High school students today seem to be surrounded by myriad pressures even before they graduate. This often leaves little room for self-discovery or real-world experiences. Choosing a career path then becomes a matter of pragmatism rather than following one’s passion. Career Pathways, a three-week summer program offered by USEFP in collaboration with Educational Programs (EdPrograms), provides such students with a rare opportunity to explore their strengths and passions, and weigh possible career options that might be right for them.
This year Career Pathways took 46 Pakistani high school students, and 13 counsellors on a summer tour of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), to get a taste of American higher education through a series of short classes and workshops. The students and counsellors were also accompanied by four EducationUSA advisers. Participants of Career Pathways chose to explore either the American Midwest or the East Coast. Parallel tours saw 24 students and seven counselors visit 10 HEIs across four states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Iowa) from June 18 to July 8 in the Midwest while 21 students and six counselors visited 15 HEIs through another four states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) from July 15 to August 5 on the East Coast.
Syed Muhammad Zain Ul Hassan from Roots Millennium Future World School in Lahore described it as the “experience of a lifetime”. He said, “Career Pathways did what it set out to do and more. The tour allowed me to finalize my decision on what course to apply for and gave me a far better idea of how to pursue it in the future.” Zain added that apart from being informational, the tour was also fun, with the tourist activities allowing him and his peers to let loose and truly enjoy their experience.
To help students look beyond conventional options, like engineering and medicine etc., Career Pathways offered multidisciplinary summer classes to high school students at a range of different U.S. colleges and universities. Students learned about career development, health sciences, business, entrepreneurship, computer sciences, media sciences, film production, engineering, informatics, international relations, public policy, civic engagement and much more. They returned to Pakistan with a deeper understanding of the American education system and new fields in an evolving marketplace.
“This tour was more than I expected,” shares Muhammad Azmat Fareed, from the American Foundation School for A-level Studies (TAFSAL), who participated in the Midwest program. “We experienced life as a student in USA, learned about American culture and their way of doing things. We met a lot of people in the admission departments at different universities, got first-hand information, and will stay in touch with them for sure.”
High school counselors were also offered professional development programs related to counseling and admissions practices in the United States. They were afforded unique opportunities to build on their skills as counselors and to learn more about the U.S. college admissions process directly from key stakeholders at select universities and colleges.
According to Sundus Ali, EducationUSA Pakistan, “For counselors and educationists, Career Pathways is a professional development opportunity that helps expand their horizons by learning about what the U.S. universities have to offer. We offer a bridge connecting you to the future!”
The next Career Pathways tour will be announced early next year. Stay informed by liking our Facebook page. If you’re interested in pursuing higher education in the U.S., email firstname.lastname@example.org for your 5 Steps to U.S. Study plan! Visit our website for more information on USEFP’s scholarship and exchange programs.