Education

Make informed choices

NEW DELHI, 03/08/2012: Prof. Sukrita Paul Kumar (R) interacting with students during a counselling at Cluster Innovation Centre of Delhi University in New Delhi on August 03, 2012.
Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

NEW DELHI, 03/08/2012: Prof. Sukrita Paul Kumar (R) interacting with students during a counselling at Cluster Innovation Centre of Delhi University in New Delhi on August 03, 2012. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Decisions made in high school can make or break a student’s career. Every school should have a dedicated counselling centre

High school students starting off college tend to opt for STEM subjects over others. They are hardly ready to explore subjects that they have not heard of, even if it means a lucrative career option or that they may be cut out for it. Ever wondered why? What if you were told that this was mainly because of their lack of awareness about opportunities that other vocational courses offer? This antiquated way of thinking is pushing students into careers they are not interested in. Often, we find that youngsters don’t realise their true potential because they end up in the wrong career path, and this is where career counselling comes in.

Importance

The truth about career stress: In a recent research study, a staggering 70% of counsellors felt parents and students are highly stressed about career-related decisions. Moreover, 68% of students said having a dedicated career counselling office would be the most important action their school can take to lessen their stress, and help their decision about college. In another survey, 77% of industry professionals felt that fewer than 40% of new graduates have a good understanding of the careers they wish to pursue. It’s evident that students need more career counselling help. This process must begin in high schools, providing a dedicated counselling centre.

Study options require experts: Decisions made in high school can make or break a student’s career. Experienced career counsellors are trained to understand student thinking and potential. Once a student’s potential is understood, the counsellor can guide them to the best-fit career and college. Students don’t mind asking for help and we must ensure they are getting it from counsellors, and not just from peer sources. A path followed by their peers might not help them reach the same destination. To help students choose what is right for them, career counsellors must be made available for students to reach out to easily.

Counsellors can help your skills emerge: There is no one better equipped than a school counsellor to understand students’ needs, abilities, and goals. In order for a student to discover the right career path, they must understand what course to take and if their capabilities match interests. A student might want to pursue architecture because of an aptitude for math and believe drawing isn’t difficult. In reality, there is much more to architecture. Having a counsellor will help the student understand the complexities of that profession, so they enter the coursework prepared, not overwhelmed and wanting to switch majors by the end of the first semester.

Counsellors make sense of opportunities that exist outside the box: Most students choose subjects which are not aligned with their interests. Instead, they choose subjects based on the scores they obtain, and what their parents or family think is right for them. These scores often lead to students becoming employees who cannot relate to their jobs, or feel disgruntled with their work quickly. They may not have had school counselling, which has contributed to them choosing an ill-fitting subject. To counter this, career guidance and planning exercises in schools can encourage students to understand their interests, aptitude and goals, and choose the appropriate career.

Nurtured interests create happy humans: Around 65% of people are disengaged with their jobs. The reason? Their interests and abilities were not fully explored in school. Collectively, we spend one-third or more of our lives at work, yet more than half of the workforce is unhappy.

It is time to build a career guidance movement for counselling in all high schools. So instead of picking majors or careers based on test scores, choices can be based on nurtured interests that grow into fulfilling professions.

The writer is the Founding President and 2019 Annual IC3 Conference Chair.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:56:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/make-informed-choices/article28973741.ece

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