S.C. students declare majors long before college

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

Students in South Carolina have some important decisions to make.
A bill passed by legislators last spring means they'll soon be picking a career early on.

At Midland Valley High School, a pilot program is underway for the Aiken County school district. Right now teachers and administrators are designing a plan to help students decide what they may want to do after high school. If the plan works this next school year, the same plan could be in place the following year for the whole district.

“I want to be a pediatric doctor,” says Brandy Higson, a 9th grader.

What about her friends?

“They wouldn't know what to do,” Brandy says. “They'd want somebody to tell them what they'd be good at.”

All school districts in South Carolina are implementing a career cluster system. It'll help students figure out just that, and early.

Guidance director Betty Gallman says, “If you going to be taking courses that affect choices that are going to be open to you, you certainly got to start earlier than 12th grade.”

While teachers always encourage college, agriculture education teacher Jeremy Brooks says this career plan helps everybody.

“It shows up different majors for a 4 year college, a two year college verses employment straight out of high school,” says Brooks.

Here's how the pilot will work when it gets underway in the fall. 8th graders will select a broad career category. In 9th grade, they'll re-visit that plan. By 10th grade, they'll be ready to select a major.

The plan isn’t etched in stone, says English teacher Sherry Johnson, “so that when they do finish school, they'll know they want to do this, or something else.”

Throughout the year, informational meetings will be held for parents to keep them posted on the progress of this program. The next meeting is coming up March 7 at 7 o'clock at Midland Valley high school. It's for parents of rising 8th graders.

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