The Role of Career Planning and District Success

When students understand the relationship between academics and career planning, they are less likely to drop out of high school or college. It is imperative that school districts take advantage of career planning resources early to empower their students to become more motivated self-directed learners.

Comprehensive career planning allows individual students to discover who they are, what they like, and where they shine most. School districts do not devote as much of their attention to career planning compared to the energy spent selecting and gaining admission to a good college. Why do certain school districts give minimal thought to such tasks as choosing a future occupation and learning the workplace skills required to compete in a global job market? 70% of students enter college with little direction and are naïve about how the real-world functions. Several students have reported starting college without knowing what they should major in or study, utterly unknowing of their talents and interests. As a result, 20 to 50% of incoming first-year college students are undecided on a major, and at least 75% of students change their major during their college years.

A 2021 data report on students in the US stated that the dropout rate for undergraduate college students is 40%. Additionally, 30% of that dropout rate comes from first-year college students dropping out before their sophomore year. Many students felt they could not find a major relevant to their interests, and that they lacked workforce skills, training, and prior knowledge of what types of jobs could complement their major. Prioritizing promising career planning in school districts nationwide with the right tools could end this misguidedness by giving students the confidence to make good decisions regarding their future and lower the percentage of students dropping out. The link to this problem has proven to be preventative when students are exposed to the right resources early in their career pathway.

School districts across the nation can dramatically improve these statistics by revising student standards and making career development a priority as early as possible. Unfortunately, most career planning programs start in high school, leaving a gap for younger students with little to no understanding of the world of work. District leaders need to have a comprehensive plan for their entire district, not just their high schools. Now more than ever, experts believe introducing children to the world of work as early as possible is paramount.

At Kuder, we plant the seed in Pre-K. Starting a learning portfolio as early as the age of 4 can encourage students to take accountability for their learning. Studies have shown that students who are exposed early on to career exploration concepts can better recall and retain new information and document their learning growth over time. Our Kuder Galaxy® system introduces students ages 4-10 to various jobs and work environments so they can harness the powerful effects of career awareness.

After elementary, these students continue to expand their understanding of career development with our award-winning Kuder Navigator® program throughout middle and high school. This gives them the consistent support and confidence needed to recognize their skill set, interests, work ethic, and personality type that will help them find a fulfilling career. Students who use Navigator have stated that the system motivates them to stay in school, and as a result, 60% of our users who have pursued a college education have never changed their major.

With Navigator, students in grades 6-12 can continue tracking their growth and professional goals by utilizing the system’s Graduation Plan feature, which establishes a framework for students to develop college and career readiness. Each district community can configure the plan to meet the needs of their students as well as their state standards to improve learning accommodations for any and every student. As students in high school prepare for college, they can take advantage of the College Match Tool within the College Access Package to directly compare prospective schools across the country. This package also provides students with access to ACT and SAT prep courses, practice tests and materials, AP practice tests, and more.

There is no reason to wait until junior or senior year of high school to start a conversation with students on the topic of career development. During elementary school, children develop an awareness of the world around them, as well as who they are in relation to others, making it a perfect time for career exploration and guidance. Provide them with the comprehensive tools they need and let us help set the foundation for future success for your students!

To learn more about our career awareness and college and career planning programs, contact us today!