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Being a snow day here it seemed like a great day for me to work with my teenager on the college search. Let me report that it is the last thing she wanted to do with this sudden found day off, but being the mom, I insisted. Being the teenage daughter, she made it hard, you know, in the usual teenage ways.

And truly, it was pretty boring as we poked around college websites looking at majors and trying to imagine what would one do with, say, a sociology degree. Individual colleges help by pointing out what their graduates typically do with their degrees, but it is abstract to high school kids, and even to me. I dragged us to a website called onetonline.org that I learned about when I was working recently with a career counselor at UGA on behalf of my grown nephew who I’d been helping to get some focus for the future. This woman had been fantastic in guiding us through the process of figuring out where he might best fit career-wise given his interests and skills and abilities. Precisely what a high school student could use as well.

So before you knew it she’d taken the Holland Quiz online and had an assessment of her ‘type’ and we’d plugged that into the search engine that then produced a list of logical careers. Not that it is this easy to figure out your path in life, but suddenly she was smiling as she quickly looked up each career, excitedly saying, ‘Yeah, this looks cool!”. With no more effort than that we were on a path that significantly change our course of searching. Now when we visit colleges we will request a meeting with someone in the departments related to careers that looked most interesting. I know from experience that doing this will help focus her and help lead her more comfortably towards her future.

Here on the third kid I am sure it is not a simple project to guide our children where they need to go. But I also know that putting in the time in the chair, next to them, reflecting back their own interests and excitements can make it happen.