How many times does a high school student hear the question, “what do you want to do when you graduate?”
At the beginning of Junior year Dearborn students get paired with a Career Services counselor and meet with them individually once a week for the next two years. This valuable service is for the purpose of helping the student prepare to apply to college, gain entrance into training programs and/or develop work skills for independent living after Dearborn.
For students who are college bound, career services counselors work closely with them around all aspects of the college application process. Students receive guidance and help in preparing for the SAT or ACT, and in signing up to take the tests. Counselors help the student find two or four year colleges appropriate to the student's interests and frequently visit those colleges with the student. Help in filling out applications and financial aid forms (FAFSA) removes some of the anxiety felt by our students. When necessary, the counselor will help line up academic supports at the college to ensure the student's successful transition as that big step is taken.
Not everyone finds a college path to be the most desirable way to transition from Dearborn. Depending on their interests and talents, students are helped to access training programs in the trades. Many build on experiences they have had in our own extensive shop programs. Still others branch out in new areas and look for different apprentice opportunities. For still others, time with the career services counselor is spent getting help in actually finding a job or enlisting in the military services.
Students needing ongoing assistance beyond their Dearborn graduation are able to get help in connecting with appropriate state agencies that provide continuing services to high school graduates. This can involve a period of counseling, additional academic support and directed assistance in finding meaningful work.
In all of these instances, counselors teach interviewing skills and provide targeted help as students fill out applications, write resumes or cover letters, and pull together the necessary documentation typically required by potential employers, training sites and schools. Students even receive personal coaching on how to best demonstrate their enthusiasm and competence for possible positions and openings, helping give them the best chance to take a next important step in reaching their own goals.
Creating A Roadmap
Career Service counselors serve a myriad of purposes and meet the many needs of our Juniors and Seniors related to their transition plans. For many students, creating such a roadmap for the future can be a daunting task. "Where AM I going to go? What AM I going to do?" These are big questions for students ... and their parents. Dearborn Academy’s Career Services professionals help students reduce the anxiety involved in imagining the future and work to put every student on a clear path toward success.
"Career Services takes a team approach." says Marina Gonzalea, Acting Coordinator of the Career Services Department, "Whenever we can, we try to work closely with the student, the family, teachers and clinicians to address his or her concerns and see how they relate to success in high school, employment and transition planning." Working together students and counselors identify transition optionssuited to the student's strengths, interests and learning style. One hundred percent of our graduating students leave with a personalized transition plan that acts as the first step along the road beyond Dearborn.
The Extra Step
"Even after graduation, Dearborn is there to help," says Ms. Gonzalea. "We assist students in finding additional support and training. Even when the student graduates, our department is available for continued services and support." Whether returning for a special event or just dropping in to have an informal conversation with one of the counselors, students have come to see this school as being totally committed to helping them create positive futures.