Congratulations on being interested in working with children. It takes a special person to enter this field and meet the demands which this career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself better to see if and how you share the personality traits which make people working with children successful. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow people working with children to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.
The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if and how you share the personality traits necessary to work with kids and how that might be best for you. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. When I was doing college recruiting, I too often encountered students who skipped these steps and ended in a career area in which they were very unhappy. Here are some tips to prevent that from happening to you.
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Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations are very welcoming to students like you, as they want to help them to select meaningful careers and may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ##
## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
I honestly believe that there is no best college for the field of special education. All programs Im sure have good qualities and their challenges, but really i do believe its all about how you network about the programs and find the right common ground in how you can achieve well in said programs. Having the ability to involve yourself in a network of others to understand ways to involve yourself educationally in the field of special education is very helpful as well.