College and Career Planning

Overview

College and Career Planning in K-12

To help get students ready for college or a career by the end of high school, many SREB states have implemented college and career planning measures in earlier grades. These include activities such as student success or graduation planning; meeting with advisors, tutors and mentors, and programs aimed at supporting subgroups who traditionally struggle to succeed in high school. (Updated October, 2017)

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Arkansas
College and Career Planning in K-12

Middle grades students explore careers, but state policy does not require high school graduation plans and postsecondary advisement until ninth grade. State rules require school counselors to provide a “career planning process for each student to include career awareness, employment readiness, career information, and the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve career goals.”

The Arkansas Works program leverages federal funds to deliver college and career planning to middle grades and high school students through a corps of career coaches. These career coaches provide several types of support, including tutoring, mentoring, and career and financial aid counseling. The same program supports the Arkansas College and Career Planning System, an online platform that allows students to explore education and career options.

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Delaware
College and Career Planning in K-12

All Delaware public school students in grades eight through 12 develop a Student Success Plan with their parents or guardians and the student’s advisor. The purpose of the SSP is to monitor the student’s academic progress to ensure an on-time graduation, educate students about their college and career options, and offer support if a student is failing or in danger of failing courses required for high school graduation.

Information and resource guides for students and parents concerning the Student Success Plan and college and career planning are available on Delaware’s college information website, DelawareGoestoCollege.org

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Florida
College and Career Planning in K-12

Eighth grade students must complete a one-unit course in career and education planning and create personalized academic and career plans. The course provides information related to diploma options, assessment requirements, scholarships, and accelerated learning options.

Florida House Bill 5101 (2014) requires the development of an online student advisement system. The online platform will allow students to search public colleges and universities to identify programs of study that align with their career and academic interests and abilities.

KnowHow2GoFlorida is a Web portal provided by the Florida College Access Network that provides targeted guidance for middle grades and high school students and their families to help plan for college.

Florida CHOICES is the state’s official career information portal. Students can create an online account, develop an academic and career planning portfolio, and learn how to apply for college and financial aid.

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Georgia
College and Career Planning in K-12

State policy requires the completion of individual student graduation plans by the end of eighth grade, and the completion of specific student advisement activities in each high school grade. For instance, students learn about dual enrollment opportunities to help in the development of a college and career plan. GAcollege411.org is a statewide portal that provides access to online resources for students and their families to help them plan, apply and pay for college.

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Kentucky
College and Career Planning in K-12

By the end of sixth grade, students develop individual learning plans aligned with academic and career interests. Each district must provide information on career opportunities and financial aid. House Bill 87 (2014) now requires the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to publish information on the employment and earning of college graduates in the state, so that high school students can make better-informed decisions about future careers.

Each student writes the plan with the help of parents and school counselors; the plan outlines the student’s learning goals and helps guide the course of their studies through the middle grades, high school, and into college. The plan emphasizes postsecondary goal-setting and the pursuit of a robust academic experience, including appropriate extracurricular activities and electives.

Kentucky administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program to prepare middle grades students for college and to create or expand programs that strengthen schools. Kentucky also administers the EXPLORE high school readiness test to eighth-grade students and the PLAN college-readiness test to 10th-graders. The state administers the ACT for all 11th-grade students. In addition, all preparatory seniors who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education are eligible to take the ACT WorkKeys exams at state expense. These four assessments are part of ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System.

Kentucky launched a new online portal in 2008 called Graduate Kentucky. Its mission is to reach out to students at risk of dropping out of school and to encourage them to continue in school through graduation. The site also contains information for students, parents, school counselors, community volunteers and business leaders. Its website is Graduate.KY.gov.

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority provides access to multiple online tools for Kentucky students and their families to help them plan, apply, and pay for college. Current Web resources can be found at KHEAA.com and Knowhow2goKY.org

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Louisiana
College and Career Planning in K-12

High school students develop Individual Graduation Plans with the help of their parents and school counselors. Students choose a career concentration that informs their selection of academic electives. School counselors are responsible for meeting with students, advising on academic choices and helping students update their plans throughout high school.

The Louisiana Department of Education, Board of Regents and other state education agencies provide access to online tools for Louisiana students and their families to help them plan, apply and pay for college at www.KnowHow2GoLouisiana.org.

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Maryland
College and Career Planning in K-12

Students develop four-year high school plans of study and identify career opportunities, but Maryland State Board rules do not specify when tasks must be completed.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and the Maryland State Department of Education provide access to MD Go 4 It, a Web portal for Maryland students and their families to help them plan, apply and pay for college. Current resources can be accessed online at MDgo4it.org. MHEC conducts live “Money for College” financial aid presentations across the State.

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Mississippi
College and Career Planning in K-12

The Mississippi Department of Education created the Pathways to Success initiative to train counselors, teachers, and school administrators in delivering a career-based advisement system. The state requires schools to develop individual career and academic plans (iCAPs) for students beginning in eighth grade. Students explore 16 career clusters, choose graduation pathways and begin exploring postsecondary options.

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the Mississippi Department of Education, and the Mississippi Community College Board administer a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program to help low-income students prepare for college. It provides enrichment, recruitment and financial aid; family and community engagement, tutoring and mentoring; professional development for teachers, counselors and principals; and technology resources. More information is available at GearUpMS.org.

Mississippi also offers online resources at RiseUpMS.com, a statewide Web portal designed to help students and their families plan for college.

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North Carolina
College and Career Planning in K-12

The North Carolina State Board of Education requires schools to provide college and career planning to middle grades and high school students but do not designate specific activities or timelines.The University of North Carolina System administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program, which targets school districts with high poverty and low college-going rates. The goal of the program is to increase the number of high school graduates who enroll in college and complete a degree or certificate.

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Oklahoma
College and Career Planning in K-12

Oklahoma requires graduation plans for all students starting in ninth grade. State law, however, requires early graduation plans for students at risk of dropping out of high school or not graduating on time. Eligible middle grades students may fill out an application for Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship.

State law authorizes districts to develop mentorship programs to promote higher graduation rates for at-risk students. Mentors provide advice and counsel to students on crafting their graduation plans, exploring careers and selecting courses.

Oklahoma administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program, which partners with rural school districts with high poverty rates and low college-going rates to provide academic planning, mentoring, financial aid planning and college application assistance.

The Oklahoma College Assistance Program offers UCanGo2, a comprehensive college access and outreach Web portal that aims to facilitate access to postsecondary education in Oklahoma and educate students, parents, instructors, counselors and community partners about preparing, planning and paying for college. Components include campus and community workshops, print publications, a college planning hotline and a variety of online tools. Its website is UCanGo2.org.

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South Carolina
College and Career Planning in K-12

The South Carolina Department of Education disburses over $21 million in state funds annually to support the hiring of school guidance personnel who have completed the Career Development Facilitator (CDF) training and/or earned global CDF certification.

In accordance with the Education and Economic Development Act of 2005, these guidance personnel are responsible for ensuring that all middle school students have numerous opportunities to explore career options and complete career interest assessments prior to developing their individual graduation plans, with assistance from their parents/guardians and school counselors. The IGPs for eighth grade students identify the students’ choices of one or more of the 16 career clusters as focus areas. Students may change their choices of clusters at any time.

In high school, tenth grade students are required to narrow their focus areas by selecting academic majors within their chosen clusters. The selection of a major is also documented in the graduation plan to guide students in the selection of elective courses as they form their college and career aspirations beyond graduation.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program. The objectives of GEAR UP are to increase high school students’ academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education. Students in the program receive the following:

  • Tutoring and mentorship
  • Introduction to institutions of higher education through trips and school-based sessions
  • Informational sessions regarding financial aid for postsecondary education

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education also offers SC CAN (www.SCCANGO.org), a statewide portal that provides access to online resources for South Carolina students, families, and educational professionals. Visitors are able to view the site through mobile, computer, and tablet devices, access information through social media, watch videos, view pictures, download resources, receive news and program updates, read student blogs, submit success stories, and view an interactive calendar of events.

Beginning July 1, 2014, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education awarded funding to a Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness at Francis Marion University. This Center will partner with school districts, technical colleges, economic development centers, and four-year colleges and universities to prepare students for postsecondary success. The Center will provide resources, programs, and support for existing and new P-20 initiatives and stakeholders (including administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and students). Further, the Center will conduct research to further an understanding of how best to prepare South Carolina’s students for the challenges they face beyond high school.

Using the South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Center (SC TRAC), students can better plan their progression to a degree by identifying and taking courses that will transfer toward a degree program at a public institution. Using SC TRAC, students can easily locate information related to transfer and access transfer agreements, search for course equivalencies to determine how courses taken at one institution transfer to another, and find detailed and up-to-date information on degree pathways.

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Tennessee
College and Career Planning in K-12

Tennessee State Board of Education policy outlines the importance of beginning career exploration in middle school. The expectation is that eighth-grade students explore career opportunities and develop high school transition plans, as well as six-year plans for high school through postsecondary education. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission administers Tennessee’s federally-funded GEAR UP TN grant program, a seven-year discretionary grant program that aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation students enrolling and succeeding in college across 15 Tennessee counties. GEAR UP TN provides direct services to a cohort of students, the Class of 2018, beginning in the 7th grade and continuing through the cohort’s first year of postsecondary education. GEAR UP TN also provides services to students in the senior class of participating high schools each grant year.

As part of this grant, the Tennessee Department of Education and THEC offer CollegeforTN.org, an online Web resource that provides information for Tennessee students and their families to help them plan, apply and pay for college.

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation provides an additional statewide Web portal, CollegePays to help students and their families plan for college.

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Texas
College and Career Planning in K-12

Middle grades students who have failed a state test or are not likely to graduate high school on time must complete personal graduation plans. All other students complete such plans beginning in ninth grade. Districts must inform students entering ninth grade during the 2014-2015 school year about the endorsement requirement and about the distinguished level of achievement.

The College for All Texans campaign is a project of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The goal of the campaign is to increase college-going rates of Texas high school graduates. The campaign provides information for parents and for middle and high school students about preparing, applying and paying for college. The project also provides materials to schools and other organizations to help them promote college readiness, financial aid options and postsecondary education to Texas students. Its website is CollegeForAllTexans.com.

Generation TX is a statewide portal provided by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that offers access to online resources for students and their families to help them plan for college. Its website is GenTX.org.

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Virginia
College and Career Planning in K-12

Seventh and eighth graders develop academic and career plans and receive counseling about opportunities for obtaining industry certifications prior to high school graduation, as well as learning about Advanced Placement and dual enrollment options. Students receive their academic and career plans before they enter the ninth and 11th grades. The plan includes a high school program of study that is aligned with a postsecondary career pathway and/or college entrance.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program to help low-income students prepare for college. The program delivers early college activities through summer school on college campuses, neighborhood academies and parental-involvement initiatives, and scholarships for eligible participants.

Virginia offers online resources through two Web portals: I-am-the-one.com and the Virginia Education Wizard (http://VAwizard.org). Both sites help students learn more about college and work-based learning opportunities.

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West Virginia
College and Career Planning in K-12

Schools should provide structured opportunities for students to explore and plan for careers. The school will engage student advisors to use these activities to develop the personalized education plan. Advisors will assist students and their parents in utilizing their various interests, learning styles, career and academic assessments to guide educational planning and career choices.

School Counseling and Student Advisement

A standards-focused, integrated, and comprehensive school counseling program will help high school students acquire the skills to prepare for high school and postsecondary success. School counselors will work collaboratively with other school staff to assist students with academic and postsecondary planning that leads to seamless transitions to the identified postsecondary options.

High schools will implement student advisement systems that provide students with meaningful, supportive relationships and maximize each student’s personalized learning experience. An adult advocate, advisor, or mentor will take an interest in each student’s successful learning, goal setting, career planning and personal growth. Schools should implement an evidence-based advisory system that integrates school success and career-readiness skills (e.g., work ethic, communication skills, teamwork, personal responsibility, organization, financial literacy, and study skills).

Postsecondary Access and Completion Initiatives

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education strive to facilitate and create a statewide culture that values education and actively cultivates the academic achievement of all citizens, regardless of age or income. The Division of Student Affairs coordinates several college access and completion initiatives, including:

College Foundation of West Virginia is a college readiness outreach initiative aimed at helping students plan, apply, and pay for college. The one-stop college planning website is CFWV.com. The division also has launched a pilot project, funded by the Kresge Foundation, to provide students with college counseling and college-planning reminders via text message. Other CFWV outreach activities include training educators and community outreach professionals to provide in-depth college counseling, coordinating West Virginia’s statewide “College Application and Exploration Week” event, and engaging the community in promoting a stronger college-going culture across the state. Additionally, the division supports the work of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Financial Aid in informing students of the availability of financial aid and assists in the efforts of the Commission to help adult students complete college degrees. The West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, and various other educational organizations are partners in these efforts.