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Career counselling should start at an early age

– Nistha Tripathi, Founder and Director, 24NorthStar

In the evolving landscape of education and career development, a resounding consensus has emerged: career counselling should commence at an early age. The significance of providing guidance and support to young individuals in shaping their future trajectories cannot be overstated, as it lays the foundation for informed decisions and successful life paths.

Recent studies have underscored the necessity of early career guidance, revealing alarming statistics that shed light on the consequences of neglecting this crucial aspect of personal and professional growth. According to a comprehensive survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, a staggering 65% of students entering college are unsure about their career paths. This uncertainty often leads to higher dropout rates and increased dissatisfaction among graduates who find themselves in fields they neither enjoy nor feel passionate about. Estimates suggest that misalignment between career choices and personal interests costs the global economy trillions of dollars annually in lost productivity and job turnover. Furthermore, while 86% of Indian students are genuinely concerned about the option to pursue higher education, 92% have nil or limited access to career-related guidance choices from their schools. Every month there are about 1 lakh people who search for career counselling online.

In light of these statistics, one can say that career counselling earlier in life is a critical need of the students but only because of lack of awareness, also because many cant access it. And this leads to wrong career choices, which in turn affects the quality and satisfaction from life. However, it is also worth noting that the benefits of early career advice go beyond personal satisfaction and economic efficiency. It promotes a society in which individuals are empowered to choose meaningful, fulfilling occupations that are aligned with their passions and talents, resulting in a more prosperous and harmonious world.

Making a career decision is one of the most important factors for a student. But not all students are equally aware of their aptitudes, interests, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, etc.  And here comes the role of  a career counsellor. They help students lay the foundation for a fulfilling and successful future. They bring focus and drive early clarity on selection of subjects and extra- curricular pursuits. And the students who are seeking to study abroad in prestigious institutions worldwide, delving into the career selection process early can truly pay off. In this article, we’ll explore why career counselling should start at an early age and how they help profile building of students they are involved with.

Exploring a World of Possibilities: For students currently in class IX – XI, these are the prime times for self-discovery. Exploring different subjects, hobbies, and interests allows the students to discover their passion and strengths and act on them at the right time. Deciding on a career path early gives them more time to delve into focus on areas that truly excite them. So, it’s important to provide them with career guidance that will help them have a growth mindset and  jumpstart their journey to success at the right time.

Gaining a Competitive Edge: With the job market becoming increasingly more competitive, there is availability of better and advanced education facilities which align with industry standards. By being assisted to define their career interests early on, students may focus on developing relevant skills and experiences that will set them apart from the crowd. Secondly, when they start at the right time and age, there is no rush and the child and the parents can together seek correct mentorship. Connecting with academic counsellors and professionals in their chosen sector can provide them with insights into their strengths and weaknesses, guidance on industry choices, and even internship possibilities that will provide them with hands-on experience and a competitive edge over others in the field.

Customised Education: Early career counselling and path selection allows students to customise their educational route. With expert guidance backing them, they can choose subjects and courses that are related to their future aspirations, making their school years more exciting and meaningful. Experts can also provide them with practical advice on the subjects they should take up, why they are vital and the scope of the particular subject. This will help them in laying strong foundations which will help them thrive in the highly technological and advanced world. Whether it’s studying programming languages, perfecting a musical instrument, or honing their leadership abilities, the extra time helps students to develop expertise that will be useful in their chosen industry.

Fostering Confidence: Ensuring career guidance is available to the students earlier in  life allows them to gain confidence in their abilities and make healthy professional decisions. As they get closer to their career objective, they’ll feel more confident in their actions, which will propel them towards timely success. Career counsellors can act as a support system to these young minds, preparing them for job interviews and giving continuous insights into skills required in their chosen career field. Having this support and knowing their path from the start can considerably be less stressful and can give them an advantage over subsequent job decisions. It gives a clear roadmap, relieving the burden of making last-minute decisions during high-stress times.

Saving Time and Resources: Early career decisions can save students and parents significant time and money. By being guided on what to choose and aligning their choices with their skillset, students can avoid spending years in a field in which they were not interested in the first place, ultimately focusing their energies on what is actually important to them. Having a definite career objective from a young age also gives their education and life a definite flow and meaning. Every step they take contributes to the big picture, making their journey more significant.

While interests and ambitions may change over time, selecting career choices in classes IX-XI can be a vital step towards moulding their future and keeping  students on track to develop skills and expertise in core areas of knowledge and application. It’s not about committing to a single path, but rather establishing a starting place from which they may explore, learn, and grow with purpose. By giving their child the gift of early guidance, time and opportunity, parents can set them on a journey that is both exciting and purposeful, laying the groundwork for a successful and fulfilling career ahead.

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