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College and Career Readiness Resources

Resources for Students and Families

Not sure where to start? The resources below to learn more about your college and career options after high school.

Paths After High School Overview

Post-High School Options

The following links will guide you to different tools to help students learn about future career options, including what types of work are typically done, how much different careers will earn, how much education is required, and much more. These tools also include free surveys and assessments that students can use to help give suggestions and spring ideas for future careers based on their interests, values, strengths, and goals.

Career Exploration

College Planning

College Search & Compare Tools

Financial Aid

Service Year


Gap Year


Armed Services

College and Career Glossary

Learning about colleges and careers can be confusing as resources may use keywords unfamiliar to students and families. The following information can be used as a quick reference for common words.

  • Apprenticeship: A paid training program sponsored by an employer that combines on-the-job training and classroom training for a specific trade
  • Career: a chosen occupation, profession, or path with opportunities for progress
  • Career Assessment: test or survey that measures interests or abilities to help you learn about yourself and possible careers that fit your interests
  • Career Ready: to have the knowledge and skills deemed essential for success in the workforce
  • Cover letter: usually a one-page document that gives an overview of your qualifications as they relate to the position you are applying for
  • Externship: An externship is a form of experiential learning that allows the individual to work for or shadow an employer for a short period to learn about the industry or occupation. These are unpaid.
  • Essential Employability Skills: or soft skills, are general skills necessary to succeed in any job.
  • Holland Occupational Themes/Codes (RIASEC): refer to a theory of careers and vocational choices developed by American psychologist John L. Holland that matches career choices with personality types - Holland Occupational Themes
  • Industry certification: a credential that verifies technical skills and competence in a particular field and is recognized by employers in the industry
  • Internship: a form of experiential learning that allows the individual to work for an employer for a specified period to learn about the industry or occupation. It can be paid or unpaid.
  • Interview: a formal meeting between an applicant and employer that the employer uses to get to know the applicant to make a hiring decision, and the applicant uses to learn more about the employer.
  • License: a document awarded by state agencies or boards that allow the holder permission to work in a regulated industry
  • Resume: usually a 1-2-page document that summarizes an applicant’s education, work experience, skills, and recognition
  • Salary: a fixed compensation paid to an employee on a biweekly or monthly basis and is often expressed in an annual sum
  • Vocational/Career Technical Education: programs designed to prepare students for specific trades and teach industry-specific skills, also known as Career Technical Education (CTE)
  • Wages: compensation paid to an employee on a weekly or biweekly basis for work done
  • Work-Study: a type of financial aid awarded by the federal government in which a student must get a job through the school they attend to receive the funds

  • Academic Advisor/Counselor: school official who will help you select courses, review course requirements and help keep you on track to complete your academic goals
  • Associate degree: degree you can usually earn after two years of full-time classes
  • Bachelor’s degree: degree you can usually earn after four years of full-time classes
  • Credit Hour: a measure of how many hours students spend in class per week. The number of credit hours you enroll in determines whether you are a full-time or part-time student. You need to meet certain credit requirements to earn degrees and certificates.
  • Dormitories: on-campus housing where students live while enrolled in school
  • Financial Aid: refers to loans, scholarships, grants, and student employment granted based on financial need and eligibility.
  • First-generation student: a college student who is the first in their family to go to college
  • Full-time: a full course load, typically 12 or more credits per semester
  • GPA: abbreviation for grade point average, representing the average value of the accumulated final grades earned in courses
  • Grants: sum of money given by the government or other organization that does not have to be paid back
  • Loans: borrowed money that needs to be paid back with interest
  • Major: a student’s primary area of study, most classes will be in your major, and it is possible to have more than one major
  • Minor: a student’s secondary area of study, fewer classes needed, are not required, and it is possible to have more than one minor
  • Part-time: less than full course load, typically less than 12 credits per semester
  • Pass/Fail: a system of grading in which the only two possible grades given include pass or fail rather than letter or number grades
  • Post-secondary: education pursued after high school
  • Prerequisite: a course that students must complete before taking another course
  • Scholarships: sum of money awarded based on certain criteria that does not have to be paid back
  • Syllabus: an outline of the course written by the professor with important information such as due dates, exam dates, expectations, and policies
  • Tuition: the cost of attending courses
  • Undergraduate: a student who is pursuing either a one-, two-, or four-year degree


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