Education & Career Planning


Although our physical centers are closed, ASA’s Education Advisors remain available via telephone and email support, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm, and we encourage students and families to reach out in lieu of visiting our centers. Thank you for your understanding.


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.

For more information, contact askasa@asa.org.

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.

At-Home Resources

Middle School

ASA focuses on career exploration as early as middle school. During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is just as crucial for students to be able to learn and grow, from the safety of their own homes. In order to help, we have adapted some of our in-school resources to be used by both educators and parents working with middle school students.

Use this list of resources provided by ASA to share opportunities for career exploration with your students, your students’ parents, and colleagues.

ASA Career Exploration Curriculum for Educators 
Over the past school year, ASA staff has piloted curriculum in middle schools across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We have adapted and digitized some of these curriculum modules to use virtually at home.

  • Career Clusters – Students will learn about the 16 career clusters through creating a slideshow, matching careers to clusters, and completing reflection questions
  • Career Dig  – Students will dig into different careers by researching specific career profiles
  • Claim YourFuture  – Students will explore careers through Claim Your Future, a game where students create and manage a budget
  • Education Pathways  – Students will explore different education pathways through an online scavenger hunt

Use this list of resources provided by ASA to explore career exploration opportunities for your  middle school-aged child. Additionally, the resources below will provide guidance as you develop a schedule for schoolwork at home and as you work with your child to plan for summer and their upcoming high school years.

ASA Career Exploration Curriculum for Parents
Over the past school year, ASA staff has piloted curriculum in middle schools across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We have adapted and digitized some of these curriculum modules for you to download and use with your child at home.

  • Career Clusters – Students will learn about the 16 career clusters through creating a slideshow, matching careers to clusters, and completing reflection questions
  • Career Dig  – Students will dig into different careers by researching specific career profiles
  • Claim Your Future  – Students will explore careers through Claim Your Future, a game where students create and manage a budget
  • Education Pathways  – Students will explore different education pathways through an online scavenger hunt


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, completion of activity forms, or through contacting ASA’s Call Center Services.

Webinar 1: Apprenticeships & Internships – 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.


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 Liliana Ornelas, Manager of Programs and Curriculum, at Lornelas@asa.org.


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.

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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.

Brockton Talent Search

Students at Brockton High School are eligible. Parents and students should apply through Green Guidance. For additional information, visit the Brockton High School Educational Talent Search page.

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.

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In-Person Programming

With a fundamental belief that personal guidance and encouragement can have a profound impact on a student’s life, ASA provides in-person support for Massachusetts high school students, parents, and adults pursuing education beyond high school. Our community walk-in centers and in-school programs help thousands of students each year. Supported jointly with ASA funds and federal TRIO grants, we help learners of all ages find the right education option beyond high school; successfully apply and enroll; find scholarships and financial aid; and find lifelong learning opportunities to navigate their higher education and career journey as the needs arise.

First established as the Higher Education Resource Center at the Boston Public Library in 1986 to meet the college planning needs of the local community, ASA’s community-based programs have helped hundreds of thousands of students in Greater Boston plan for their higher education needs. Today, these programs not only provide one-on-one counsel about higher education planning, but guidance on how that higher education must be linked to both a career objective and a set of skills that can stay with you as careers evolve in a moving economy.

ASA’s Education & Career Planning Centers are invaluable resources for anyone seeking one-on-one guidance on:

  • Choosing higher education
  • Understanding career options and how to get there
  • Preparing for and finding the right higher education pathway
  • Successfully applying and enrolling in a program of higher education
  • Finding scholarships and financial aid
Due to COVID-19, our centers are currently closed, but our Education & Career Planning Center Advisors are still available for support at home. Our advisors are available to answer calls and emails, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm. 

Boston Public Library Center

Copley Square
700 Boylston Street
Lower Level
Boston, MA 02116

Brockton Center

231 Main Street, Suite R
Brockton, MA 02301

For questions and additional information, contact Beverly Pierce, Manager of ASA Education & Career Planning Centers, at bpierce@asa.org or 617.267.7597.

Individual advising services are available on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Parents and students should each bring the following:

  • Most recent federal tax return (1040, 1040A, or 1040 EZ)
  • Untaxed income information
  • Permanent Resident Card or I-94 (if not a U.S. Citizen)

To request education and career planning workshops or presentations for your organization, please complete this form.

In addition, we have several satellite locations in public libraries throughout the City of Boston and the South Shore. Please contact the main Boston center (617.536.0200) or Brockton Center (508.586.3100) to find one in your area and make an appointment with a member of our team.

American Student Assistance also supports 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

Success Story

Maria Tarazona was ecstatic when she gained entrance to the school of her dreams, Harvard – but without the help of ASA’s Education & Career Planning Center, she may never have even applied. Despite high academic achievements, counselors at her high school had discouraged her from applying to elite higher education institutions.

Maria visited the center at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The counselors there immediately recognized Maria’s potential. With their help, she regained her hope and a counselor helped Maria apply to a range of colleges and navigate the financial aid process.

“The people at the Center believed in me when no one else seemed to do so,” said Maria. “This alone changed my outlook about applying to college and gave me hope at a time when I most needed it. …I am very proud to say that I will be attending Harvard in the fall. Thanks to the Center, I am about to embark on an amazing journey at one of the best colleges in the world.”

Call Center

ASA has a Boston-based call center focused on providing students and families with information on planning for a post-secondary education.

Our associates engage with students through phone, email, and social media. We have a dedicated phone line for Spanish speaking callers. Our associates are consumer-focused, earning them consistently high satisfaction ratings over 95%.

Looking for help with your education and career planning? Schedule a time to chat with one of our counselors by clicking on a link below. Appointments are available Monday-Friday.

ASA Education Planning – for answers to your education planning questions, from college applications to FAFSA and scholarship help. We can also assist with student loan repayment questions.

ASA Career Advising – for career counseling and help understanding your future career options and opportunities.

Call center hours:
Mon – Thu: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET
Fri: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

For financial aid and MASSGrant assistance, call 1.877.Ed.Aid.4U (toll free).


Want ASA to Provide Education and Career Planning to Your Organization or Nonprofit?

Our staff works on site at organizations and college fairs, providing guidance on getting into and paying for college, as well as pursuing career-building opportunities. This service is available free to all nonprofit entities. For more information, call 617.535.2128 or contact Liliana Ornelas, Manager of Programs and Curriculum, at Lornelas@asa.org.

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