What kind of career counseling do high
schoolers receive? A recent survey of public high school
counselors, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s
National Center for Education Statistics, answers that and
other related questions.
The survey measured the availability and use of
counseling programs and services in 2002, including those
related to career planning. Nearly all high school
counselors (98 percent) who responded to the survey
reported that their schools offered individual counseling,
with most (78 percent) of the juniors and seniors
participating. Fewer high schools offered courses in
career decisionmaking (57 percent).
||Percent of public
high schools offering
and seniors participating
oriented presentations by speakers
internships, and other exploratory programs
days or nights
The table shows some other
widely offered career-counseling activities, the
percentage of schools that offered them in 2002, and the
percentage of juniors and seniors who participated in the
activities if they were available.
The survey measured how the use of these activities
varied by school size and demographics. Counseling
priorities, counselors’ professional development, and the schools’ use of written plans and
standards for their counseling programs also were
For a free copy of the "High School Guidance
Counseling" report, which contains the survey
results, call the National Center for Education Statistics’
Fast Response System toll-free, 1 (877) 4-ED-PUBS (433–7827);
write the center’s Institute of Education Sciences, 1990
K Street NW., Washington, DC 20006; or go online:
Are you long on career goals but short on
required education or experience? Uncle Sam might be able
to assist you.
year, the Federal Government offers more than 400
educational scholarships, fellowships, grants,
internships, and co-op programs. Some provide financial
support, and others give students a chance to gain work
experience; still others do both. Offerings vary, from
scholarships for nursing students to internships with
Federal agencies, but have a common purpose: to provide
educational enrichment or support and to encourage
A new website, e-Scholar, from the U.S.
Office of Personnel Management, makes it easy to compare
benefits of programs to find the ones that are best for
you. For example, many programs are designed for and are
limited to students who are studying a particular subject,
such as science, mathematics, or engineering. Each program
has its own requirements, the details of which are
available on the individual programs’ websites via links
from the e-Scholar site: www.studentjobs.gov/e-scholar.asp.
Information also is available by writing
to the Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street NW.,
Washington, DC 20415–1000, or by calling (202) 606–1800.
Helping others—including serving our country—seems
to be the unifying theme among people seeking career information
from the new Occupational Outlook Handbook online. In the
first 3 months since the 2004–05 Handbook became
available on the Internet (in late February), 8 of the 10 most
visited Handbook statements were ones with information
about people-helping occupations.
Visits to the occupational statement for
preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary
teachers topped the list, with more than 271,000 total visits
for March, April, and May combined—including nearly 97,000 in
March alone. The statement for registered nurses was next most
popular, with a total of more than 261,000 visits. Career
surfers might be pleased to discover that these occupations are
projected to have good to excellent opportunities over the 2002–12
decade. New jobs are expected to number about 666,000 for the
teachers and 623,000 for the registered nurses.
Rounding out the top 10 for Handbook
statements visited online during the 3-month period were those
for designers (with 258,000 visits), physicians and surgeons
(232,000), lawyers (198,000), job opportunities in the U.S.
Armed Forces (188,000), police and detectives (177,000),
psychologists (171,000), social workers (154,000), and
advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales
managers (145,000). Overall, the Handbook had more than
5˝ million hits in each of the months studied.
Visit the Handbook on the Internet at www.bls.gov/oco/home.htm
and use the online index or search feature to learn more about
the occupations that interest you.
Many career counselors recommend volunteering,
in part to gain work experience. New surveys from the Bureau of
Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES) shed light on who volunteers, what they do,
and how often they do it.
According to BLS, 29 percent of people over age
16 volunteered between September 2002 and September 2003. Teens
aged 16 to 19 were slightly ahead of that average, with a
volunteer rate of almost 30 percent. The most common volunteer
activities for teenagers were coaching, tutoring, or teaching;
providing labor; and fundraising or selling items to raise
money. But some teens performed more unique work: 6 percent
provided professional or management services, such as serving on
a planning committee; 19 percent did artistic work; and 5
percent gave counseling, medical, or protective services.
Overall, teens worked a median of 40 volunteer hours over the
Young adults aged 20 to 24 had a volunteer rate
of 20 percent. Adults aged 35 to 44 volunteered most often;
those 65 and over volunteered least often, but the ones who did
led all volunteers in the number of hours donated.
Overall, people were more likely to volunteer if
they were college graduates, married, the parents of children
under age 18, or working part time.
Offering another look at volunteerism is the
National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 from the U.S.
Department of Education’s NCES, which focuses on the volunteer
activities of teenagers and young adults. The survey follows the
volunteer activity of people who were high school seniors in
1992. Within that group, 46 percent of people volunteered in
high school: 38 percent did so freely, with 18 percent required
to give of their time and talents. Mirroring the results of the
BLS survey, the study shows that volunteering decreased
dramatically 2 years and 8 years after graduation.
People who volunteered in high school were more
likely to volunteer as adults, but this result held only for
those who had volunteered freely. Those who were required to
volunteer had adult rates that were nearly identical to rates
for people who had not volunteered.
Students in the highest socioeconomic category
had the highest rates of volunteering in high school and later.
Those in the lowest socioeconomic category had the lowest rates,
but the gap narrowed over time.
The results of the BLS survey,
"Volunteering in the United States, 2003," are
available by calling (202) 691–5902; they are also online at www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.toc.htm.
The NCES survey, "Volunteer Service by Young People from
High School through Early Adulthood," is available by
calling toll-free, 1 (877) 4-ED-PUBS (433–7827), or visiting
online at nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004365.pdf.