SCHOOL'S about to end, barely two months to go and summer vacation starts. For high school seniors, it is more. After graduation, summer 2010 marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives as they prepare for college.

At this point in time, I know that most of them are still at a loss as to what course to take up in college. It is a dilemma that troubles every graduating high school student. Though there are some who already know what they want to pursue in college, but most of them do not.

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As a parent, I feel it is best that we take part in helping our children make the right decisions. Just a word of caution: we should not insist on what we want them to take up. I know of several college students now who have enrolled in their courses because of their parents' wishes. They are unhappy and have no desire to excel or make good. It's a pity. So, how does one make a career choice when one has no idea on what he/she wants to do?

Sure, there are so many career options out there. But choosing the best is really confusing. It is an overwhelming task! We need to spend time and effort to help them start right.

First thing to do is set aside time with our kids and do assessment together. We look into their interests, skills, personality, values, future plans, business trends and even the family history. This may be tedious and you may end up arguing. But it is worth it. I particularly like it because I get to know my child better. I am able to understand her more and can give a more realistic sharing on my opinions about her choices.

We didn't sit down in one setting but it's been like two months of informal sharing. We talked about it while on our way home, having snacks, during family gatherings and on one-on-one talks during weekends.

We may also make use of some self-assessment tools, often called career tests. In our case, after the National Career Assessment Examinations (NCAE) results were released, my daughter and I started to talk about her choices considering everything, including her scores, in said exams. We then were able to generate a list of occupations that we feel she has the skills and she likes.

For some, you may choose to have career counselors but some tests results give you "hints" already on what will work for your children.

After the listing, we explored the list and came up with a much shorter list, consisting of five college courses that she considers her best. For every course, we look at what the job may entail once she finishes it, her job prospects, advancement opportunities, and of course, income.

We did not stop here. We are still in the "deliberating" mode and we want to get as much inputs as we want. At this point we're stuck with her top five but eventually we will have to narrow it to three until we finally single out the one we think is best for her. What we need now is to gather in-depth information. So we started asking around from people who have firsthand knowledge of the courses in which she is interested. I'm sure there is enough to tackle before we finally decide on what she wants best. But right now, we're happy we have five agreed courses to choose from.

Nowadays, it is important to lead our children to decide wisely. Though it is not a guarantee that college will be smooth sailing, but leading them to what they really can and want will save us from future frustrations and of more expense if they keep transferring from one course to another. With the difficult times, we cannot afford the latter. Aside from assisting in choosing their courses, we may also need to lead them to start setting their own career goals and in planning on what they want to do. This maybe the first step in planning their careers later on.

Earning a degree is only half of the requirements to a career, training is also needed to learn new skills. (For your comments and suggestions, email My Space @ ) (LA Deloso)