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Old 04-17-2015, 05:26 AM   #21
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Start with a walk in the woods. That's what we did. Find out what makes her happy, what she feels secure about.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:50 AM   #22
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I am in IT (for another year, then ER for me!) and I do a lot of career days at high schools. What I tell students is that everything I work on today didn't even exist 10 years ago. In the 70's you couldn't even find a robust computer science curriculum. College is to get you ready for the unknown, not the known. And it's not just an IT thing. Almost any career you can imagine has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Medicine has had many breakthroughs. World culture is fundamentally different in a much more global economy. My daughter is a teacher and the way they now teach is different. Several of my nieces and nephews graduated from college with degrees that the university doesn't even offer any more, even they are changing at a phenomenal rate. So college is all about exploring *and* about learning to be part of that change, whatever it might bring. If the world is going to change, then picking the exact path is impossible anyways. Hang in there and don't stress about it!
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:01 AM   #23
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Sorry for the long post. My DS ended up doing a double major in disparate fields, so he ended up taking slightly over five years. He will be a credentialed music teacher but also have a separate degree in video and sound editing and web design. Much of the software they are using didn't exist when he started college. He's also teaching himself programming languages as needed to fill in the gaps.

Another thing I wanted to share is the general education requirements have greatly expanded since I was in college in the 70s and the course offerings are more relevant and robust. I am impressed with the multiple skills and interests DS has developed in college.

Lastly, do not underestimate your influence as a parent. I call DS about once a week. I share with him some new tidbit on investing I learned from a book or from Bogleheads, or here, and then listen to him for the next 30 minutes about the exciting things he's learning and doing. It's clear both majors were suited to him, but the media stuff fits his INTJ personality much better than teaching, and there's probably more $$ for him in that field.

Ultimately a parent's job at this stage is to be the audience for the play that is the young adult's life. Bits of coaching are powerful. Take that 8 hour trip to the testing center for the Myers Briggs test. It could be a summer weekend trip. Get two adjoining hotel rooms. The trip could turn into a priceless memory. Don't expect the test to be as important as the journey and the time together. Just the two of you. When it's both parents, the kid feels ganged-up on. Let her learn more about you, a little bit.

One of the highlights of my parenting life was being stuck on I-81 in a Virginia blizzard in Snowmaggedon 2010 in the middle of a multi-car pileup with DS returning from his college audition. He studied, I read, we talked, we ate the chips and carrots we brought along, we turned the rented SUV on for the heated seats when needed. Planning for the trip by renting an AWD vehicle was another lesson for DS. The mature behavior exhibited by all the stranded motorists was also a powerful teacher.


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Old 04-17-2015, 11:46 AM   #24
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Thanks everyone all this information is helping out a lot and really setting us on the right path. I'm actually looking into that Johnson O'Connor testing. But the closest one to me is at least 8 hours away.

I can honestly say that the Johnson O'Connor test was life altering for my son. Until then, he was switching majors almost every semester. After it, he switched from a non-science major to Computer Science and is doing very well and is very happy with the change (and we save money as he is now taking only courses that actually relate to his degree rather than flitting around every semester). My daughter was younger (still in high school) when she did it so it didn't cause as great a change for her, but it was helpful to her in choosing her course of study.

EastWest Gal - Johnson O'Connor doesn't do Myers Briggs. It does 2 full days of aptitude testing. It is way more valuable than Myers Briggs testing (I do think Myers Briggs is interesting as well but that is easily obtainable usually without traveling).
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Old 04-17-2015, 12:25 PM   #25
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I think the OP should first ask the local high school and nearby colleges for aptitude counseling they offer.. A general aptitude test might be all the OP's daughter needs right now to reassure her that she doesn't need to stress out so much.

DD took these tests as a sophomore-and-a-half in college, at her college's career counseling offices. A bonus was how she connected with her counselor for the next two years. Her results were quite different than they would have been in high school, considering how much she was exposed to in the interim and how her interests changed:

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Different people are motivated and satisfied by different jobs and activities. Understanding your natural way of working will help you choose suitable work and work environments. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment, the most widely used personality assessment in the world, can help you discover your preferences. It also offers a foundation for understanding individual differences and applying that understanding to the ways people think, communicate, and interact. Versatile and dependable, the MBTI tool sets the stage for lifelong learning and development.

Strong Interest Inventory
The most respected and widely used career planning instrument in the world, the Strong assist students in selecting a path that’s right for them. By giving students insight into their interests, preferences, and personal styles, the Strong enables them to identify specific courses, jobs, internships, and activities they’re likely to enjoy.
DS on the other hand had no interest in taking them. Kids....
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:01 PM   #26
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I think the OP should first ask the local high school and nearby colleges for aptitude counseling they offer.. A general aptitude test might be all the OP's daughter needs right now to reassure her that she doesn't need to stress out so much.
Frankly, there is literally no comparison to a general aptitude test and what Johnson O'Connor does. Even though my son had had lots of testing during the years (he is GT with ADHD and dysgraphia), the testing at Johnson O'Connor was very detailed and quite unique. They tested things in more detail that I haven't seen tested elsewhere. It wasn't just finding out that he had aptitude for science and math (which we knew since he had testing when he was 7). It was breaking down into specific components different aptitudes and finding out which he was good at and which he wasn't.

For example, some people who are good at science aren't particularly good at structural visualization (being able to visualize in 3 dimensions, to rotate a 3 dimensional object). Someone isn't good at that will struggle with something like engineering even if they on paper at good at math and math and science. My son is really good at structural visualization and it goes well with him studying computer science. My daughter on the other hand is not good at structural visualization so a career that doesn't require that ability is better for her.

On this page, Johnson O'Connor has a free download of their ebook on Aptitudes and what each test measures and what it means. Anyone thinking about going there (or just interested in their approach) might find it interesting to read.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:12 PM   #27
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I agree, figuring out what you are good at and like to do is the key. If it takes 2 years of junior college at home then that can be a successful path to use for getting into a university major. Since she is good at school, college is likely and should be encouraged. Key is to study in a major, and potential career field that she will do well in. BTW, it would be nice if that choice was one with good job hiring and pay statistics.

I would also state the obvious that a choice in career fields at her age is not necessarily what she will end up with. But having that piece of paper with the degree is something that will help out her whole life.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:22 PM   #28
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:27 PM   #29
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Frankly, there is literally no comparison to a general aptitude test and what Johnson O'Connor does. Even though my son had had lots of testing during the years (he is GT with ADHD and dysgraphia), the testing at Johnson O'Connor was very detailed and quite unique. They tested things in more detail that I haven't seen tested elsewhere. It wasn't just finding out that he had aptitude for science and math (which we knew since he had testing when he was 7). It was breaking down into specific components different aptitudes and finding out which he was good at and which he wasn't.

For example, some people who are good at science aren't particularly good at structural visualization (being able to visualize in 3 dimensions, to rotate a 3 dimensional object). Someone isn't good at that will struggle with something like engineering even if they on paper at good at math and math and science. My son is really good at structural visualization and it goes well with him studying computer science. My daughter on the other hand is not good at structural visualization so a career that doesn't require that ability is better for her.

On this page, Johnson O'Connor has a free download of their ebook on Aptitudes and what each test measures and what it means. Anyone thinking about going there (or just interested in their approach) might find it interesting to read.
The OP's daughter is a junior in high school, your son had already tried out several majors, right? I am just saying it might not be necessary to pull out the big guns at the OP's daughter's age, until she like your son has been exposed to a little more than high school. I am glad your son had good results and is happy.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:29 PM   #30
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Thanks everyone all this information is helping out a lot and really setting us on the right path. I'm actually looking into that Johnson O'Connor testing. But the closest one to me is at least 8 hours away.
Our local community college has a career class that included aptitude testing as a part of the course for no extra fees.

Our kids have both changed majors. I always sent them links on schools, Job Outlook Handbook pages and in demand career articles, and especially Payscale reports by major and college over the years. I think that helped steer them into fields they will both enjoy and have good job prospects. Classes, tutoring, clubs, mentoring from their instructors, mom's links and internships have all helped along the way to sort out their interests. One is still in a bit of flux as to exactly what to do but really has a lot of good options. One problem we struggle with is there is a snooty factor where we live on getting 4 year degrees when we think one kiddo would be very happy, do quite well financially and enjoy the autonomy of a small business in a trade.

I am surprised at how many of their friends graduated from 4 year schools, some quite expensive, with majors in fields they now realize they hate, are underemployed or can't find work at all. A lot of that may have been avoidable with studying the information from the Job Outlook handbook (free and online), career testing if needed and the Payscale reports (also free and online).
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:05 PM   #31
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The OP's daughter is a junior in high school, your son had already tried out several majors, right? I am just saying it might not be necessary to pull out the big guns at the OP's daughter's age, until she like your son has been exposed to a little more than high school. I am glad your son had good results and is happy.
We did it for 2 of our children. We did it for our son -- who was 18 at the time in college (he started college at 16) and for our daughter who was 16 and was a junior in high school at the time. It was also valuable for her.

DS had already wasted a lot of our money taking courses that weren't right for him. For DD obtaining the information before she went to college was extremely valuable as it enabled her to pick what she wanted to study before going and she hasn't changed her program since she started.

So, I would argue that this isactually helps the most (from a financial standpoint anyway) when the student hasn't actually started college yet.

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Our local community college has a career class that included aptitude testing as a part of the course for no extra fees.
Most aptitude testing I've seen falls within 2 categories. A lot of it turns out not to be aptitude testing. It is more interest testing, which is useless for aptitude testing (you can be interested in things you aren't good at and vice versa). The other aptitude testing tends to be glorified achievement testing. So, they test your math skills and say you should look at engineering. They don't do things like check spatial visualization. The Johnson O'Conner tests are different from typical achievement testing. Achievement testing has its place (my kids have had it), but it very different than what Johnson O'Connor does.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:48 PM   #32
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Most aptitude testing I've seen falls within 2 categories. A lot of it turns out not to be aptitude testing. It is more interest testing, which is useless for aptitude testing (you can be interested in things you aren't good at and vice versa). The other aptitude testing tends to be glorified achievement testing. So, they test your math skills and say you should look at engineering. They don't do things like check spatial visualization. The Johnson O'Conner tests are different from typical achievement testing. Achievement testing has its place (my kids have had it), but it very different than what Johnson O'Connor does.
I don't remember exactly what tests our kid had. Just curious if you have any hard data on the different kinds of tests and which ones have been proven to be the most helpful with actual post college career results? I don't really know. Our kids have had classes and tutoring jobs / internships they loved so it has not been that hard for them to decide.

The Meyers-Briggs has its critics -

Have We all Been Duped by Myers-Briggs?

http://fortune.com/2013/05/15/have-w...s-briggs-test/

"The interesting — and somewhat alarming — fact about the MBTI is that, despite its popularity, it has been subject to sustained criticism by professional psychologists for over three decades. One problem is that it displays what statisticians call low “test-retest reliability.” So if you retake the test after only a five-week gap, there’s around a 50% chance that you will fall into a different personality category compared to the first time you took the test."
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:00 PM   #33
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I know only that DD, a very good student at traditional academics (which sounds like the OP's daughter) had great results with the testing I mentioned above at her college. She also did this on her own without our help or advice (but of course our support as always) so that may have been helpful for her too, that it was "her" thing. She is very happy in her profession and in her two majors. So is DS, who took no tests. Different things work for different kids, so good there's choices.

I imagine there is data measuring post-college success prediction among the different testings--again, perhaps the high school or a nearby university counseling center could advise.
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:20 PM   #34
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EastWest Gal - Johnson O'Connor doesn't do Myers Briggs. It does 2 full days of aptitude testing. It is way more valuable than Myers Briggs testing (I do think Myers Briggs is interesting as well but that is easily obtainable usually without traveling).
My bad, wrote down the wrong test name.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:39 PM   #35
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I haven't looked at these in detail (and can't right now) but here is a page giving some of the recent research of Johnson O'Connor.

Recent Publications and Presentations

They also have some technical reports on another page there that are for sale. I do feel their testing is very research based. Obviously, it isn't free but we felt it was well worth what we paid for it for both of our kids.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:09 AM   #36
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I remember going to college and having little to no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I opted to go to a small private college that offered a robust amount of liberal arts programs but had a great business school as well. Due to the size of the school a student could double major in almost any 2 fields without much hassle. Ultimately I majored in what I found interesting (law/international politics) and what was practical for the job world (accounting). Accounting helped me get into megacorp for my job, and with that experience I was able to find something within the company that utilized law and finance in a way that I would have never even imagined.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:17 AM   #37
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Many people advocate for a "gap year" after HS graduation--travel, volunteering, job exploring, etc. Seems reasonable, especially since research is showing the adolescent brain is not fully developed until mid 20's!
my experience: one child went straight to college, the other had a gap year. both doing well.
Try not to pressure her, she will get enough of that from her counselors at school! Give her love and support whatever decisions she makes, she is learning to be independent.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:30 AM   #38
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Many people advocate for a "gap year" after HS graduation--travel, volunteering, job exploring, etc. Seems reasonable, especially since research is showing the adolescent brain is not fully developed until mid 20's!

my experience: one child went straight to college, the other had a gap year. both doing well.

Try not to pressure her, she will get enough of that from her counselors at school! Give her love and support whatever decisions she makes, she is learning to be independent.

I am showing her this page also and we're just slowly discussing it. I try to stay very positive for her I really feel no matter what she does she will do well at it. We are discussing the cost of college I am only funding 4 years of state school. But that does not include room and board so she wants to go away to college but we are trying to discuss what she wants to go for and what that cost would be on her.


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Old 04-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #39
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Ha! What a great topic.

I distinctly recall that our kiddos' HS whipped everyone into a frenzy if you hadn't chosen a major (and what you wanted to do for the rest of your life) by the time you entered your junior year. We kind of got swept up in the chatter, and unfortunately added to the panic a bit I'm afraid, at least with the first. I figured all my kids needed a college degree (BS or Masters!), and from a good school, not just any school! Then three of our neighbors (in a very high socioeconomic neighborhood) had children that ended up doing drugs. Two of them spent time in prison (one just got out after 8 years). One is back living at home, not working (I blame the parents for allowing this, but that's another topic). This caused me to completely adjust my worldview in this regard. After that, I wanted children who were A) happy and B) productive members of society. That's it. As long as they were enjoying life and giving as opposed to taking from society, that's all that mattered. Want to be a plumber? Great! Want to get your computer science degree? Great! Want to be a music teacher? Great!

I also encouraged them to enjoy this time in their life - if they chose college (2 of 3 did), then that is the highest amount of freedom with the least responsibility that they would have in their lives, and to completely enjoy it. We supported them as they switched majors, tried new things, and attempted to figure out what they want to do. As others have said, they get plenty of outside pressure from friends, counselors, advertising, society, etc. I think they should find comfort with the parental units, accepting them for what they are, no matter what. Okay, maybe not if they are a drug dealer, but you get the point.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:52 AM   #40
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Many people advocate for a "gap year" after HS graduation--travel, volunteering, job exploring, etc. Seems reasonable, especially since research is showing the adolescent brain is not fully developed until mid 20's!
my experience: one child went straight to college, the other had a gap year. both doing well.
Try not to pressure her, she will get enough of that from her counselors at school! Give her love and support whatever decisions she makes, she is learning to be independent.
gap year? what's that like? that's what wrong with this generation, they should be in school right off the bat taking 19 hours like I did




although one of my buddies daughters is taking a gap year and I told him it was a good idea
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