Education & Career Planning

HOW WE REACH
YOUNG PEOPLE

American Student Assistance® (ASA) is committed to helping students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions to achieve their education and career goals. ASA® fulfills this mission by providing tools and resources to students online, in classrooms, and through community-based organizations. We help students, as early as middle school, discover their own interests, passions, and talents, and draw connections between those abilities and potential careers for the future.

Digital Programming

ASA is interacting with teens where they are – on their mobile devices, on YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms – with compelling video content to help them uncover and explore their passions.

We developed videos specifically for 13-18-year-olds to get them thinking about career options and education pathways beyond high school. We are making tools available to students where they’re already spending their time so that they can direct their own journey.

Our original programming includes the following channels:

  • Shadow What does it take to work in your dream job? Teens shadow adults at work – at a custom car shop or a law practice – to experience what a real day in the life can be like.
  • Hustle Following your passion sometimes means creating new or trying unexplored paths. These entrepreneurs found their definition of success on their terms.
  • Pitch Students who want to take a non-traditional path often need to do some “selling” to the adults in their lives. See some teens practice these skills in front of a Shark Tank-like panel.
  • Fail What can seem like a major failure at the time can actually surface incredible opportunities. Hear stories about how an open mind and resilience can change a person’s course.
  • Yum All young people, everywhere in the world, have hopes, dreams and even fears for the future. They share their thoughts while they cook a family recipe for each other.

These videos were viewed more than 10 million times in the first five months of being launched. Stay tuned for new, original content, as well as the next phase of our digital strategy.

Educational Resources

Middle School

ASA’s Middle School Exploration Program is a free digital ten-lesson curriculum in which students can discover their skills and interests, learn about career clusters, and explore different educational options. Students will leave this program with a better understanding of how to approach decisions regarding their future plans, their skill development, and their career preferences.

These lessons were designed by ASA’s Programs & Curriculum team, who then piloted the program at school districts across the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Teacher and student feedback were collected to determine program success. All lessons and activities have been adapted for digital use and can be easily utilized by educators in-person, remotely, or in hybrid models of instruction. This program can be delivered in full, or teachers can opt to pull units or lessons out as needed.

If you have questions about the programming, please contact Ashley Hemmy, Senior Programs & Curriculum Specialist at ahemmy@asa.org.

See the below unit descriptions:

Exploring Self

Unit 1 (Lessons 1-4): Through a range of individual and group-based activities, students will explore their own skills, interests, values, and learning styles in relation to others’. By the end of the unit, each student will be able to confidently summarize their own strengths, passions, and attributes.

Understanding Options: Career Exploration

Unit 2 (Lessons 5-7): Now that students understand themselves, they will begin to envision their futures and learn about careers that align with their goals. Games, sorting activities, and presentations fuel the exploration process, helping students gain a clearer picture of the man professional possibilities available to them.

Informing Future Decisions: Education Pathways

Unit 3 (Lessons 8-10): Does every career require a college degree? Students will look at all the post-secondary options available –including college—and discover how to prepare for next steps after high school. Every student will leave understanding their strengths, programs that fit their goals, and growth areas to pursue.

Fill out the form below to access ASA’s Middle School Exploration Program Curriculum

    High School

    To help high school students navigate the uncertainties of today, and prepare them for the return to the new normal next school year,  ASA has produced a series of webinars that help address the common areas of uncertainty for both students and families. Each webinar provides opportunity to obtain more information through research of webpages or through the completion of activity forms.

    Webinar 1: Apprenticeships & Internship– This webinar, intended for both grades 11 & 12, takes a look into preparation for applying for these opportunities through the lens of resumes and interviews & concludes with a review of resources to search for these opportunities digitally.

    Webinar 2: Best Fit: Weighing Award Letters & Other Factors – This webinar, intended for grade 12 students choosing between college acceptances, analyzes the award letter process, discusses several factors that come into play when choosing a college, and suggests strategies to make the most informed decision before sending your deposit.

    Webinar 3: Grade 11 Webinar – This webinar summarizes the process of searching and discussing post-secondary options students may be choosing from. This addresses important topics such as college, career, military, trade schools, self-care, and the many conversations that should be had throughout the process.

    All links to the resources mentioned in the above webinars can be found in our consolidated resource list.

    In-School Programs

    Our in-school programs cater to middle and high school students during and after school, offering activities to explore interests and skills, career exploration, tutoring, peer mentoring, college visits, and career and college workshops. ASA offers its own career exploration and interest inventory programming to students in grades 6-12, as well as college access and success programming supported by federal TRIO and GEAR UP grant funding.

    We partner with educational institutions and community organizations to deliver our programming that is designed around career exploration. We understand that students do best when their learning and work are aligned with their natural capabilities, and we also know that students’ interests may evolve over time. Rather than set students on a specific career path with no room for deviation, we instead open up a world of opportunity to students and expand their career choices, helping them build flexible education and career plans that grow along with their talents. Along the way, we break down the societal biases and stereotypes that can begin to color students’ perceptions at a very young age and lead to a self-imposed narrowing of options.

    Our programming is provided free of charge to schools and nonprofit entities. To learn more, contact Ashley Hemmy, Senior Programs & Curriculum Specialist at ahemmy@asa.org

    Gear Up

    Working in conjunction with the statewide GEAR UP program at East Boston High School, our counselors encourage young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard and take the right courses to prepare for education beyond high school. In 2017, 72 percent of graduates went on to enroll in a post-secondary program of study. Additionally, 78 percent improved their math scores with the program’s help and 67 percent reduced their number of absences.

    Contact Info
    For more information, contact Grace Ajayi via email or at 857.319.1484.

    Download Application

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    Educational Talent Search

    We work to help students succeed with age-appropriate activities to increase knowledge, financial literacy, and academic rigor. ASA provides curriculum and materials for classroom workshops, school-wide events, and off-site enrichment opportunities.

    These programs have proven to help students persist through high school and find a path to higher education. In 2017, 67 percent of those we served were low-income and first generation; 93 percent of our Talent Search students who weren’t high school seniors progressed to the next grade; 95 percent of our Talent Search seniors successfully graduated from high school; and 78 percent enrolled in a higher education institution immediately after high school.

    Boston Talent Search

    Students at Brighton High School, Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH), and English High School are eligible to participate. To apply, parents and students should talk to a Talent Search Education Advisor at their school.

    Download Application
    Download Brochure

    Upward Bound

    At our Upward Bound Brockton High School program, we partner with Stonehill College to help students develop the academic skills necessary to graduate from high school and get a higher education credential. Through an academic year after-school program and a summer program, we offer enrichment activities and workshops that focus on college and career readiness, financial aid, standardized testing, and cultural development. All of our Upward Bound students either graduated or proceeded to the next grade. Seventy-five percent went on to enroll in higher education, and on average, nearly 70 percent of students who participate in Brockton Upward Bound and enroll in post-secondary education go on to receive an associate or bachelor’s degree within six years.

    Contact Info
    For more information, students can speak with their guidance counselor at Brockton High School or visit the Upward Bound Office, Yellow Science.

    Download Application

    Download Brochure

    In-Person Programming

    The Education and Career Planning Centers located in Brockton and at the Boston Public Library have been resources to their communities for decades. For the last eight years, American Student Assistance (ASA) has been honored to empower young people and adult learners to navigate the path to higher education through the support services provided at these centers.

    Effective, September 1, 2020, ASA has transferred the management of both the Boston Public Library Center and the Brockton Center to MassEdCO, a nonprofit college and career access network that operates postsecondary planning services and Educational Opportunity Centers throughout Massachusetts. We are confident this transfer will maintain the high-level of service and support provided by ASA’s staff for the last eight years.

    Due to COVID-19, the Mass EdCo walk-in centers are currently closed, but their Advisors are still available for support. Mass EdCo advisors are available to answer calls at 617.536.0200 for Boston and 508.586.3100 for Brockton

    American Student Assistance continues to support the operation of a College Information Center in Washington, D.C. If you live in the D.C. area and need advice on planning for higher education, please contact Reach4Success to make an appointment.

    1020 19th Street NW, Suite 500
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    202.331.8080 ext. 101
    admin@reach4success.org

    Resources

    Our Supporting Partners

    ASA Education & Career Planning receives grants and in-kind support from our supporting partners. Additional support comes directly from ASA and individual schools.

    Our partners include: