How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School

How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School

Too many people graduate from high school and head into college with no idea who they are or what they want to do with their lives.

As parents, we are often lulled into a sense that if we provide lots of academics for them, somehow around the age of 18 our kids will magically realize their calling.

How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School

How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School

In reality, it usually plays out more like this:

Sally graduates from high school with decent grades in many subject areas.  She isn’t sure what she wants to do, but she seems like college material, so she goes to college with a vaguely-declared major of some sort.  Two years later she takes a hard look at her credits and says, “Why did I even take these classes?  What do they have to do with what I’m going to do with the rest of my life?”  Now she has lots of money, hard-work and time invested in something that she worries was a waste.


Tommy graduates from high school with mostly-decent grades in a variety of subject areas, but he doesn’t have the confidence to label himself “college material,” so he opts for employment somewhere that doesn’t require a college degree.  After a year or two in retail or waiting tables or whatever he takes a hard look at his life and says, “Why am I working this job?  Am I going anywhere with this?  Do I even WANT to head in this direction?”  Now he has lots of hard-work and time invested in something that he realizes isn’t even making much money, and he’s not sure how to figure out a way to change things.

  • Entering college is fine, and so is entering the workforce or the military.
  • What ISN’T fine is making that decision without prayer, thought and research.

Early in high school, help your child begin to form habits that will help prepare him or her to make that decision wisely.  Here are some helpful tools that Jonah and I have used on the recommendation of Vicki Tillman, MA, who wrote the unique-to-7-Sisters curriculum:

* Career Exploration Bundle

Career Exploration Bundle


You can click here to download the FREE Career Exploration Questionnaire  that will get you started.

* Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  This book comes with a one-use-only access code for an online evaluation tool.  This is a tremendously insightful program and well worth the cost.

* Vicki Tillman’s Pinterest Board for Career Exploration has other resources for you to check out.

* One-on-one conversations with people in various fields.  Jonah and I recently spent an hour with a former student of mine who has gone on to chef school.  Getting “in the trenches” information from him really helped Jonah decide whether or not to keep pursuing this career as a possibility after high school.

* Prayer time and journaling.  God has the inside scoop on good paths for our kids to walk; we need to practice the discipline of listening during our prayer time, and writing down direction we hear.  We also need to encourage our kids to do the same; God is eager to give His wisdom to those who ask.  (James 1:5)

Teens are intrigued by our interactive prayer journals. They are different than most!

Prayer Journal 1

* Homeschool community.  Take advantage of the exploration that other families you know are doing.  Combine your findings.  Share ideas.  Pray for one another. Here’s a post with ideas if it’s hard to find other homeschooling families.


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How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School



Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

6 Replies to “How To Tackle Career Exploration in High School”

  1. Excellent points and comments. I believe we all have God-given talents. And everyone is different. Way too many people are not doing what they were intended to do. The only measure is happiness (what is called job satisfaction on the work side of life). There are people who easily say “I can’t believe they pay me to do what I do.”

    I encourage all high school students to give yourself the gift of self-reflection/self-awareness and research beyond a surface level to consider careers that you will be happy and successful doing. It isn’t hard. There are solid proven strategies and tools to help you.

  2. Doing lots of hands-on exploring is really helpful, too. Apprenticing or shadowing is a great way to narrow down the choices.

  3. I have found it common for parents and students to work HARD on academics and then be mystified as to what to do for college or life after high school. Seeking God and doing career exploration is SO important- homeschool parents can really help their kids in this area. God has plans for our kids.

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