What is it? How can I succeed?
Career Exploration Project is the ultimate opportunity for seniors to get a head start on their futures. The class is designed to provide hands-on experience in a career / field of personal interest (may be community service). The Career Exploration Project revolves around your student’s involvement with a mentor. Your student is required to select a mentor from a profession reflective of their personal career choice. The student and the mentor must meet for a minimum of 45 hours. Completion of these hours is a mandatory requirement for passing the course.
To be prepared, juniors who will be seniors in the fall should take time this summer to consider careers they might want to investigate in Career Exploration Project and if possible, find a mentor with whom they can work during the course. Please be aware, this course is a mandatory graduation requirement for your student. We truly believe that this will end up being one of the most rewarding courses your student has taken thus far in high school.
The culmination of the Career Exploration Project is a presentation about the student’s project to a panel of judges from the school and the community. There will be no make-up days for presentations. Therefore, it is important for your student to clear their schedule for this day.
To see more paperwork and dates, please see the CAREER EXPLORATION CALENDAR.
At the end of each semester, seniors write a reflection paper on their experience in Career Explorations, answering the question “What would you advise your friends and other seniors about this class?”. The things almost all the seniors say are: “Find a mentor as soon as possible, one that won’t flake out on you.”, “Take the class seriously or you choose to fail—and that’s stupid.”, “Don’t slack—keep up with assignments so you don’t get behind because it catches up with you and you don’t have extra credit or late grades to help you out.”, “It’s worth it to face your fears and shortcomings in this class so that you can change and do better in life—because once you’re on your own, these lessons will be very valuable.”, and “I didn’t think I would get anything out of this class, and I resented putting in the time when I was working and taking four AP courses, but I learned that the career I have wanted to do my whole life isn’t for me after all, and I found out what I really should be doing—and that was worth all the work”.
Students and parents often ask the same questions about Career Explorations for Seniors. Why do students have to do this? Why, if it isn’t a college required course, does Valencia require it? What can a student possibly get out of this class? And why do students have to put in 45 hrs of time working on a project with a mentor in a career when they may not have any idea of what they want to do?
Some of the answers as to why students take Career Explorations…
- To learn skills that are essential in the working world such as cold calling, making, keeping and following through on appointments
- To meet standards, show competency, and developing relationships with positive role models.
- To get into a preparedness mode for growing up, making informed decisions, getting responsible.
- To investigate a career without having to invest years of college, finding a job and then learn it just isn’t right for you—or during the course, learn it is just the right thing!
- To prove to yourself and your peers that you can think creatively, critically.
- To expand your awareness beyond your comfort zone.
- To become part of business community, create possible networking between yourself and the workforce, and get the sense of accomplishment that comes with that.
- To cap the previous three years of investing in your future with a positive, forward-thinking presentation of what you are capable of.
- To take the 5 hrs a week of the class and put it into hours doing a project in which you learn about a career, work in it, feel what the responsibilities and joys are (since the class meets only once a week for 10-20 minutes).
It’s been proven that students who come into Career Explorations with an open mind, a willingness to invest in themselves and in their future, and work hard to accomplish the goals set up in the course are more successful after high school than those who fail to get involved. Since well over 100 community leaders endorse this program, are involved as mentors, evaluators, and future employers, the impact for students is immeasurable. Their comments in support of this program after evaluations are glowing. Many say they wished they had something like this when they were in high school. And some find their future employees!
Please encourage your sons and daughters to get a head start on their Career Explorations class next year. Think ahead, plan, and find a mentor. This course will have a great impact on your student and exemplifies our schools motto: “Learning for Life”.