Managing Relationships

Attending college is a big change for students. Students will now be responsible for attending class, doing homework, and studying in a completely different environment and schedule than high school. This is a busy time for students to become more independent and become adults. Whether a student moves cross-country for college or commutes to college from their parents’ place the communication with their old friends and family will be affected. Here are a few tips on how students can manage their relationships with their families and friends:

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Increased Freedom

For most students, going to college also means moving out from their parents’ home. Being away from home means that their parents will no longer be able to “bug” them or tell them what to do. They will experience increased freedom, and this can be exciting and a bit intimidating at the same time. It is up to them to be disciplined enough to make personal decisions and choices that they never had to deal with before. Consequently, students can feel stressed, depressed or get easily distracted by other things instead of focusing on their education.

Two main areas students should focus on, especially during this time, are to be responsible and manage their time effectively. Being responsible is as simple as attending class and paying attention, not being afraid to ask questions, doing all assignments promptly, studying for exams and going to office hours if need be. Simple ways to improve time management can include creating a calendar with your schedule and assignment deadlines. This is a great way to complete school responsibilities and also allow time for self-care, relaxation, and socializing which is also very important.

The animated video below provides students with helpful tips on how to become more disciplined and making good choices.

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Post-High School Challenges

Most​ college ​freshmen​ face​ different degrees of “campus culture shock​” when starting their higher education​. ​New college students are coping with social changes and ​a ​more rigorous​ course schedule than they have ever experienced.​ They are also faced with the new challenge of independence and self-motivation. Additionally, some students ​face​ other challenges ​such as ​language barriers, financial struggles, and social anxiety.

These challenges are not new at all. Just a few months before entering college, high school students were required to ask for a permission just to go to the restroom. In college, students can decide on their own whether or not they attend class. It is a big change and more times than not our students are not prepared for this whole new world.

In this month’s blog posts we will discuss tackling increased freedom, handing new and old relationships, adapting to the new environment and how educators can help students battle these post-high school challenges.

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Transferable Skills

According to the IFTF (Institute for the Future), the workplace is changing drastically due to the developing technology, economy, environment, and politics. This can sound intimidating. How can your students prepare for a new work environment?  No need to fear, here are ten transferable skills that will help your students (and you) have an advantage no matter  their career field!

Click on the blue text below to learn more about each transferable skill:

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Evolving Environment

As we have mentioned throughout this month, the workforce is rapidly changing and it is only expected to continue changing in the upcoming years. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006, the total labor force is expected to grow 0.6 percent per year from 2016 to 2026. This evolving environment brings forth a vibrant collaboration that encourages change and new ideas. Here are some changes that the workplace can expect within the next couple of years as explained by Deloitte.

Age groups 65 and above are projected to increase exponentially within the next couple of years. The main cause of this is the very low birth rate as Millennials are focused on their career instead of start families.

It is no doubt that the workplace is becoming more diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual preference and identification, etc. As you will see, Hispanics are projected to have the fastest rate of growth in the labor force and the percentage of whites in the workforce were projected to decline slightly.

In recent years, more people have pursued higher education, which includes young adults and middle-aged individuals who have decided to acquire credentials.

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Employment Types

As mentioned in our previous blog post, we are currently facing a transforming landscape of the workforce. Full-time salaried jobs are decreasing. According to NPR, 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract, and it is expected that within a decade contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce.

Here is a list of some types of employment that are changing our work environment:

  • Full-time contracts are the most common employment type. These contracts are for permanent positions working around 40 hours per week. Workers get paid a salary or hourly wage and allow holidays off, personal time off, vacations and parental leave.
  • Part-time contracts are very similar to full-time contracts; however, workers work for less hours a week and have a more flexible schedule.
  • Fixed-term contracts are for a specific amount of time and usually are based on a certain project being done. Workers get same benefits as permanent contracts and are likely to be extended to a permanent contract.
  • Temporary contracts are similar to fixed-term contracts; however, they are usually not expected to become permanent employees.
  • Temp agency workers are hired by staffing agencies and are also usually paid by the staffing agencies. The agencies are responsible for the worker’s benefits. This employment can eventually lead to a permanent position.
  • Freelance/contractor employees are basically self-employed and are responsible for their own benefits. They manage their own schedule and only work for a set amount of time or until a project is completed.

So why is employment becoming more flexible? The Millennial Effect states that millennial employees want a job that allows them to better manage their work-life balance. Employees also want opportunities to expand and work on various projects. Additionally, technological advances make it easier for employees to work remotely or handle multiple tasks at once. Therefore, these employers save resources such as office space, time and money. It is a win-win scenario for both employees and employers.

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Workforce Skills and Demands

Today’s high school and college graduates face a transforming landscape of the workforce. New graduates need to be prepared for a volatile market – from increased competitiveness to the expanding use of automation instead of manpower to being prepared for a job that does not exist yet. Think about it: not long ago fewer people pursued high education, technology was very different, and the job title “social media coordinator” was inconceivable!

Now, educators not only have to be aware of these changes in the workforce, but they have to share as much information as possible with their students to better prepare them for life after high school and college. In the month of February, we will discuss the different types of workers, the evolving environment, and the changes in skills and demands that this new workforce landscape brings.

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Feeling Unprepared for College and Career

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
-Arthur Ashe, American tennis player

In a blog post from earlier this month, Background Information, we provided study results which clearly stated that most students do not feel prepared for college and career. This means teachers have two big jobs in high schools:

  1. Prepare their students for the future
  2. Making sure their students feel prepared to take on the future

What happens when individuals do not feel prepared to take on life after high school? Most people get frustrated and/or discouraged; therefore, they:

  • decide not to pursue a higher education: In 2016, the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that 72.3% of high school graduates did not enroll in college.
  • either go to college but never graduate: According to Forbes, only 28% of students completed a bachelor’s degree in the expected amount of time at various schools in 2016. This means that nearly 2 million students dropout each year before graduating.
  • or find a job that is not related to their college degree: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that in 2010 only 62.1% of college graduates had a job that required a college degree and only 27.3% of college graduates had a job remotely related to their major.

This is very unfortunate because according to SmartAsset, the average yearly salary for a worker with a high school diploma is $35,256 and $38,376 for a worker with some college but not degree. While the yearly salary for a worker with a bachelors degree is $59,124. That is almost a $24,000 difference that makes a big difference in a person’s lifestyle.

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Current Programs

As we examined in the last blog post on background information, many students do not feel prepared for life after high school. In order to better prepare students for college and career, many entities have designed or established different programs to combat this issue. Here are a few current programs to prepare students for college and career while in high school:

  1. Some schools provide labs in which students can talk to a college and career guidance counselor, apply to universities and learn about alternatives to college. In addition to being available to students during the school day, the College and Career Lab at Lake View High School in Chicago provides a website with links to three different resources for students: Naviance, Common App and Choose Your Future (available to Chicago Public Schools’ students only). These resources help students figure out what their best option is after high school, apply to colleges, and set goals for their post-high school life. View Lake View’s College and Career Lab page here.
  2. The State of Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction created the High School & Beyond Plan. The HSBP is designed to get students thinking about their future goals and understand how to accomplish them starting in eighth grade. This plan also includes a one-year plan after high school, a career goal, an educational goal, a four-year course plan for high school, and identification of required assessments. To view the available HSBP resources, click here.
  3. The Alliance For Excellent Education, provides multiple ways to prepare students in three areas: college, workplace, and rigor (or academic preparedness). To read more on the various programs, click here.

These are only some programs in place at high schools. Does your school provide different programs to improve college and career outcomes of high school? Comment below.

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Background Information on Outcomes of High Schools

While there is little argument that college preparation in high school is imperative​, there is debate ​among scholars ​as to what extent high schools should prepare students for college and careers. In order to better understand this, we need to recognize current statistics associated with College and Career Outcomes of High Schools. Here is some information by YouthTruth that we should keep in mind.

As you can see, in the survey below, most high school students feel unprepared for college despite wanting to go. Additionally, students feel even more unprepared for careers.

So what can high schools do to change these numbers? In our next blog we will discuss programs that have been put in place to make a difference.

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