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Key Points to Make to Students About Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness

There are a few key points you might consider making to your High School students as they plan for college and are hearing about the President’s student loan forgiveness program.

  • This doesn’t apply to most private student loans (Parent Plus Loans do qualify).
  • This only applies to existing loans. Any loans they would take out for college beginning next year would not fall under this program. Current college students qualify if their loans were issued before July 1.
  • There is no guarantee or expectation that this program will be extended to future loans so don’t take on any debt you cannot afford just because current students are having from $10,000 to $20,000 (with Pell Grants) of student loan debt wiped clean.

In many cases loans are a necessary evil that allow students to pursue their college dreams, but make sure your students understand they will have to pay them back and the ramifications of what that means for their futures. This program is probably a 1x thing and they can’t expect they will be beneficiaries of this happening again in the future.

A Look at Online Certificates & Bootcamps: Are They Valuable to Students?

There are more options than ever for getting an education and preparing for a career. Online programs and “bootcamps” advertise themselves as a convenient and affordable way to get the qualifications you need for an in-demand job.

With the shortage of qualified workers in certain industries, especially tech, these programs are filling a need for employers and students alike. But are online certificates and bootcamps really worth it for students? Will they make it easy to get a job once you complete your certification?

Here’s what you need to know.

How Do Online Certificates and Bootcamps Work?

Non-degree online educational programs are intended to provide real-world, technical skills for career prep. Online certificates are often geared at working professionals who want to increase their skills and earning potential. Bootcamps are usually for people who want to learn skills like coding quickly.

Unlike degree programs from a university, most online certificates and bootcamps are short-term programs. Most of them can be completed in under six months and bootcamps in particular are typically intensive programs that teach people entire new skillsets in a short period of time (typically about 3 months).

These days, the needs of the job market change quickly. Certificates and bootcamps are great for people who want marketable skills that are up-to-date and reflect the needs of employers.

How Much Do Online Programs Cost?

One of the most attractive aspects of short-term online programs is their reduced cost. A four-year degree in 2022 is extremely expensive, in addition to being time-consuming. Bootcamps aren’t necessarily “cheap,” averaging $13,728. However, if they can help you land a job in a lucrative industry, they can be worth the cost.

Online certificates range from free to several thousand dollars. The quality and content of these programs vary quite a bit, so it’s important to make sure you will get what you need from the certification course when deciding whether it’s worth the cost.

Depending on the program, there might be options for financing or deferring your tuition. It’s important to be careful when taking on debt to attend an online program — you need to make sure it will be a smart investment before you proceed.

Do You Need Any Background Skills?

Depending on the bootcamp or certification course, you might need to have certain prerequisite skills before you can enroll. Coding programs often require a strong background in math, for example. Digital marketing certifications might require you to know the basic concepts of digital marketing before you get started, while others are aimed at complete beginners.

Each course is different, though most bootcamps and certifications are intended for people who are new to the subject they’re teaching. Some advanced programs will have their own requirements, however, so it’s important to find out the details of each course you’re considering before you decide on a program.

Can Anyone Get Into Bootcamps and Certificate Programs?

Because each program operates independently and caters to different types of students, there’s a lot of variation in the application process. Some programs have no requirements, while others require prospective students to apply and meet certain requirements.

Keep in mind that some programs with no application process or requirements might not be invested in student success, so be careful.

Will You Get a Job After You Finish Your Program? 

There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job after you finish attending a bootcamp or online certification program. No one can make that promise. However, some programs offer employment assistance, in addition to providing you with marketable skills.

If you choose a high-quality program and work hard, you should gain the skills you need to be competitive in today’s job market. Knowing what you want to accomplish in your career is important so you can choose the right program.

It’s also important to take your online course as seriously as you’d take an in-person class. Online education is booming, but student success always depends on the dedication of the learner. The same is true for finding a job after you complete your certification.

Remember: Quality Varies

At the end of the day, bootcamps and certification courses can be valuable to students if they take the time to research and find a quality program that aligns with their goals. There is no oversight on many of these programs, and there are a lot of people out there looking to make money on people who want to learn new skills.

Make sure you look into a program’s reputation and read reviews from past students. Choose the program that’s right for you instead of just deciding on the cheapest option. You’re investing your money and time, so choose wisely!

How to help your students research colleges

Deciding to attend college is one of the biggest decisions one will make in one’s lifetime. Some may wish to obtain certifications in other fields as a career path versus attending junior college, four-year colleges or universities, but the final decision will affect one’s life forever. Hence, it is a decision that is not to be taken lightly; it should be researched earnestly and thoroughly.

As a starting point, your students should think of what interests them, what makes their heart sing, so to speak, and what would be fun to do as a lifetime job. Yes, work should be fun, at least to a point, and something that makes one happy.

Then, spend time with the student talking about needs versus wants. There are many to consider.

·        Location: Does your student want to be close by or away from home?

·        Size: Would they be more comfortable in a small or large school?

·        Academics: To work in their chosen field, does your student need a master’s degree or Ph.D., or will a bachelor’s degree be their ticket to enter?

·        Cost: What is their budget and tolerance for student loans? What scholarships might be available?

·        Social scene: What kind of social environment are the student (and parents) comfortable with? Are they interested in joining a fraternity or sorority?

·        Housing: Do freshmen have to live on campus? Or maybe the teen wants to still live at home (no shame in that!) Consider the cost of each.

·        Dining: Would it be easier to eat meals on campus as part of the housing package or do they want to cook their own meals?

·        Extracurriculars: Are there clubs and organizations that will be interesting  or that will connect him or her to their future career?

·        Athletics: Could a high school athlete potentially play intercollegiate or club sports?

What are the steps to finding the best college? Here are some of the best recommendations you can offer to your school population:

1)      Start early: Freshman year is not too early for a student to start thinking about their college list

2)      Advise families to spend time with their child thinking about needs versus wants. Do any of the school choices offer the student’s preferred major, for example? What are they looking for in terms of proximity, size and setting (i.e. rural, suburban, urban)?

3)      Use that wonderful invention called the internet to kick off research. The Common Data Set Initiative (CDS) is a great place to begin searching. Almost every college publishes its Common Data Set on its website. You’ll find information about admission rates, graduation rate and persistence, student life and financial aid. To locate the CDS for a specific college, type the following into a search engine: “common data set college name school year.”

4)      Seek advice from others – from other parents of other college bound children and students from their peers who are already in college.

5)      Visit, visit, visit. Plan a summer road trip around the colleges your child is interested in. When you’ve narrowed down the list, plan visits while classes are in session. It’s the ideal way for your child to figure out if they mesh well with the culture, people and environment.

6)      Demonstrate interest: Show colleges you’re interested in them by going to college fairs, talking to admissions representatives, signing up to receive information online and by mail and interacting with them on social media.

Now that school counselors have some tips, I know you will help your students make amazing choices for the perfect college and college experience.

Joanne Leone is an advisor for www.MyCollegePlanningTeam.com  She speaks at their free workshops and writes for MCPT’s website. She earned a degree in communications and creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, California.

The College Tour: New Show that Shows Tour of a Specific College Each Episode

The College Tour is a new TV series brought to you by Emmy-nominated and multi-award-winning producers.  The series tells the story of colleges and universities around the world.​

Each episode of The College Tour will focus on a single college or university.  Here is a list and links to Colleges that have been featured so far: https://www.thecollegetour.com/tour-colleges/

From campus life, academics, housing, sports, activities, and much more… each student driven segment will give young people an inside look at what it’s truly like being a student at the featured college or university.

Click here to watch the show and episodes on Amazon Prime.

Burnout: How to help your student & yourself achieve balance in work, school and life

In these days of overstimulation from social media, the ongoing pandemic, news broadcasts, working too many hours, taking college prep courses and trying to have an enjoyable home life, student burnout is more prevalent. But what exactly is it, how can we help our students avoid it or at least have tools to lessen its hold on our lives?

There are three main types of burnout: school, work and social. Who knew? One gets tired and stressed just reading these terms.

However, generally speaking, according to a recent article from the Cleveland Clinic, “if you are feeling exhausted and sluggish, and even simple tasks feel overwhelming to complete—or you find yourself so stressed out that you’re quick to get angry or frustrated—you might be experiencing burnout.”

Students may be surprised to learn that burnout in college is a major problem. A 2021 Boston University study found that more than half of the 33,000 surveyed college students experienced anxiety or depression. And 83 percent of respondents said their mental health hurt their academic performance.

Signs to watch for in your high school student, according to Southern New Hampshire University, could include:

·        Constant exhaustion

·        Lack of motivation

·        Frequent frustration

·        Suffering grades

·        Difficulty paying attention

·        Disengagement from friends and family

Counselor burnout

School counselors certainly can experience burnout as well.  Work or occupational burnout can result from a variety of factors, including lack of control, an inability to influence decisions that affect your job or unclear job expectations. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs could include:

·        Feeling tired or exhausted

·        No enthusiasm, and feelings of negativity toward your job

·        Inability to perform your job

Social burnout

If you or your student are getting irritable with family and friends for no reason and suddenly the mood shifts, you might be dealing with social burnout. Tiffany Harris with Transcend Counseling Services said she’s seen the burnout first-hand. Some signs could be:

·        Shutting down certain parts of the brain in an attempt to focus on just a few things at a time

·        Channelizing or having tunnel vision

How to handle it all

Since we are all different human beings, there is no perfect solution, but Dr. Adam  Borland of the Cleveland Clinic suggests the following to get us and our students back in balance:

·        First, recognize burnout is present

·        Consider seeing a therapist (someone impartial and trained to give clinical feedback)

·        Take a break, if only for an hour, to check-in to see how we are doing mentally and physically

·        Take a few minutes every day to do some type of exercise

·        Practice mindfulness (taking a few deep breaths helps focus on the moment)

·        Establish a daily routine

·        Start to build and enforce work-life boundaries

·        Explore a hobby or volunteering outside of work

Extra tips for school burnout

You may be able to help your student through high school and prepare for college burnout by encouraging them to:

·        Learn to say no; they may feel intense pressure to hustle and get ahead

·        Focus on time management

·        Prioritize sleep and exercise

·        Set reasonable goals

·        Make time for fun

·        Ask for help

Now that you know the facts and healing suggestions, perhaps you and your student can find more balance in your lives. That’s a good thing!

Joanne Leone speaks at My College Planning Team workshops and writes for MCPT’s website. She is a professional speaker, writer, organizer and certified life coach. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, California.

[SAMPLE] Counseling Annual Timeline

Here is a very nice Counseling timeline by month that a Counselor (Kay Lee) shared with members of the High School Counselor group on FB. She agreed to share it here and hopefully this is beneficial in helping you as you begin the 2022/2023 school year.

August

  • Review and complete schedules: fill holes, manage student requests, ensure proper placement for alternative programming, credit recovery, dual enrollment;, cross-reference summer school list and failure lists, and CTE Internships, balance class sizes
  • Mail schedules and information to student homes/Notify of PowerSchool access
  • Audit senior transcripts
  • New student enrollment and scheduling
  • Organize college admission representative visits
  • Conduct process for students/parents to request corrections that meet the criteria; make any needed schedule corrections prior to school starting
  • Intake CDM (Credit by Demonstrated Mastery)n requests, supply paperwork, inform students of the process, and where to submit paperwork
  • Update graduation checklists for each student from Spring and Summer of previous school year
  • Cross reference and follow up to ensure each student with Senior Release has submitted a signed release form
  • Cross reference and follow up to ensure each student with a dual enrollment course has submitted dual enrollment contract
  • Organize and clean Counseling Center lobby and offices
  • Update resources, forms, materials, website, social media
  • Update Counseling Timeline for the year
  • Analyze needs assessment data and feedback; discuss group goals for the year (PDP)
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

September

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Tie up any loose ends with schedule changes within the first 10 days of school
  • Review senior transcript audits within the first 10 days
  • Establish Mental Health referral protocol and referrals for outside services
  • Develop/disseminate observation collection data for 504 request
  • Schedule 504 transition meetings for new 9th graders
  • Disseminate 504 plans and obtain staff acknowledgement within the first week
  • Contact parents on no-show list and tie up any withdrawals within the first 20 days
  • Host Senior Night with info sessions for students and parents; CFNC Financial Aid information
  • Update School Profile within the first month
  • Start classroom visits (homerooms, senior English classes, classroom observations)
  • Individual meetings with all graduating seniors to discuss post-secondary plans, college applications, scholarship applications, financial aid
  • Individual meetings with all 9th graders to review grades, attendance, important tips and resources
  • Enter historical grades for all newly enrolled students starting with seniors
  • Enter testing data for all newly enrolled students
  • Provide Principal Transfer of Credits Request Form for transfer students
  • Identify potential mid year graduates; meet with midyear grads and provide application; provide completed applications to Principal for approval
  • Identify Minimum Credit Diploma graduates; meet with MCD students and provide request form; provided completed request form to Principal for approval
  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Letters of recommendation for Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Notify students of “Big Scholarships”
  • Notify seniors of application process for Big Scholarships; coordinate and oversee application process
  • Scholarship committee meets to nominate students for Big Scholarships; students notified of decisions; Counselors complete needed forms and school reports; assist students in completing applications
  • Organize and oversee college admission representative visits
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year

October

  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Letters of recommendation for Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Continue individual meetings with all graduating seniors to discuss post-secondary plans, college applications, scholarship applications, financial aid; complete Senior Meeting Information Form
  • Individual meetings with all juniors to discuss academic planning, plans for after high school, etc.
  • Coordinate cap and gown orders for seniors
  • Continue individual meetings with all 9th graders to review grades, attendance, important tips and resources
  • Support parent-teacher conferences
  • College Application Week sessions, student meetings, and support for application process
  • Organize and oversee dual enrollment advising
  • Identify alternative program student referrals and communicate with Dean of Alternative Programming about those referrals
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • PSAT Merit referrals and submission of recommendation letters
  • Governor’s School referrals
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

November

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for November Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Letters of recommendation for November Early Action and Early Decision deadlines
  • Obtain Quarter 1 failure list; organize and implement interventions: student meetings, parent conferences, goal-setting, action plans
  • Individual meetings with freshmen, sophomores to discuss four-year plan, plans for after high school, etc.
  • 9th grade English classroom visits (4-year plan)
  • Assist seniors attending community college the following fall in scheduling advising appointments, application support sessions, scholarship support sessions with community college advisers
  • Processing and coordinating alternative program referrals for following spring semester
  • Continue providing academic support, collecting data for needs assessments
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

December

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports.
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for January deadlines
  • Letters of recommendation for January deadlines
  • Assist seniors attending community college the following fall in scheduling advising appointments, application support sessions, scholarship support sessions with community college advisers
  • 9th Grade end of semester support
  • Processing and coordinating alternative program referrals
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

January

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for January deadlines
  • Ensure 2nd semester senior release forms for each student that has release 2nd semester
  • Ensure dual enrollment contract has been signed and submitted for any student registered for Spring semester
  • Obtain 1st semester failure list and adjust student schedules
  • Letters of recommendation for January deadlines
  • Complete Review of Accommodations forms for all 504 students
  • Final exam test administration
  • EOC administration and proctoring
  • 9th Grade English classroom lessons for 2nd semester classes
  • Manage credit recovery needs, conference with students and parents, enroll students in credit recovery
  • Notify Data Manager of any midyear promotions
  • Academics Page and Graduation Analysis for midyear graduates – notify Data Manager of midyear graduates
  • Tie up any loose ends with scheduling issues for second semester within first 10 days
  • Disseminate 504 plans and obtain staff signatures within first week
  • Ensure proper placement of dual enrollment and CTE Internship classes for 2nd semester
  • Audit senior transcripts within the first 10 days of the semester
  • Ongoing updating and monitoring of senior graduation requirements each week through the semester
  • Audit junior transcripts
  • Meet with all students who received attendance failures for first semester about attendance makeup contracts
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

February

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Ongoing updating and monitoring of senior graduation requirements each week through the semester
  • Ongoing documentation of contacts to failing/ struggling seniors
  • Common App School Reports, Counselor Reports, college applications for February deadlines
  • Letters of recommendation for February deadlines
  • Update registration forms and enrollment packets
  • Rising 9th Grade Parent Night – TBA
  • Classroom lessons for rising 9th graders at middle schools
  • Individual student meetings with rising 9th graders at middle schools (February – March TBD)
  • Film video/plan presentation for course registration registration
  • Homeroom lessons for registration information presented to current high school students
  • Assist seniors enrolling at community college after graduation in completing scholarship application; host scholarship application support sessions with reps from the college
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

March

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Ongoing documentation of contacts to failing/ struggling seniors
  • Individual student meetings with rising 9th graders at middle schools (February – March TBD)
  • Deadline mid-March for private/charter school students to enroll; input their course requests and answer high volume of parent emails/phone calls with questions
  • Individual student meetings for course registration and four-year planning (March-April). At student meetings, review course registration card, review historical grades, credits, and transcript audits, and:
    • Rising 12th grade: discuss post-secondary plans, review 12th grade timeline
    • Rising 11th grade: Review four year plan, complete graduation requirements checklist and transcript audit, review 11th grade timeline
    • Rising 10th grade: Review four year plan, complete graduation requirements checklist and transcript audit, review 10th grade timeline
  • Obtain Quarter 3 failure list; organize and implement interventions: student meetings, parent conferences, goal-setting, action plans
  • Assist seniors attending community college the following fall in scheduling advising appointments, application support sessions, scholarship support sessions with community college advisers, complete scholarship applications
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

April

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Ongoing documentation of contacts to failing/ struggling seniors
  • Continue individual registration meetings for course registration and four-year planning (March-April)
  • Complete input of all course requests for returning high school students, incoming 9th grade students, and all new enrollees by April deadline (TBD)
  • Dual enrollment advising, registration, distribution of contracts, receiving and maintaining contracts
  • Meetings with at-risk seniors, regular contact with their teachers and parents, provide appropriate interventions and referrals as needed
  • Processing and coordinating alternative program referrals for following fall semester
  • Analyze failure lists from previous semesters, distribute summer school contracts, advise students on summer school and credit recovery options, document delivery of contracts, receive and maintain returned contracts
  • Plan cap and gown distribution; review diploma orders
  • Review of Accommodations forms for EOCs and CTE post-assessments for all 504 students
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

May

  • Continue with new student enrollment and scheduling
  • Progress monitor all students in Credit Recovery through Edgenuity
  • Weekly monitoring of failure reports
  • Weekly meetings with Principal/AP on failing seniors and ongoing communication with senior students and families to foster academic success throughout the school year
  • Ongoing documentation of contacts to failing/ struggling seniors
  • Senior Survey distributed by May 5
  • Review senior transcript audits, credit checks
  • Meetings with at-risk seniors, regular contact with their teachers and parents, provide appropriate interventions and referrals as needed
  • Graduation Committee planning and activities
  • Processing and coordinating alternative program referrals
  • Continue to support at-risk seniors progressing toward graduation: regular meetings, check-ins with teachers, updates to parents, provide appropriate interventions and referrals as needed
  • Complete Review of Accommodations forms for all 504 students
  • Final exam test administration
  • Notify Data Manager of any retentions
  • Academics Page and Graduation Analysis for graduates – notify Data Manager of any changes
  • Manage credit recovery needs, conference with students and parents, enroll students in Summer School or credit recovery
  • Begin to update forms, procedures, and timeline for the following year
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

June

  • Graduation Ceremony
  • Review 2nd semester failure list and adjust student course requests/schedules as needed
  • Review summer school list
  • Complete final school reports for college applications
  • Analyze Senior Survey data and provide to stakeholders
  • Individual student meetings to support mental health and academic success

July

  • Input of course requests for new enrollees over the summer
  • Key in schedules following rollover
  • Work on updating forms, procedures, and timeline for the following year
  • Edit and correct student schedules, managing scheduling conflicts, filling holes, ensuring proper placement, etc.

Yearlong + ongoing

  • Individual student meetings for preventative and responsive services
  • NCAA Eligibility Center management
  • High volume of daily emails and phone calls from parents, students, and faculty
  • 504 annual review and initial eligibility meeting and process
  • Parent, student, school, and community social engagement (regular contact through social media, website, parent emails)
  • Grade level monthly newsletters
  • Parent and team meetings for preventative and responsive services
  • Department PLCs
  • Team EC meetings
  • SST/Heads Up meetings
  • New student enrollment and maintaining historical grades, academic data
  • Mental health referrals
  • Homebound applications and support
  • Career counseling and referrals
  • Crisis response, support, and assessments (including Gaggle and SSARS)
  • Classroom lessons
  • Counseling Department weekly meetings, secondary level PLCs,  district-wide PLCs
  • School Counselor trainings and professional development (CFNC, CollegeBoard, Break by the Lake, NCSCA, ASCA, CollegeBoard, NBPTS, MAHEC, United Way, etc.)
  • Student Services school and district meetings
  • Faculty meetings

Committee meetings (PBIS, SIT, MTSS, SHAC,, Department Chair, Graduation, etc.)

How student loan counseling can help your students

Student loan entrance counseling aids students as they go forward toward financing their college education for the first time. Some loans like Federal Student Loans require student loan counseling, whereas private loans do not.

These sessions help students learn the basics about borrowing money. Some schools require in-person counseling with a student loan counselor, but most have you complete the counseling online. The online process takes from 20 to 30 minutes and must be completed in one session.

Student loan counseling is also required as a student leaves school. PLUS credit counseling helps students and parents make better choices about borrowing money.

Why is it important for your student to complete this counseling anyway?

·        Your student will discover what a direct loan is and loan limits

·        They will discover the terms and conditions of their loan

·        They will learn what the interest rate is on their chosen loan

·        They will see options for repayment of their loan (this will help them to not default on their loan)

·        The finished counseling report will be sent to their chosen schools so their loan funds can be disbursed.

It is important to not rush through the counseling process or skip portions of the report. This could lead to making wrong choices. Student loan counseling done with care and consideration can ensure a brighter future.

Joanne Leone speaks at My College Planning Team workshops and writes for MCPT’s website. She is a professional speaker, writer, organizer and certified life coach. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, California

Forward Thinking Digital Careers for High School Students to Consider

For high school students, starting to think seriously about careers can be a little intimidating. However, by being exposed to interesting, novel, and forward-thinking careers, this process can become more accessible and enjoyable. In particular, digital careers can be enticing options for students who have grown up in a largely digital age.

Having an understanding of some of the viable digital career options for high school students can help you as a counselor make more meaningful and effective career guidance suggestions to students. Here are some of the most appealing and forward-thinking digital careers for high school students to consider.

Digital Forensics Analyst

Many may people, especially high school students, may be unaware that there is a position for professionals who help analyze digital evidence in crimes. Many times, digital forensics analysts investigate cybercrimes, and can have a significant impact on society. In large part, the phases of digital forensics involve the collecting, analyzing, and safekeeping of digital evidence such as computers and hard drives.

For students who you find have a knack for digital processes and an interest in investigation, this could be the perfect forward-thinking digital career to suggest as a career option. It is both exciting and involves in-depth digital knowledge. As such, this career has the power to pique the interest of many students and help them find a secure career path to pursue.

Digital Journalist

Over the last few decades, journalism has had to evolve with the public’s growing preference for ingesting information digitally. As such, journalists in all fields — ranging from sports journalism to investigative journalism — have had to change to accommodate the practice of crafting work to be featured in digital spaces and adapt to the rise of digital journalism. For students who you find have a knack for writing or journalism, digital journalism may be the perfect field.

Digital journalism is a broad field that can come in many different forms. As such, high school students with an array of interests can all find a fulfilling career in the field of digital journalism. In addition to being broad, the field of digital journalism is also one that can be conducive to working remotely. This is something that many younger people, such as older high school students, are beginning to prioritize in their work lives. As such, digital journalism can be an enticing digital career for high school students with a knack for writing to pursue.

Social Media Specialist

As a high school counselor, you’re no stranger to the fervor with which today’s younger generations engage with social media. This being the case, the role of social media specialist can not only be an enticing career choice for many students but actually one that many students are already well-suited for. These professionals are those who manage social media pages for companies in order to communicate with customers and reinforce brand identities.

While there are differences between using social media as a recreational pastime and using it as a tool for promotion and marketing purposes, the fact that many high school students possess a working knowledge of social media processes is a great start. For students who have amassed a larger than average following on various social media platforms, the role of social media specialist could be the perfect career path to suggest.

Video Game Designer

The vast majority of high school students are no strangers to video games. While pretty much all of them have come into contact with video games at some point, some of them may consider themselves video game enthusiasts. For these students who are passionate about video games, the role of video game designer may be the perfect career to pursue.

Video game designers are the people who craft videogames for the public to play. If you find that certain students seem to be enamored by video games, this may be the perfect career choice to suggest to pique their interest and get them excited about working. If the thrill of being immersed in the world of video games isn’t enough to excite them, it might be a good idea to let them know that this is a lucrative career that may allow them to purchase many of the things that they’ve always dreamed of owning.

UX Designer

UX design, short for user experience design, is a growing field that many artistically and digitally inclined high school students may be perfect for. UX designers are tasked with the job of crafting enjoyable digital experiences for customers and audiences who interact with a brand’s digital spaces. If you find that some students display above-average signs of empathy, digital adeptness, and a passion for artistic pursuits, this may be the perfect role to suggest.

If you find that a student seems intrigued or excited by the idea of pursuing a career as a UX designer, it may be a good idea to encourage them to explore the field. There is a multitude of resources for UX designers online, and becoming familiar with the field may motivate the right students to pursue a career as a UX designer more seriously.

Digital Roles are Becoming More Normal

While it can sometimes be easy to criticize younger generations for spending too much time online, the truth is that digital technology is becoming a normalized part of everyday life. As such, more and more viable career options can be found in the digital space. By encouraging high school students to pursue these digital career paths, you may be able to get them more excited about stepping into the next chapter of their lives and pursuing a lifelong career.

Exploring college living options with your students

How to select campus housing may come up in one of your discussions with your students.  It would seem that there are only two choices of where to live during college life, and the final decision should be an easy one, right? Actually, there are several things to consider you’re your students are making this choice. The wrong choice could affect your their credit rating, stress level and their lives. The right choice could make college life much easier and enjoyable.

Staying home and commuting

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the nationwide average for room and board at all institutions is more than $11,000 a year. If one of your student’s college choice is close enough that commuting makes sense, think of the money (and student debt) that will save over four years.

Renting a place off-campus

There are many positive factors for living off-campus if the college allows freshmen to do that. Your student will be establishing a credit record, they will feel more independent and they will be able to choose a location.

However, the parent may need to co-sign the lease. In addition, the student will need to budget not only for rent but for utilities, internet, trash removal and food.  They would want to make sure the neighborhood is safe and that’s its within easy reach of campus by bike or public transport (unless the teen is taking a car to college).

Living on-campus

Sometimes there’s no choice to make. Some four-year institutions require first-year students to live on-campus. Advise them it is wise to check into these requirements prior to accepting an admission offer.

Pros: Your teen is in close proximity to classes, the libraries and activities, which means no commute and (hopefully) more time productively spent studying. (A comparison of Kent State University freshmen who lived on campus and who lived off campus from 2012 to 2016 found that those who lived on campus had higher first semester GPAs and were more likely to return to school the next semester than those who lived off-campus.)

Your student will have more opportunities to create close friendships and more flexibility for connecting to faculty. Meal plans promise a more balanced diet, and dorm life is a good way to transition away from living at home.

Cons: Room and board are not cheap – remember, more than $11,000 a year. Rooms may be small, there aren’t any kitchen facilities, bathrooms may be communal, and privacy may not be easily attained. That said, there are other options these days for suites shared by four or five students that do have kitchens.

Greek housing

About 10 percent of college students join sororities or fraternities, according to the North American Interfraternity Conference. And while there are plenty of benefits, they can come with a higher price tag than living in a dorm.

Housing expenses vary widely. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, fraternity members pay $3,200 to $10,000 depending on the chapter. Chapter dues, fee, and meals can rack up on average an additional $1,000 or more a year.

Most chapters require members to live there for a minimum of two years, so expect your student to dedicate at least that much time to their sorority or fraternity. According to Madison Smith, a senior at Indiana University, “Greek housing is for anyone seeking a social environment who knows how to balance work and play.”   This type of information is valuable to your students and their families should questions on the topic come up.

Joanne Leone is an advisor and speaker at My College Planning Team free workshops and writes for MCPT’s website. She earned her degree in communications and creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, California.

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