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Majority of Teens Don’t Have Career Plan Before College [Survey]

Most American teens are unclear about their career goals as they head from high school to college, a new survey by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement USA and The Hartford has found.

The Insuring Career Success: Teen Perceptions of Career Selection report, which surveyed high school, college-aged teens, and young adults, found that students’ perceptions of their career paths significantly change over time.

While 44 percent of surveyed high school juniors believed that an individual should have a concrete career path in mind before completing high school, only 16 percent of college sophomores could say the same.

However, when questioned about having a career goal in mind between starting college and before graduating, 46 percent of college sophomores agreed, while only 16 percent of high school students felt the same way.

“What this research indicates is that many young people are entering college without a clear idea of what their career goals are,” Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA, said.

“This is especially concerning given the amount of cost involved in going to college and the fact many Americans never end up working in careers related to their college degree.”

When it comes to factors that influence career decisions, a variety of sources also appeared in the survey.

80 percent of surveyed teens said that they would “prefer advice from professionals who work in a chosen field,” compared to “advice from parents or other family members” which ranked at 75 percent, “advice from academic counselors or advisors” which ranked at 67 percent, “information from TV, social media or online” which ranked at 41 percent, and “advice from friends” which ranked at 38 percent.

To compile the report, Wakefield Research and The Hartford surveyed 500 high school juniors, 500 high school seniors, 500 college freshmen, and 500 college sophomores between August 30 and September 6, 2018.

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