care and encouragement to you.  Success in college depends in part on the ability to re-establish these quality connections and rely on existing family and other adult supports.

  • Make Time to Build Relationships – TIP: Relationships with your friends, family, and teachers will be critical to your success because you will need to have some people there to support you when things get tough.  Make time to connect with the people who are important to you.  Consider ways to keep them involved in your life and make an effort to call them when times are going well just to catch up.
  • Explore Extra-Curricular Opportunities: Connecting with your peers can majorly impact your ability to be successful in school, college, and beyond.  Many schools offer extracurricular clubs or activities that can allow you the chance to positively interact with your peers while also pursuing and exploring your interests.  Find out what clubs or activities are offered at your school, and consider joining. Try this quick, fun personality quiz to see what types of clubs might be best for you: Take the Quiz.
  • Connect with Your Teachers – TIP: Take advantage of communication opportunities with your teachers.  Do you ask questions during class, or after class to let your teacher know when you need extra help?  Do your teachers offer opportunities to ask class-related questions outside of school hours like Edmodo groups or class message boards, school-specific social media accounts, or an open email policy?  Do any of your teachers run after-school clubs, or tutoring programs?  Seek out these opportunities to communicate with your teachers and demonstrate your engagement and interest in your academics.

How well do you handle difficult academic tasks, balance challenges, and the overall pressure experience.  College can be stressful and the ability to effectively manage stress is critical to being successful. 

  • Stay Active – TIP: Exercise can be a good stress reliever if you engage in activities that help you stay physically fit.  Consider joining a sports team, an after school sports club, or joining a gym, these are all great ways to stay active!  If you are looking for some no or low-cost options, consider making a schedule of free activities to engage in like; walking or running in the park, rollerblading, bike riding, or doing some.
  • Stress Management: If you find that you are dealing with stress on a regular basis, it will help to analyze what is causing your stress, and investigate how to manage your stress.  Use this student guide for managing stress to help you navigate through a range of different stress-management tips and techniques for dealing with common sources of stress.
  • Be Proactive: If you are the type of person who regularly procrastinates or puts things off, you are likely creating more stress for yourself.  To learn more about procrastination, analyze your own sources and methods for procrastination, and work to develop a plan to reduce your procrastination, you might work through some of these module activities that contain information related to procrastination, quizzes, and worksheets to help reduce your procrastination habits.

Are you feeling emotionally and psychologically in balance?  It is important to learn about your personal, emotional, and psychological signs of distress and know when to seek help and support.

  • Talk to Your School Counselor – TIP: If you are often struggling with anger/agitation issues, or issues with feeling down or blue, the best place to start is by looking for someone to talk to, like your school counselor.  This person can likely help you talk through your issues and help you create a plan to address your needs.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: This brief healthy living booklet will provide information, tips, and ideas to help you make smart decisions for healthy-eating and active-living, and it is specifically aimed at young adults.
  • Mental Wellness: Are looking for help for things like dealing with a crisis, depression, substance abuse, or sexual assault?  Get immediate help here and talk to someone at the Crisis Call Center.
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