6th and 7th Grade: Baby Steps in Career Thinking and College Planning
Do you spend time with a 6th or 7th grader? In the coming years, they will grow (like weeds) and continue to mature. In most of our work with high school, college, and career planning, we don’t spend too much time with this 6th and 7th grade age group. They are busy learning the ropes of their middle school. They’re building an idea of who they are and developing some independence.
We know that some parents like to be prepared. You work hard to find and leverage opportunities for your kids. You want time to learn about the options ahead. If you feel that little pull and are ready to engage and learn, we have a few thoughts to share with you about what you can be doing now.
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1) Learn about paying for college
Paying for college is a subject with lots of nuance and lots of moving parts—scholarships, financial aid, loans, etc. It is important to save as soon as you are able, so we suggest all parents grades 6 and up watch our Smart Money Moves for the College-Bound webinar. You may need to return to this program as your child progresses through high school and approaches college. Hearing it once early on is very helpful.
2) Career exposure
Students (no matter the age) simply aren’t aware of the careers available. What is a biomechanist? What does a data analyst do? All they know are the jobs of their families, the professionals they see (doctor, dentist, teacher), and the careers in the media. (And no, it’s likely they can’t all be social media influencers.)
What can families be doing now? Career exposure is important. This could take the form of career-themed summer camps and experiences. Our local career tech schools like the Delaware Area Career Center and Eastland-Fairfield are great sources of very reasonably priced summer camps.
3) Evaluate these experiences
Having the exposure is great, but it won’t mean much without evaluating the experience. What did they enjoy? What surprised them? Did they like working in a group or do they prefer working independently?
Perfecting this kind of practice is valuable for the coming high school years where they can continue the same steps as they have the experiences that high school brings.
4) When they’re ready (grades 7, 8, and 9), consider our Heads Up! Equipping Students for What’s Next workshop.
In this fun workshop, we introduce the concept of self assessment and how it relates to career exploration. We get students thinking about career research and open their eyes to how understanding careers will impact their college futures.
Self assessment and career exploration are typically not a big part of a standard middle or high school experience. Yet, those two elements are probably the greatest foundational parts of making clear and confident decisions about what to do after high school.
5) Subscribe to our newsletter
At this stage, you have years to go before your child will be applying to college. But it is never too soon to start learning, so we recommend you take a quick second and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. It is a trusted resource for thousands of families nationwide.
As your child grows, you’ll be ready for more educational programming like our career tech coffee chats or any of our free and low-cost webinars. In the meantime, enjoy these years and explore together. 6th and 7th grade goes by way too fast!
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