Chapter Writing: career counseling intervention program high school

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[. . .] Working in the real life scenario will help the students understand what the daily tasks of the job are, the workplace culture, and other factors that are difficult to ascertain based on their images or beliefs about that career path. For high school students, the job placement program will afford them school credits, too.

In addition to temporary job placement programs, shadowing and mentoring opportunities will be integrated into this program for career development. The shadowing and mentoring components of this program will integrate well with the Holland personality theory because the mentors will either reflect the students’s personality predilections or not, thereby showing how different people thrive in different work settings. For this reason, Nicholas, Chae, Hussain, et al (2015) recommend for high school students “participation in skills competition, co-operative education, internships, job shadowing, and mentoring” (p. 1). Shadowing offers the high school students and high school dropouts the chance to see what it is really like to work in a certain sector or for a specific company. Mentoring provides the means by which students become used to being supported by adults, rather than viewing adults in positions of authority as being antagonists. Also, the mentoring program will help educate all high school students and high school dropouts about alternative workplace environments. The workplace environments and cultures of tech companies, for example, will be completely different from student assumptions about traditional hierarchical organizations.

The proposed program will also be important to provide students with personalized counseling related to their family backgrounds and the messages they receive from their parents. Many students will have a self-concept and an outlook on their career options that is constrained by their parents’ beliefs, or the example set by their parents. To help students overcome the limitations placed upon them, conscious or not, the school career counselor will encourage the students to dream big. Exercises related to envisioning their dreams will include encouraging students adept at arts or athletics to recognize legitimate career paths in these fields. For the goals of mitigating student social and psychological schemas, the proposed career counseling intervention will include exposure to positive role models.

Dreaming big will require the introduction of role models in the form of public speakers, but also volunteers who are willing to mentor the students. At-risk students will be particularly selected for this component of the career development program, in order to show students they could become the next David Karp if only they learn how to leverage their resources. Other concrete tools that will be provided to the students during the intervention will be how to seek for and receive grant money for starting their own business, how to use online job search websites, and how to write effective cover letters and resumes. Similarly, the career counselor will coach students on how to do well in interviews. The basic skills will be taught in formal and informal ways, improving the students’ written and oral communications skills. Of course, students participating in entrepreneurial development programs will also receive instruction on how to write a business plan.

One of the primary components of the career counseling intervention for all high school students, but especially the high school dropouts, will be entrepreneur training. Research substantiates evidence that entrepreneur training works. On study showed, for example, that “Junior Achievement Company Program (JACP) participation increases the long-term probability of starting a firm as well as entrepreneurial incomes,” (Elert, Andersson & Wennberg, 2015, p. 209). A similar entrepreneur training program will be developed and offered especially to the students and dropouts who scored high on the Holland personality code of enterprising. Enterprising individuals will be natural risk takers and visionaries who may have ideas for starting a business, but they never believed themselves capable of manifesting their dreams. Students who do not become inspired to follow a traditional career path but who score higher on other dimensions of the Holland personality test, such as those who score high on artistic measures, will also be offered a range of opportunities and programs such as placement in arts schools. On the other hand, a lot of high school students and high school dropouts may score high on the conventional code on Holland’s personality test. These students will be given more traditional career counseling options, such as options for vocational training. High school dropouts should be made aware of the fact that the high school diploma itself is not a goal; that their overarching goals might not depend on that degree. One study in China showed that counseling students who were interested in a vocational path actually led those students to drop out because of the prevalence of moderately lucrative unskilled jobs in their area (Loyalka, Liu, Song, et al 2013). Even in a post-industrial, post-manufacturing economy, there are a range of vocational options for all students and for dropouts too.

As Feller (2003) points out, one of the roles of the career counselor in a high school is to work with administrators to change the curriculum to better suit the needs of the current generation of students. Career counselors can help administrators and policymakers to embed entrepreneurial courses into the official curriculum, for example, The career counselor also seeks methods of pairing students with appropriate mentors, and matching students with sources of funding for their entrepreneurial or creative ideas. For example, a student who writes screenplays will be directed to grant money for young screenwriters.

To evaluate the efficacy of the program, it will be helpful to rely on longitudinal data. Longitudinal data will take into account student self-assessments of their job satisfaction, as well as measures like income. Measuring the success of a student start-up firm is not an accurate means of assessment. One reason for this is that not all start-ups succeed, and failure in business is a valuable lesson. Students will receive ongoing coaching from their mentors to help them navigate the ups and downs of a competitive environment. In fact, Elert, Andersson & Wennberg (2015) found that even though entrepreneurial training for high school students and high school dropouts did lead to higher rates of entrepreneurial activities, their success was not predictive of the firm’s success. In addition to the longitudinal tests, the career counselor can also offer regular qualitative and quantitative surveys designed to assess student impressions of the programs. Furthermore, the assessments can include interviews with parents, teachers, and mentors.


Advocacy is one of the most important components of the proposed career counseling program. There are many ways the career counselor advocates for students, from working with administrators to change the curriculum, to helping students find out about and utilize funding from grants. High school dropouts whose career aspirations require a high school diploma will be encouraged to return to school, or offered alternatives to fulfilling their dreams such as starting their own company. The goal of this career counseling program is to stimulate creative thinking among all the high school students and the high school dropouts, many of whom have not yet been exposed to the options available to them for funding their dreams. Advocacy entails helping all students leverage their existing social connections, communities, and resources available to help minority students.

To be an effective advocate for the students, it is important for the career counselor to look beyond stereotypes, biases, and assumptions about high school dropouts in particular. The goal of the proposed intervention and career counseling program is to expand the range of opportunities available for students, to help them think strategically but also creatively about their career prospects and planning, and to provide them with institutional supports. Advocacy encompasses the latter, fixing students with the institutional supports they will come to rely on throughout their careers. As the example of David Karp shows, a high school dropout can start a billion-dollar tech company through dedication and self-motivated learning, but also through clever leverage of social connections and social networks. Not all high school dropouts are destined for vocational careers; many have the potential to shine as entrepreneurs or creative personnel but have not yet been exposed to these types of opportunities. Whereas Karp was born into a privileged family, many high school dropouts in this program will not have had the same opportunities. This program will help all students unearth a wealth of options available to them, both in the private and the public sector.

Advocating for students is therefore partly a matter of providing psychological career counseling based on the theory of Holland’s personality types, and partly a matter of interfacing student personality with the labor market. Integrating student personality with labor market realities will help students develop realistic but realizable career maps. As Feller (2003) points out, career counselors at the high school level play a unique role in alerting students of educational options in and outside of their current school. A student who demonstrates aptitude and interest for a career in human resources might be guided towards psychology courses, but a student whose interest is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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