Everyone’s learned new ways to navigate the world since the rise of COVID-19. High school students in particular have struggled because in-person college campus tours and meetings have been limited or shut down entirely.

This guide explains how educators can help students navigate career planning and their college choice during COVID-19 so every student feels confident about their future.

1. Create Face-to-Face Interactions

Emails and phone calls are reliable ways to keep in touch, but they don’t have the same benefits of an in-person counseling session. As educators figure out how teachers can help with college choice, face-to-face interactions remain a popular way to help students and their parents decide on their best steps forward.

While everyone’s on camera, educators can read body language and physical cues that they would miss on the phone. Students may indicate their disinterest in their parents’ preferred university or show they don’t understand something they don’t feel comfortable asking about.

Noticing these things guides educators through conversations that shape how students set up their career planning and college choice.

2. Connect Students With Experts

Making a final college choice during COVID-19 is much easier if students get to speak with experts. When they can’t schedule an in-person meeting, young people may feel limited with who they can talk to and avoid reaching out altogether. They also can’t walk past offices or posters to discover new resources if their schools remain shut down.

Educators should take the initiative to connect students with people like financial planners, school counselors, or registrar office employees. Send a group email to college representatives and prompt discussions about common questions, like how their university responds to on-campus COVID-19 outbreaks.

Students have an easier time making decisions about their future if they get all the answers they need.

3. Reframe Career Possibilities

COVID-19 changed how people view certain career paths. Young people who may have wanted to become doctors or traveling writers may want a different job to protect their mental or physical health from a future virus. Educators can talk about these changes and even discuss alternative careers that are in greater demand.

Helping students with career planning during COVID-19 starts with facts. A student interested in a medical profession but unsure what to focus on might be influenced by statistics on what careers are in demand — for example, dental assisting is a rapidly growing field because of the 30% increase in pandemic stress-related oral health diseases.

On the other hand, a student trying to decide between an English major and something more conventionally “practical” might be encouraged to know that there are currently 1.48 million English graduates in the workforce, and that number is likely to grow with more remote employment options.

High school graduates who get the right education could easily find employment in these rewarding positions because the pandemic has opened new doors — and you can help them find the key.

4. Emphasize Mental Healthcare

While reading about how teachers can help with college choice, don’t forget to emphasize the importance of mental healthcare. Students will evaluate their options and fill out college applications with confidence if they know how to mitigate their stress long-term.

Point out self-care habits and explain how to utilize them so students maintain their enthusiasm and energy while starting the next phase of their lives.

5. Explore New Opportunities

Many students feel that making a college choice during COVID-19 is more complex, but there are actually more opportunities. Educators should point out the expansion of online class and degree options.

These often require less time and money, so they could speed up a student’s college timeframe or make new degrees financially accessible.

6. Remind Students About Hopeful News

COVID-19 isn’t going to keep the world in a pandemic forever. As more people are able to access vaccinations and treatments, students will be able to tour campuses again and speak in-person with college representatives.

Although some things have changed, like career options and virtual opportunities, the most significant parts of applying to colleges and choosing a campus will come back and make students more confident while planning their future.

Helping Students With Career Planning During COVID-19

Educators can help students navigate career planning and college choice during COVID-19 with simple tips like these. Remind them of their future, how the pandemic expanded some of their options, and why they still have a bright professional life ahead of them. They’ll have an easier time making big decisions and rest easy with your guidance.