Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core


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TAG: Student Aspirations

Identify Student Interests and Aspirations

Do teachers in your school know about student interests and aspirations? If so, how do they know? What systematic data are collected on student aspirations, particularly as they move across grade levels in high school?

Identify Your School’s Percentage of Students without Postsecondary Education Aspirations

What percentage of students in your school do not aspire to a postsecondary education? Are any data collected on why they don’t?

Consider Student Aspirations Surveys

Consider informal or self-made surveys or more formal means, such as CampusReady in the appendix, to gather more information on student aspirations.

Develop Student Assignments around Their Interests and Postsecondary Programs

Develop assignments that require students to do research on their interests and on postsecondary programs. For example, students could be required to do a research paper each year on college options and the cost of pursuing an option of interest to them. Online sites such as Naviance ( and Big Future ( provide many free resources to help students complete such assignments.

Construct a Research Project Using O*net Data

Construct a research project where students collect information on three different jobs to report on the necessary qualifications (e.g., training, education, skills), job market outlook and salary predictions, and the day-to-day experience using O*net data on

Use Venn Diagrams to Explore Student Interests and Skills

Create an activity for students using Venn diagrams to explore how student interests and skills overlap with different career types. Brainstorm in small groups the types of jobs that would be fitting for team members.

Host a “Career Jumping” Event

Host a “career jumping” event, where students conduct two- to five-minute interviews with professionals from a variety of fields. Have the professionals talk about challenge and how they overcame obstacles.

Have Students Present on Their Interests and Career or Educational Pathways

Have students orally present on their interests in relation to different career or educational pathways (

Determine if Tracking is in Academic Courses

Determine if tracking, formal or informal, is present in academic courses and how such practices affect student aspirations.

Explore Further the Idea that Readiness has a Component that Relates to Student Aspirations and Interests

Explore further the idea that readiness has a component that relates to student aspirations and interests. What types of program models might allow students to explore interests without having to make an irrevocable choice about career?

Have Students Map Their Goals and the Steps They Need to Take to Achieve Them

Have students map their goals and the steps they need to take to achieve them. This site offers a series of ten steps to help students reflect on the intent and design of their goals. It also offers a mini-quiz to diagnose a student’s ability to manage time, and achieve goals (

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