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What is the best thing to do in high school to prepare for a future career?

I am currently in high school in my junior year.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Chirayu’s Answer

Hello Jeffrey, few things that can be done in high school are - focus on your academics, particularly in subjects related to your future career. Participate in extracurricular activities related to your future career or build transferable skills. Network with professionals in your desired field. Volunteer or get an internship to gain real-world experience. Start considering colleges and research their programs related to your future career. Plan and prepare for standardized tests related to your future career (e.g. SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, etc). Good luck.
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James’s Answer

Hello there. The odds of you being sure on your future career are pretty low. You will likely change your mind several times, and that's okay. Be productive and don't make a mistake that will cost you down the line. Try to be a better version of yourself every day. As long as you do that, you will be just fine.
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David’s Answer

Hi Jeffrey,
While I agree that academics are incredibly important, I would actually advocate for more thought being given to extracurriculars to broaden your perspective. I would suggest making a basic (broad) career plan and committing to things for the experience rather than resume. As I have come to realize, career plans change all the time.
The best thing that you could do right now is to explore the different avenues of the field you think you want to work in. For example, if you had passion for science, it is not limited to medicine or research, and having an interest in science is not exclusionary towards humanities or business. Explore what you can do in the field by first identifying your passions. Then plan out what you want to study in order to gain a foundation.
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Maria’s Answer

In addition to the other answers, I'm going to go the other way and mention a hard skill to learn to help with succeeding for any career field and college: pass your computer typing classes in high school. In the age of digital native language where all communication is instant and constant, learning how to type quickly and proficiently has been a blessing! Most communication happens in front of a screen in most career fields and creating accessibility to your information and how to receive that information may make a significant impact. Professional writing helps in college and beyond.
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Terica’s Answer

Hello Jeffrey!

This is a great question and there are a number of things you can do to prepare. I will share a few things that I did and think will help prepare you as well. First develop a career plan. Think about what you want you to do and make a plan and goal specific to that career. Make sure you consider your skills and interests, explore career options, consider academic requirements, gain relevant practical experiences, and complete a job search. Take a look at the possible options and careers available. Don't be afraid to dream big and if the career for you doesn't exist, don't be afraid to create it!

Good luck! Befearless
TJ
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Ryan’s Answer

This is a great question! In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to be purposeful in everything you do. Don't just go through the motions in class (like I did). This will make you average and you will be behind the curve. When I say "be purposeful", what I mean is, focus on the goal. If you're studying, be purposeful in retaining what you're reading/watching. If you're taking an exam, be purposeful in answering all of the questions accurately. If you're playing basketball, focus on your technique and drills.

Another way to look as this is, "the only thing that matters is what you're currently doing". Don't let outside thoughts enter your head and distract you when you're in the middle of something. It's easy for us to think of 2-3 things at once, but it's not purposeful to do so. When you do this, you're not allowing yourself to focus 100% on the task, in which case you won't execute to the best of your ability.

If you focus on becoming purposeful in your studies, your extracurriculars, your friendships, etc., you will become an expert at all things you do. This will launch you forward as a successful individual, and in doing so, you will enter the job market with a work ethic that will out preform most of your peers. And if you decide to start your own company by way of entrepreneurship, this mindset will support you with all of the work it will take to do so.

Ryan recommends the following next steps:

Set a 1 day goal, a 1 week goal, a 1 month goal, a 1 year goal and a 5 year goal.
Execute your 1 day goal each day.
As yourself what you need to do today to meet all your future goals.
Be purposeful
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Jeffery,

Strategies for High School Students to Effectively Plan for their Future Careers

As a high school student, there are several proactive measures you can take to lay the groundwork for a successful career. Here are some beneficial strategies:

1. Discover Your Passions: Dedicate some time to delve into various subjects and activities to uncover your interests and talents. Engaging in clubs, sports, or volunteer work can help you find what truly excites you.

2. Establish a Solid Academic Base: Prioritize your studies and aim to excel in your classes. A robust academic base will pave the way for more opportunities in higher education and future careers.

3. Hone Essential Soft Skills: Employers value skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management. Participate in activities that help you refine these skills, such as public speaking, leadership roles, or group projects.

4. Pursue Mentorship: Establish connections with teachers, counselors, or professionals in your fields of interest to gain insights and advice on potential career paths. Mentorship can offer invaluable guidance and support as you chart your future career journey.

5. Acquire Work Experience: Look for internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work related to your career interests. Hands-on experience can help you understand the industry better and build a network of contacts for the future.

6. Investigate Career Options: Invest time in researching different career paths, industries, and job trends. Knowledge of the requirements and expectations of various professions can assist you in making informed decisions about your future.

7. Prepare for Higher Education: If your career goals include higher education, start investigating colleges, universities, and programs that align with your interests. Consider enrolling in challenging courses and preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.

8. Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Welcome challenges, learn from setbacks, and consistently seek opportunities for growth and improvement. A positive attitude towards learning and development is key to success in any career.

By implementing these strategies and actively participating in opportunities that align with your interests and goals, you can establish a strong foundation for a prosperous future career.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

Harvard Graduate School of Education - Making Caring Common Project: This source offers research-based insights on education and youth development, providing valuable information on preparing students for future careers through comprehensive approaches.

U.S. Department of Education - College and Career Readiness: The U.S. Department of Education provides resources and guidelines on college and career readiness for high school students, offering authoritative information on preparing for future careers.

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE): NACE is a premier source of information on career development and employment trends for college graduates. Their research and resources provide valuable insights into preparing students for successful careers post high school graduation.

Eat healthily reducing fats, sugar, caffeine, and the like. Get plenty of rest.

May God bless you!
James Constantine.
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Diane’s Answer

Hi Jeffrey - of course, grades are important but will assume you already know this. Building good/great study skills/habits will benefit you in the rest of your life and in any career. Having an idea of what career(s) interest you. Choose a career(s) that really interests you, motivates you and that gives you a purpose. Talk with adults in those careers about their experiences and/or maybe even ask to shadow them for a day to see what the day to day is like. Talk with your high school counselor or visit a college and speak with a college counselor as they are a wealth of knowledge.
Participate in extracurricular activities and/or clubs while in high school. The skills, experiences and lessons learned will provide invaluable tools for the rest of your live; plus you will probably make lifelong friends.
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