Teens who have direction vs. teens who don’t.

Like half of all good American parents out there, you’re stressing. Your teen has no idea what she wants to do with her life. 

Or, like the other half of all good American parents, you’re feeling a little smug. Ahead of the game. Your teen wants to be a doctor. He already knows what he wants, so planning for the next steps should be smooth sailing.

But the truth is, the teens who know what they want to do or study… and the teens who don’t… are in the exact same spot.

Yup, that’s right. To further confuse you, let me break this down even more for you:

  1. Teens who know what they want to do for a career (i.e. doctor) are in one spot.
  2. Teens who know what they want to study (i.e. medicine) are in that same spot.
  3. Teens who have no idea what they want to do OR study are–you guessed it–in that exact same spot.

You’re probably thinking: Why?? This makes no sense!

Well, it does–and here’s why: career titles like “doctors”–and areas of study like “medicine”–are too broad to define in today’s working world.

Once upon a time, people could go to school to study something as general as “medicine” and become something as general as the town “doctor.” Simple.

But think about it–how many different types of doctors and medical specialists can you think of…in your area…just off the top of your head?

And to even further complicate things–there are countless more specialties in the field of medicine that don’t necessarily mean you should go to medical school. In fact, there are some in which going to medical school would be a huge waste of time and finances. (A whole separate discussion–so e-mail us at hello@collegeliftoff.com if you want more insight!)

So, even teens that have direction must do the career development work. Just like the teens that don’t have a clue what they want to do or study. 

Here’s a real-life example:

We have a student who came to us wanting to to go medical school to be a doctor. Made sense–his dad is a doctor, he looks up to his dad and he’s been exposed to his dad’s work.

But after talking with him, he realized his special interests at the time were really in radiological sciences. (This career path does not require medical school.) So we worked with him to explore that field and educational path–including schools. We set him up with job shadowing in hospitals.

But after much job-shadowing and research, he discovered that radiological science wasn’t what he had previously thought. It just wasn’t for him. So we continued to do research with him and set up him up on other job shadowing opportunities, and he discovered podiatry.

Now, he’s graduating this month and heading off to a university with a great podiatry program that offered him more than $25,000 in scholarships. Amazing!

But none of this would’ve happened without the proper career development work.

See, most kids only know general areas of study. They know “doctor,” “lawyer,” “psychologist,” “nurse,” and “my dad does ___.”

But they don’t know what specialties are even within these careers…or what majors lead to those specialties…or what these jobs even look like in real life.

To make it even more confusing for them–and you, as the parent–there are hundreds of majors out there. Often the same-sounding majors really specialize in totally different things at different schools.

OMG. Right?

That’s why proper career development work–with experts who know the ins and outs of majors between different schools–and proper job shadowing are so important for students before they even think of applying to colleges.

In fact, don’t even think about visiting colleges before doing proper career development work.

So what should you do as a parent?

  1. Do your research and make an appointment with a college planner (one that will give you some solid free advice before you commit to working with them). Check out Google reviews or the Better Business Bureau for a good idea of where to start.
  2. Read, listen and learn about majors (like the differences between similar-sounding majors and which majors could lead to massive amounts of student loan debt).
  3. And seriously–give us a call just to chat anytime. Drop us a line. We are passionate about changing the future by launching this generation off to success form the start–and not hindering them with worthless degrees and debt.


College Liftoff is Ohio’s premier college planning firmSince 2009, College Liftoff has helped hundreds of teens find their best-fitting colleges and career paths, while saving their families more than $30 million in higher education costs.  College Liftoff’s motto is “securing your son or daughter’s brightest future…and saving you thousands of dollars along the way.” Let them do the same for  you.

Call 614-329-6633 or visit collegeliftoff.com.