General Questions

What is College and Career Ready?
In short, College and Career Ready means that students leave high school prepared to enroll and succeed in postsecondary education or training, whether offered by an employer, the military, or college/university. The promise that graduates of Utah high schools will be “college and career ready” is a part of the Utah Board of Education’s statement of vision and mission known as “Promises to Keep.”

What happened to the SEOP?
Under College and Career Ready, a Student Education Occupation Plan (SEOP) is still the goal for students. Remember, the “P” in “SEOP” is for Plan! The idea that a student plan is of key importance has not changed. The change in name is an effort to communicate that the Plan is for the students to be College and Career Ready as they leave high school.

What is a Plan for College and Career?
The College and Career Plan reflects an individual student’s career and college goals. The Plan is the result of a comprehensive counseling and guidance program that ensures that every student has opportunities to explore the full range of education and career options. For example, students:

  • Complete career assessments,
  • Explore career pathways,
  • Identify classes to take in school that relate to career options,
  • Engage in enrichment and extracurricular activities,
  • Learn about college and career admission processes,
  • Participate in college and career affordability planning, and
  • Are supported in the transition from grade level to grade level.

How does concurrent enrollment support College and Career Ready?
Concurrent enrollment allows high school students to earn both high school and college credit for selected courses. Concurrent enrollment is a bargain in terms of cost, and gives students a great opportunity to experience challenging, college-level courses in the relative comfort of the more familiar high school classroom environment. In addition, every college credit a student accumulates in high school increases the chance that the student will successfully transition to college and complete his/her certificate or degree.

For more answers regarding concurrent enrollment in Utah, visit the Concurrent Enrollment FAQ.

What is a career pathway?
A career pathway is a sequence of high school courses that:

  • Provides an “educational road map” to guide students to the opportunities in high school and beyond that best support their career goals.
  • Helps students acquire the knowledge and skills linked with specific postsecondary programs that will lead to a certificate, degree, and/or employment.
  • What is the difference between Holland Codes and Pathways?

Holland Codes are the result of identifying career interests using a survey or other activity based on John Holland’s approach to classifying occupations. Holland defines six broad classifications:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

Also known as the “RIASEC” approach (referencing the first letter of each category), Holland’s theory is at the heart of most of person-job matching efforts in use today. (You can learn more in this introduction to Holland’s classifications via YouTube.)

In contrast, there are dozens of Utah Career Pathways, or “educational road maps,” and they can be organized in a variety of ways according to different aspects of the associated occupations, work environments, and worker requirements. Organizing the Pathways by Holland Code is just one way to help students understand how their personal career interests align with potential programs of study.

Questions From Students

How will my College and Career Plan benefit me and my future?
The College and Career Plan gives you a picture of where you are now and where you want to be in the future, and outlines the steps in between. Knowing the steps you need to take will help you spend your resources—time, money, energy—wisely, as you pursue your goals.

What if my high school doesn’t offer many of the courses listed for the career pathway I’ve chosen?
Consult with your school counselor to discover your best options for completing a pathway. There may be one that is similar enough to suit you, or you may want to explore alternate ways of completing the courses associated with your first choice (e.g., online).

What classes should I take to be college and career ready?
Each student will choose a career pathway to guide his/her course taking patterns. However, every career pathway is built on a common academic foundation that includes:

  • 4 units of English,
  • 3 or more units of Math,
  • 3 or more units of science, and
  • 3 units of social studies.

These are part of the core requirements for high school graduation. Click here for more information on courses that are required for graduation and courses recommended for college and career readiness.

What if I don’t know what I want to do beyond high school?
Check out UtahFutures! Our state’s career information system can help you explore a range of occupations to meet your needs and suit your personal characteristics. In addition, you’ll be learning a process as much as making a plan. Even when you set your college and career goals, you’ll still want to review and revise in light of new experiences, circumstances and learning. UtahFutures provides the tools you’ll need all along the way.

When can I start taking concurrent enrollment courses as part of my plan?
Students typically take concurrent enrollment courses in their junior and senior years of high school. To register you must have parental permission to enroll in the course in high school, and you must complete an application for the institution that offers the course. Your high school counselor can help you identify the courses that support your plan, and can also help you with the registration process.

What if I choose a career pathway, but then change my mind?
No problem; choosing a pathway in no way obligates you to stay on the same track forever! Ongoing review of your College and Career Plan—including your Pathway—is a good idea. There is no doubt that as you make your way through school, you will discover new information—about yourself, about course options available to you, about the job market, etc.—that may lead you to revise your plan in some way.

Questions From Parents

How can parents promote college and career readiness, starting in kindergarten?
Parents have a huge influence on their children’s college and career choices. Parents need to know what their students are expected to learn at each grade level—starting in kindergarten—and reinforce that learning at home. In addition, parents can help students understand how their interests and talents relate to different occupations. Parents need to take advantage of every opportunity they have to help their children set goals and make plans—both school-related and personal. As a child begins to dream about the future, parents can help him/her understand what he/she can do in the present to be prepared to pursue those dreams.

Who will help my student create a Plan for College and Career?
The school counselor plays an integral role in helping students create their Career and College Plans, but parents need to be involved, too. Parents can provide key insights that may not otherwise be available as students work to better understand themselves and contemplate their options. Talk to your student regularly about his/her school experiences, and take advantage of every opportunity you have to participate in conferences with counselors and other educators. You may also want to check out UtahFutures help you with this process.

What postsecondary education options are available to my student?
Generally, there are four broad options for education beyond high school: (1) on the job, (2) apprenticeship, (3) military, and (4) college/university. (See Beyond High School for general information.) Utah’s Applied Technology College, community/state colleges, and universities offer:

  • Certificates
    Usually awarded on completion of one-year programs that lead directly to employment in a specific occupation.
  • Applied Associate Degrees
    Typically two-year programs to prepare students for employment in careers that will offer opportunities to advance in their fields.
  • Transfer Associate Degrees
    Two-year programs that prepare students for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees
    Four-year programs that offer in-depth education in a major field of study, preparing students for employment or further study in that field.
  • Master’s or Professional Degrees
    Typically, advanced programs of study for students who have either earned a bachelor’s degree or have relevant work experience.
  • Doctorates
    Advanced programs in specialized areas.

Why should I encourage my student to get a college degree?
To succeed in today’s global economy will increasingly require education and training beyond high school. A college degree—whether it’s completion of one, two, four or more years of college—increases the chances of finding and keeping a job that offers security for workers and their families. Help your students explore the occupations that interest them, including the postsecondary education typically required for entry.

Questions from Counselors

How can I motivate my students to be college and career ready?
Students are naturally motivated in two ways, intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation comes from an inner desire to do well or know more, while extrinsic motivation stems from positive benefits that result from learning such as good grades or admiration. As you get to know your students, you can use a variety of methods to motivate them. Some helpful hints:

  • Provide real-world connections to learning.
  • Create a supportive atmosphere that encourages struggling students.
  • Empower your student by encouraging the student to take responsibility for the learning process. A student who has decision making power feels an increased sense of motivation.

What can my special education students do to become college and career ready?
There is nothing that will “assure” a successful transition to adult life—so many factors influence that. (Click here to read one related research report.) Some strategies that have a moderate effect on post-school outcomes include:

  • Inclusion in general education;
  • A transition program;
  • Paid work experience while in school; and
  • Training in self-care and independent living.

Additionally, the following skills are considered necessary for all in the 21st century (Murnane and Levy, 1966. Teaching the new basic skills. Harvard University; The Free Press.):

Basic skills

Academic skills

  • Basic math
  • Basic reading

Life skills

  • Problem solving
  • Teaming/collaboration
  • Communication
  • Computer knowledge

Employability skills

Social skills

  • Dependability
  • Getting along with others
  • Appropriate dress and grooming
  • Initiative
  • Asking for help
  • Positive attitude

What resources are available for undocumented students to pursue postsecondary education?
As a result of legislation passed by the Utah legislature in 2002 (HB 144, Exemption from Nonresident Tuition), undocumented students in Utah pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities if they:

  • Attended high school in Utah for three or more years;
  • Graduated from a Utah high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the state; and 
  • Have not registered as an entering student at a Utah institution of higher education before the Fall semester 2002.
  • Have filed (or will file as soon as eligible) an application to legalize his/her immigration status.

U-DREAM is a new organization made up of Utah educators, residents and leaders from across the state who are committed to expanding educational opportunities for undocumented students.

College Board offers a Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students that includes Utah-specific information regarding college admission, financial aid and more (pp. 32-33). College Board also published Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students, a report that clearly lays out the current situation and proposes a way forward for educating all immigrant youth.