Exploring Career Options with Your Gifted Teen

Variety of Careers
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When your child is in high school, it is time to start thinking about career choices. It's not necessary to make a career decision in the early years of high school. After all, many teens change their minds more than once during their high school years and even after they start college or work. It is, however, time to start thinking about it. Some kids will want to go to college, but keep in mind that college is not actually required for a job that pays well and can provide for a happy and successful life.

Choosing the right career should be based on interest, ability, and even personality! Go through the options with your teen and if you opt for college, help her find the best college for her. Keep in mind that the best college for your child is not necessary an Ivy League school.

Exploring Non-College Career Options

So many people today believe that getting a college degree is the only way to have a financially secure and successful life. But that's not necessarily true. It's true that *on average*, college graduates will earn more than those without a college degree, but that's an average. Some people believe that these averages lie. In some cases what a college graduate earns is less than what someone without a degree will earn. Others are less kind and call the push to send everyone to college a hoax. None of this means that you should stop your teen from going to college. It just means that you shouldn't be overly concerned if your teen wants to do something else.

You can explore other options with your teen. Some options may not lead to great wealth, but that's true of careers requiring a college degree as well.

Exploring Unconventional Occupations with Your Teen

Gifted kids (and adults) aren't always very conventional. In fact, they tend to be quite unconventional.

Because gifted people tend to be unconventional and even non-conformist, they don't always fit the conventional career. It's tempting to nudge our kids toward college and careers like law and medicine, but there are many other occupations that gifted kids can consider. This is especially true since so many of our kids have a more artistic temperament and would be happier in careers that are better suited to such a temperament.

Helping Gifted Teens Find the Right Career

In order to help your teen find the right career path to follow, you'll want to consider more than interest alone. After all, many gifted kids have more than one interest. Personality and temperament are another factors to consider. An introvert, for example, may not enjoy a career in which she must spend most of her time with other people, while an extrovert may not enjoy a career in which he must spend most of his time alone. But there's even more to consider than that.

Military Career: Is it the right choice for your child?

A career in the military isn't for everyone, but can be for some. Many gifted kids have a deep sense of honor and for them serving in the military is an honorable way to earn a living. Some gifted kids also like the regimen the military provides, and they like much of the pomp and circumstance. The military also offers training in many different occupations and then provides some funding for those who want additional education. Speaking from experience, I can say that it's not easy to let your child go to the military, knowing he may be deployed to some dangerous spot in the world. However, for some gifted kids, the military is still a good choice.

Is College the Right Choice for Your Child?

As you explore career options with your child, you don't have to push college, but you don't want to ignore it either. Is college the best path for your child to take? Interests and temperament can help determine whether it is or not. It's not necessary to go to college to gain information these days either. So much is available online now that people can learn a great deal without setting foot on a college campus - even though many of the lectures and lessons available online are from colleges, including some offered by Harvard, MIT, and Berkley. Much of what's available, such as that from Khan Academy, is free, so there is no debt to worry about!

Finding the Right College

If college is the right path for your child, then you'll want to make sure she goes to the college that is best for her. The best college is not always an Ivy League school. If your child wants to sing opera, for example, Indiana University is undoubtedly a better choice than Harvard.

College Planning for Gifted and Talented Youth

It's never too early to start planning for college. Okay, it can actually be too early to plan for college. Worry about college when your child hadn't started kindergarten yet is pointless. If you want to start saving money for college, fine. That makes sense. After all, that money can be help your child get started in a career even if that career doesn't include college. While kindergarten is too soon to worry about college, senior year in high school is a bit late to start the process. Sandra Berger recommends that kids start exploring possibilities starting in 7th grade. She explains what colleges look for in applicants, too.

Helping Your Teen Make the Right College Choice

Some gifted kids are underachievers and won't have much of a chance of getting into the best of the best colleges. Some may not have seriously considered college until their senior year either. Although it may seem that your teen is doomed to failure if he falls into one of those categories, that's not necessarily true. Many gifted people started out as underachievers who, if attending college, went to colleges not known for producing exceptional and successful graduates. One such person is Colin Powell.

Choosing the Right College

Once you and your teen have settled on a college career path and understand that different college options are available, you can more freely start exploring the many, many different colleges that your child can attend. Reputation isn't the only thing to consider when choosing a college. Other factors include the size and location of the college as well as the kind and amount of support offered to students.

Final Thought

What's really important is that your child find and follow the path that is best for him. You can help him or her do just that

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