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As a parent, it’s inevitable that you have those “I wish I knew then, what I knew now” moments. My oldest child is a senior in high school. Needless to say, there have been a lot of those moments recently.
Last spring, like other families with high school juniors, we embarked on the college search. It’s very exciting, but also overwhelming. So what do you think the first thing that people ask a junior who is starting the college process?
“What do you want to go to school for?”
This question seems innocent enough. I, too, have asked this question many times in the past. Now that I have a child going into senior year, I realize how much stress this simple question can cause the typical teen. Not many 16 or 17 year old kids know what they want to do for their career! Heck, l know plenty of adults who don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.
In my daughter’s case, she recently decided that she thinks she wants to be an engineer. What brought her to this conclusion? She likes and does well in math, is creative, and really enjoys problem solving. But unless you have a parent who works in that field, how do you really know? So here’s where the “I wish I knew then, what I know now” comes in. I wish we had found ways to expose her to math and science fields along the way. I am not that kind of parent who wants to have my kids booked with activities and experience everything by the age of 16 to identify their passion, but I do wish that we found a few more simple ways to gain insight into career paths.
Through the course of college search process we have discovered several terrific sites that give girls an opportunity to check out math and science careers in a fun way:
Another great way to expose kids to careers without a huge time and financial commitment is find events in your area that match their interests. For science, technology and math (STEM) related events we found an amazing site called Connect a Million Minds, that has a wonderful event finder.
As I said before, it’s unlikely that a 16 or 17 will know what career path they want to pursue. But exposing kids to a range of careers that match their interests and strengths can only make choosing a college a little less overwhelming.
Do you make it a point to find opportunities for your kids to learn more about various fields of study or career paths? Tell us how you do this without going over the top.
— by Lisa Gundlach, SchoolFamily.com