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Essential steps for students to capitalize on college

Last year, the Associated Press reported that 53.6 percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees under the age of 25 were either jobless or underemployed.

College student

Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that 85 percent of graduating seniors expect to move back in with Mom and Dad — a rate four times higher than in 1980.

Contributed by Adrien Fraise, CEO of Modern Guild

While the numbers are discouraging, students who are encouraged to start thinking about life after collegebefore college even begins — can position themselves not for their parent’s basement, but for an independent life in a field that matches their interests and skills.

Here are five ways to make sure that your child is career-minded heading into and during college.


Take a long-term view of college

College is a four-year investment in your child’s future. Taking a long-term view of college helps identify and structure each year around what the ultimate goal will be — a job that positions your child to learn tailored practical skills that helps narrow his or her career pursuits and is valued by the real world.


Be introspective

At the same time your child is exploring and applying to colleges, he should also undergo an honest evaluation of his skill sets and interests. At Modern Guild, we call this the “DNA Map.” Lacking or being deficient in a skill is no deal-breaker at this stage; it simply shows your child what he needs to work on to make the college investment pay off.


Understand career compatibility

Matching one’s DNA Map to the real world produces a flexible but more focused career lens based on your child’s interests and skills (or potential skills). Each student should have two or three possible careers in mind as they enter school. But, don’t worry — they can change them as they gain experiences and find new passions.


Develop a learning road map

With self-discovery and career compatibility mapped out, your child must identify the practical skills required in each career pursuit and develop a road map to potential majors and courses, extra-curricular activities (e.g., clubs, speaker series, athletics) and internships.


Be open to change

As students discover more about themselves through college, their priorities and interests can certainly change. That’s why focusing on core skills, which translate across careers, will increase a student’s flexibility.

Focusing on these five steps will help students weave a common pattern as they develop their “story” throughout college. Ultimately, this story is not related to the courses that a student takes, but to the skills they develop.

About the author:

Adrien Fraise is the CEO of Modern Guild, an online one-on-one planning and career mentoring service for college and college-bound students.

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