Career assessments and planning for post-secondary education through Michigan 4-H

Use 4-H experience and a career assessment to explore and plan for post-secondary education.

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The projects and programs Michigan 4-H members are involved in can lead to their career paths. Different careers require different levels of post-secondary education (education after high school) such as a certificate or license, a two-year degree or associate’s degree, and a four-year degree or bachelor’s degree. Michigan 4-H members can use the skills they learned from 4-H projects and programs to take a career assessment, plan for their career and plan for post-secondary education.

Career assessments are tools designed to help guide a person in the direction of a career field. Several career assessments are available and several can be used free-of-charge. Some schools also have resources to help youth learn more about their career interests. One career assessment that 4-H members and all students can have access to is located in the Build Your Future:  Choices…Connections…Careers curriculum. This career assessment allows youth to explore career pathways, identify their skill set, and explore careers related to their two favorite career pathways.

After completing and receiving the results of a career assessment, taking action steps are important for youth to confirm their interests in their proposed career path and post-secondary education plans.

Here are some steps youth can take to explore post-secondary options from a career assessment:

Collect information on post-secondary training

To gather information on post-secondary education, first investigate what post-secondary training is needed in the career field of interest. Then search out schools that offer the training or majors in that career path. Once the post-secondary institutions are identified, take the initiative to send e-mails or make phone calls to admissions counselors requesting more information. Also, take the time to arrange campus visits to observe campus life, learn about the requirements for admission and financial aid, and visit with faculty and students.

Participate in pre-college programs

Check with different trade schools, colleges and universities to find out if there are pre-college programs related to the student’s career field of interest. Pre-college programs can span a single day, or they can run for two weeks or more; there’s a lot of variation depending on the depth and resources of the program. Some are overnight programs, enabling students to reside in the dorms during their participation. The overnight programs provide a campus-based living experience.

Pre-college programs often offer hands-on training in different college majors or career fields, enriching the participant’s experience. Michigan State University offers pre-college programs through the Spartan Youth Programs.

Examples of pre-college programs offered through Michigan 4-H Youth Development are: 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp, 4-H Capitol Experience and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

Participation in Michigan 4-H provides a foundation for youth to learn about their skills. Help 4-H members learn how their skills can prepare them for their future.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. 

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