Career Prep Edu: take advantage of the career counseling we all wish we had before we started college

By Tara Davenport

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For my entire life, I’d always known what was next — elementary school, middle school, high school, college…

Going to college wasn’t just the path that was laid out for me, it was truly the path I wanted to take. I wanted the new city, the football games, the parties, and the freedom to only study what I chose to. I was lucky because the college experience wasn’t just everything I had dreamed of — it was more. I was obscenely happy and I was comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that the last thing I wanted to do was leave.

While others were excited to graduate and transition into the next phase of life, I wasn’t. I didn’t have a dream job or a dream city or a dream employer at the front of my mind, and I didn’t know why.

I loved my major and the classes I’d taken. I’d worked hard — having graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. I had two years of experience as a staff reporter for the university newspaper and other accomplishments filling my resume.

According to everyone I spoke to, I had set myself up for wonderful opportunities.

But I didn’t know what they were or how to find them.

It was the first time I hadn’t known what was next…and it was terrifying.

Through a series of unexpected opportunities, I ended up interviewing with Career Prep Edu for a part-time, post-graduation internship.

Career Prep Edu is a small business that was launched in 2020.

Founder and CEO Raquel Silva feels there’s a gaping hole in the American education system — students are taught math, reading, and science, but not where and how to use those skills. High schools, in particular, are narrowly focused on preparing students to graduate and, in most cases, continue their education — but no one talks much about what comes after that.

I chose my college major based on what kind of topics I liked learning about in high school, but I didn’t know what careers I was steering myself towards by making that decision.

During college, I had the freedom to choose all my classes based on my personal interests and I finally felt like I was learning practical skills rather than just theories. I thought I was on the right track.

But when I reached my last semester and had to start applying for full-time jobs, I realized what I had still been missing out on. I could recognize my practical skills, interests, and experience, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.

I scrolled through hundreds of job listings online, but I didn’t know how to tell which one was right for me.

Identifying potential career paths based on abilities, personality, interests, and aspirations — and evaluating job opportunities accordingly — were skills I didn’t have. They’re the very skills Raquel teaches students through Career Prep Edu’s Career Discovery Workshop and career counseling.

I remember telling her during my interview that I knew one thing I could certainly bring to the table as an intern was the perspective of her client base. I knew what her clients wanted and needed because I was just like them.

I ended up getting that internship — and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

As an intern, I had access to the Career Discovery Workshop, and Raquel not only offered, but insisted, that I complete the program as if I were a client.

I learned how to qualify and quantify all of my knowledge and skills, classify and interpret my personality type, attach real value to my passions and aspirations, and identify potential career paths that would be compatible. I was taught where to search for job listings that would align with those potential career paths. I even learned how to determine what education and experience would prepare me for those jobs.

Unlike traditional college counselors, Career Prep Edu doesn’t just give you a test and tell you what career you should pursue. The Career Discovery Workshop shows you how to arrive at that conclusion on your own.

When you conclude the program, you take an invaluable, repeatable technique with you that you can use every time you transition between jobs or even careers.

It’s a technique that it’s never too late to learn. But in my experience, the earlier you do, the better.

So start today!

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