There’s a lot

to deal with in the present. But your teen should also spend some time exploring what she’ll do after they place that tasseled cap on her head.

To plan ahead, have her:

• Keep a “career notebook.” One section of the notebook could begin, “I love to,” or, “I am really happy when I can . . . .” Another could begin, “I can’t stand to,” or, “I don’t think I could ever . . . .” It sounds simple. But it’s a great way for your teen to narrow the wide field of career choices.

• Learn about four-year colleges, community colleges and trade schools. Read school catalogs and check Internet sites. These can give your teen an idea of where she would need to go to pursue her interests. It can also let her know how much study will be involved.

• Talk to trusted teachers and counselors. They can suggest jobs or careers that can grow out of interests and hobbies. Sometimes school professionals can also give teens a survey to take that will help them identify careers that could suit them.

• Get some real-life practice. This could be a part-time job. However, teens face many limits in getting jobs. Federal laws are strict about what teens may and may not do before they turn 18. And many employers only hire adults.

Your teen’s best choices may be to do volunteer work or to spend some time observing a professional. Have her ask her guidance counselor for advice.

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