The future depends on what you do today – Mahatma Gandhi
Till Class 12, everything would be smooth sailing for school students. Of course, the tensions of exams, projects and assignments would have been there, but they would not have had to compete with the outside world. After Class 12, when they step out of their comfort zone, then arises the big question. ‘WHAT NEXT?’
Some students would have decided their next steps and would be preparing for necessary entrance exams. Some would be applying to colleges of their choice. However, there are a vast majority of students who do not know what to do after school. Looking at their peers who have decided on their next course of action, adds extra pressure on them. They either follow the footsteps of an older sibling or a senior, but they actually do not know if that is right for them.
This is where Career Counsellors step in and add value. They need career guidance after 12th. But for this, you should first understand their problems and then come up with a solution.
Let us look at some of the common problems faced by the Students of Class 12, and how as Career Counsellors, we can help in resolving them.
Choosing the Wrong Stream
Students choose a stream that they think would suit them the best due to various reasons. This could be due to Peer pressure, pressure from parents, lack of knowledge about the subjects, etc, which I would discuss later in the article.
However, it is only later in class 11 they realize that they have no interest in the stream and subjects they are studying. By then it would be too late for them to correct their decision and retrace their steps. Hence, they would have to go through it and it is only after class 12, that they make the choice to move to something of interest to them for their graduation.
As a career counsellor, I have come across many students who have chosen subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Computer science, having neither the aptitude nor interest in those subjects. This is because their parents would have forced them to take it up, hoping to make their wards into Engineers. Sometimes, because their friends are taking up this stream, they feel pressured to take it up too. At times, they don’t know much about the commerce and humanities subjects; so they decide to take up familiar subjects.
I have faced another situation during my visits to schools to address the class 10 students about the importance of career counselling, wherein the school authorities have asked me to de-mystify the common assumption that the first group with Maths, Physics and Chemistry are for the brighter students, and Commerce and Humanities are for the dull students. Hence, there are not many takers for the Commerce and Humanities groups.
As Counsellors, we need to address the students in class 10, and briefly explain to them the importance of Commerce and Humanities subjects. In the world today, help them understand various career options available for those streams. We will also have to advise parents on the suitability of those streams for their children.
While counselling a Class 11 or 12 student, who feels stuck in the wrong group, we need to educate them on various career options that they are eligible to consider and accordingly help them choose the right course in college which might not be related to the group that they have chosen in school. This will give them the confidence that there is hope for their future, and it is never too late for them to remedy the decision that they have made earlier.
We could also give them the Ideal Career Test, and based on the results, chart out a new Career map for them.
Dealing with Peer Pressure
Peer pressure could be anywhere in life. However, for school students, it could seem very suffocating. That’s why they need career guidance after 12th. As Counsellors, when we explain various career options available to them and as they gain more knowledge on the careers and subjects, they are able to overcome Peer pressure and make their own decisions, knowing what is best for them.
Dealing with Pressure from Parents
Most Indian parents like to decide what their children need to study. Some like to live their dreams through their children. Some parents think that only careers like Engineering or Medicine are good for their children. We cannot blame parents, as they are also not aware of the new and emerging careers. However, it’s important to make parents understand what career is the best for their child and resolve their conflict if any.
As counsellors, when we notice this, we can counsel the parents too, and show them the growth path that their child would have, if he or she chooses another Career, in line with their dreams. Ultimately parents also want to make sure that the children get good jobs and earn well to live a comfortable life. Such parents would be willing to listen to the Counsellor’s advice.
Too much Information
Today, there is so much information available on the internet, and students get confused. They surf on the internet, hoping for answers to their questions, but the internet confuses them further.
As counsellors, we can understand their problems and give them the right solutions and just the information that they need, to make their choices, without confusing them further.
I would also like to add two more problems that Students in class 12 face today. They are,
Schools and Parents, Failing to Understand the Importance of Career Counselling & Career Guidance After 12th
Career counselling is still in the nascent stage in India. Many school managements fail to understand the importance of career counselling for their students. Also, parents are not aware of career counselling. We, as counsellors, need to create more awareness among schools and parents of how important career counselling is for students and they can benefit from it.
Demand and Supply of Career Counsellors
Today, India needs over 1.5 million career counsellors to cater to more than 330 million students. Metro cities have a limited number of career counsellors and smaller towns do not have anyone to help students. Hence, there is a need for more people in various towns to train themselves as career counsellors and meet the growing demand. This would ensure that most students have access to career counselling.
Career counselling is a career for today and the future too. In this technology-friendly era, nothing can replace the role of a career counsellor. It is here to stay!!
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions – Stephen Covey
Ending the article with this inspirational quote, I just want to tell my fellow counsellors and aspiring ones that students require career guidance after 12th. To help them, you can need to be skilled enough. You should have that information and validation to counsel a student and show them the right career path. It is a recession-proof industry. If you love to help students with making career decisions, become a Global Career Counsellor.
The Global Career Counsellor Program by Univariety in Collaboration with UCLA Extension is an industry ready program. It is an all-in-one guide to learn about career counselling that covers techniques and trends to best practices.