Brooke Kupcho is a student counselor in Helena Montana. In a recent video with the Student Research Foundation, she shared her insights on the process of helping students develop the self-efficacy that leads to better career choices.

You will want to watch the entire video. Here are some edited portions of what Brooke had to say.

Brooke Describes Her Work

“I am a school counselor in an alternative high school. Prior to that, I worked in the high school setting for six years, working with students that had social, emotional, or behavioral difficulties.”

Brooke Describes the Biggest Challenge She Sees as Students Consider Careers

“The most challenging hurdle is to get students to a place of self-efficacy where they believe it is actually possible for them – not their classmates or someone they know – to define career options and have success.”

On How Students’ Career Plans Take Focus Later in High School

“Typically I see freshmen and sophomores able to identify an array of careers . . . those freshmen and sophomores also struggle to identify the actual steps it would take to get to those careers. Whereas juniors and seniors are more able to identify the steps it takes to achieve that specific career.

“So what we’re seeing here is that with age and maturity, students typically find themselves more able to clearly say what they want to do and how they would achieve it . . . what I see as a big factor in a student’s ability to identify and outline a career is family influence. Does this family have these types of conversations at home?”

Questions to Discuss in Class to Help Students Develop Realistic Career Plans

Here are some questions that can help high school students develop a better understanding of what different careers will be like.

For this series of questions, let’s consider architecture as a career choice. (You can adapt these questions to address almost any careers that your students are considering.)

  • “Paula, you say you want to be an architect. Class, can you help us define some of the specific tasks that architects need to complete in their profession?”
  • “Class, do you think there are different specialties within architecture? Can you help us define what they might be?”
  • “What kinds of equipment and technology do you believe professional architects need to learn about and use?”
  • “How and where can you study to be an architect if you decide to? Is architecture offered as a college major? At which colleges? How much do we know about this?”
  • “Do you, or your family, know any architects? Do you know what they do? Would they be available to visit us and talk about their work?”
  • “What architecture firms are in business in our city or town? What do they do? Can we invite someone from these companies to visit us and talk about their profession?”
  • “As an assignment, can each of you bring to class one resource – a book, an article, a video, etc. – that helped you understand more about what it means to be an architect?”
  • “What classes are offered at our school that teach the skills, and possibly the technology, that could lead to a career in architecture?”

One More Question to Discuss

“Do you think that architecture will be a career that will be in demand in the future? Why?”

The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a reference students should know about as they consider and plan their futures.

We Invite You to Explore Your Students’ College & Career Options with Us . . .

Students who participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study will gain new insights about making educational decisions that align with their interests, passions, and aptitudes. Participants will receive information on college and career opportunities that match their interests.

Participate in the research study


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