Has Your Teen Chosen A Career Path?

Has Your Teen Chosen A Career Path?

As your high school senior prepares to graduate, the thought of what they would like to do with their life has undoubtedly been on everyone’s mind. Whether they plan on attending a college or university after graduation or go on to learn a trade, they will need to come up with a career of interest so they know what path to follow.

You spend more hours at work each week than you do awake with your loved ones so it’s very important to choose a career that you are passionate about. When you work in a profession that you love, you will perform better and be more fulfilled. For those reasons, it’s important that you help your teen find something that they’ll love to do and then investigate different paths they can take to get there.

Keep in mind, just because your teen chooses one career field today doesn’t mean that they won’t change their mind and switch it up along the way. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics said that college students change their major an average of three times during their college career. Choosing a career can be stressful and once they get immersed into the focused courses in college, they may realize it’s not what they thought it was going to be. Think of it this way, it’s better for them to find out while they are still in college than to suffer in a career that they hate for their whole adult life.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your teen choose a career that will be the perfect fit for them.

Discuss your teen’s strengths and passions.

The perfect way to do this is by taking an aptitude test. There are different aptitude tests you can take and career counselors can provide you with their top, trusted resources. Your teen shouldn’t necessarily go with the career path that they predict if they don’t think it would be a good fit, but it will bring to light their strengths and if they take multiple tests, they’ll see a trend that will reveal fields they are passionate about.

Career of Passion

Uncover passions through activities.

People learn a lot about themselves by being exposed to various activities. Nature, museums, travel, different cultures…these are all things that your teen should be exposed to. You will notice areas that they get excited about or pique their interest more than others. They may want to explore career fields related to those areas of interest.

Get your teen in touch with a mentor.

Does your teen show a strong interest in a particular career field? Try to find someone that they could job shadow a few times. This person could also mentor them and give them guidance as they obtain the necessary training. The mentor should be someone who is a positive role model and someone who is an inspiration to them. A great mentor can change the course of someone’s life forever.

Mentors Help Career Choice

Trust that your teen knows their interests better than you do.

It’s hard to step back and let your child figure things out on their own, and this is no exception. Keep in mind that they are their own person. They know what interests them and what they are passionate about. You can gently mention pros and cons of the careers that they mention but remember, just because something doesn’t interest you doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting career to your teen.

Be their rock through the good and the bad.

Raising a teen requires a lot of patience and understanding. Choosing a career can be a long process filled with self-discovery, trials, and tribulations. Be patient with your teen and be there as they grow into the wonderful adult they are destined to be!

We have a lot of resources and guidance for your teen that will help them as they prepare to graduate. Head over to our Facebook page and stay in the know!

If your teen chooses to go the college route, check out this article on scouting colleges and if you have any other questions about how our program prepares students for life after high school, give us a call at 800-297-2119.

Virtual Students Glide into the Workplace

Virtual Students Glide into the Workplace

Whether your student goes to college or not after earning their high school diploma, one thing remains for certain: they will need to get a job. Students who are enrolled in a traditional school could have a harder time adjusting to entering the work force than virtual learners. After all, in traditional schools, your schedule is mandated; your goals are preset. Much to do with your success is out of your hands.Workplace training

With virtual schools, such as My Virtual Academy, your success is largely in your hands. You have to learn the skills of self-management, which will come easily because you will work on courses at your own pace, on your own time, and you will be responsible for your daily progress. This skill alone gives you an advantage over those who took the traditional route of schooling.

The workforce is evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before. Thanks to the Internet business is no longer conducted just within your community. Even the smallest business can be global. Does your student have the skills needed to keep up with the jobs of tomorrow? If they are at My Virtual Academy, the answer is yes!

Technology is advancing by the minute. That means that your student must have an adaptive set of skills to offer an employer. They must be willing to constantly learn, often from a computerized learning module. These ongoing skill expansions will allow them to stay marketable and valued as an employee and contributor to the business. It will keep them at the top of the list of people who are able to meet their employer’s needs and technological advances. Virtual learning helps prepare students by allowing them to master this style of learning as they complete their high school coursework.

Employers will also be looking for the following characteristics:

Prioritizing Work

As a boss, being able to assign tasks and not micromanage your employee is a must. If someone can be given a job or a task, make a plan of attack and execute it so that the task is complete without the boss having to walk them through things step-by-step, that takes a lot of pressure off of a boss. That’s the kind of employee they want. Good news! Your teen is doing that on a daily basis! They know the job at hand and have to figure out how to organize and plan out how they will complete the lesson. Virtual learning really fine tunes their organizational skills.

Woodworking skills


As we mentioned, no one wants to micromanage. It takes a lot out of everyone involved. The boss loses valuable time monitoring what their employee is doing and the employee feels like someone is constantly watching them and telling them what to do. It’s usually a lose-lose situation. Being able to motivate and guide yourself is a must-have skill in today’s job market. As a virtual student, your teen is proficient as they need to be highly self-motivated to succeed in a virtual setting. They need to have the discipline to focus and complete their coursework.

Collaborative Mindset

When you are a virtual student, you are constantly collaborating with others to complete projects. These students that you might work with come from a multitude of different backgrounds, cultures, religions, etc. Successfully collaborating with others that are different from you in school and in the workplace is crucial. It not only offers you insight into how others solve problems, view the world, and digest information, but it forces you to find commonalities and work together to get the job done. The same principle applies to both schooling and the workplace.

Technology and workplace expectations are constantly advancing and My Virtual Academy works hard to Metal workingensure that your student has all the skill-sets needed to exceed during their school years and beyond. We’ve structured our flexible learning courses to meet the needs of your students today while preparing them for the world tomorrow. We believe that the skills they will master while in our academy will do just that. The self-discipline, self-control, organization, time management, and technological know-how will place them highly in a competitive market upon graduation.

Is your student interested in joining My Virtual Academy and gaining the skills needed to give them a leg up? Reach out to us on our Facebook page, our website, or by calling 800-297-2119. Our friendly staff is waiting to answer any questions you may have or begin your child’s enrollment. We believe that every student should have the chance to learn to their full potential, and that may not always mean the traditional brick-and-mortar schools that we are used to. We are a tuition-free school and students enrolled with My Virtual Academy receive everything they need to successfully complete our program and earn their high school diploma. What do you have to lose? See if My Virtual Academy is the right fit for your teen today!

Scouting Colleges: Helping Your Teen Choose The Right One.

Scouting Colleges: Helping Your Teen Choose The Right One.

We know, we know. How did your baby grow up so fast!? They are now a senior in high school and ready to venture off to college in the fall. Where on Earth did the time go?

Instead of looking at college as a sad time, look at it as the start of new beginnings for your teen! They worked very hard to get where they are and now is the time to set them up for their future careers and wonderful lives.

Now is the perfect time to tour some of the colleges and get your teen enrolled for the upcoming school year. Before you jet off to tour colleges and universities, there are some things you must keep in mind when scouting them out. Keep this checklist handy so your nerves don’t get the best of you when it’s time to see what the college is really all about!

Does the college or university really offer what you need?

Make sure the school offers things that meet your child’s individual needs, such as:

  • Do they offer a strong, reputable program that is geared towards your student’s area of focus?
  • Will your student learn well with their instruction method?
  • Does your student feel comfortable amongst their peers at the school?
  • Does the school provide coursework that will challenge your student?
  • How does the school value its students and reward their strengths?

Do they offer services to maintain a healthy physical lifestyle?

Everyone hears about the dreaded “Freshman 15,” but does the college provide healthy meal options and places to keep physically fit? When a student is both mentally and physically fit, they tend to be the happiest and working at their maximum potential, so look for a college that allows outlets for physical activity.

Do they offer suitable housing?

We all know dorm rooms can be tiny spaces, but do they offer single living spaces, shared rooms, shared bathrooms, or suite-mates? Just like looking at houses, you can’t really get a feel of the place until you’ve been inside. Sometimes a dorm might appear one way in a photo on the school’s website but you’ll get a whole different vibe once you actually step inside. Make sure to tour the dorms and ask questions such as what is their policy on substance abuse? Are there gender-specific bathrooms? Are there certain quiet hours for studying? All of these factors come into play. After all, it is where your teen will be spending their days.

Is the school known for its lively nightlife?

There will most likely be some type of partying going on at all colleges, however, is the college your teen is looking at well-known for its vivacious nightlife? It’s great for a college to offer fraternities, sororities, clubs, etc., because it allows the students to interact and form friendships. With that said, if it’s known for partying, you might want to consider another option for your teen.

Does the school have places of worship nearby?

Is the college or university very open and accepting of different religions? Is your religion one that is welcomed with open arms? Do they have places to worship nearby the campus? Faith is an important role in many lives and you want to make sure that you have a place to practice your worship, should you so choose. If you are someone who is nonreligious, consider if the school is faith based. If it is, is that ok with you or will you be uncomfortable?

Location, location, location!

How was the drive to the campus from your house? Is it in close enough proximity that they can commute from home or would they need to live on or near campus? Is the school close enough to home that should they be homesick or want to come home for a weekend that they can hop in the car and do so, or would they need to fly home? These are all great questions because the expense varies greatly and could make life difficult if you are shelling out for airline tickets every holiday or break.

Finding college housing with help from parents

Take it all in.

Take in the sights and sounds that are around you. You know your child better than anyone…will they not just like it but thrive at the college/university? Will all of their needs be met there? How do the other students seem? Are they welcoming? How are the professors and buildings? Are they well maintained and are the professors adored by their students? These are all things that tell a lot about a school. You’ll learn much more by simply observing than you ever would by looking things up on their website. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy this time with your teen! They are getting ready to spread their wings and are looking for your guidance. Treasure this time with them.

We are so happy that you let us become part of the fabric of their lives. It’s truly been a pleasure and we can’t wait to see what the second half of the year brings and onto graduation! Have you “liked” our Facebook page? We will be showcasing other things you’ll need to know as you prep your teen for college or life beyond high school and we’d love for you to check it out! Head over here and “like” our page today!

Call us today at 800-297-2119 or visit our website to learn more about our program.

Preparing Your Teen For College: Are They Ready?

Preparing Your Teen For College: Are They Ready?

Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were cradling your baby in your arms, having just come home from the hospital? Now they are finishing their final year of high school and preparing to venture off to college. The feeling is surreal!

First off, congratulations parents! Congratulations on raising a wonderful child who has blossomed into a young adult, ready to take on the world. Before you send your not-so-little one flying from the nest, there are things you should go over with them so they have all the skills to be successful and thrive during their college years and beyond.

Graduation celebration


Once your teen is on their own, they will definitely need to know how to manage their money. They will have basic living expenses, plus other incidentals that arise such as going out to eat with friends, entertainment, etc. Have a nice chat with your teen to discuss how they will have money coming in (will they need to take on a part time job or will you be giving them an allowance to budget each month?). Then, discuss all of the ways that money needs to be divided and figure out, together, how much they’ll need in each of those categories to survive. Encourage your teen to track their expenses so they stay on track financially each month. This avoids money shortages and financial pitfalls that plague many people who are just starting out.

Kid preparing to move into collegeDaily Living

If your teen is living in a dorm on campus, chances are pretty high that they’ll have at least one roommate that they will be sharing a tight space with. They’ll need to be mindful of that other person and keep their items neat, organized, and on their side of the room. Also, when it comes to classes, attendance is vital to your teen’s success. When they are on their own, they might be tempted to sleep in or skip a class thinking it’s no big deal and that they’ll play catch up. Remind them that isn’t how it works in college. They won’t get yelled at by the instructor, but their grades will suffer. If your teen has a hard time waking in the morning, encourage them to enroll in classes that are later in the day so they start off on the right foot from day one.

Your teen will also need to take care of their daily living needs on their own, such as doing their laundry. It may sound silly, but some teens have never had to put on a load of laundry. Make sure this is a skill that is under their belt before they head off. Knowing how to sort clothes and what temperatures to wash them in will be very beneficial. Does your teen have a kitchen where they will need to prepare their own meals? Teach them a few basics so they will be able to follow recipes and prepare a meal on their own. Remember, they are used to relying on you for these types of things their whole life thus far so this is all new territory for them.

Will your student have a vehicle on campus? Review with them the basics of car maintenance and safety. Let them know it’s crucial not to skip oil changes or put them off. After all, it’s cheaper to change your oil than your engine! If warning lights come on or the vehicle starts making funny noises, let them know how you would prefer they handle it (take it to a mechanic, call you, call roadside assistance, etc.).

TemptationsAvoiding temptations pic

Everything is new and exciting when teens first arrive on campus. They may hear of parties going on, festivals taking place, football tailgating, and so on. Let them know which of these activities you are comfortable with them attending and stress that their safety is your biggest concern. There will be a lot of temptations all around them when they go off to college, so it’s very important that they have the tools needed to avoid them or act responsibly. It’s wise to remind them that no matter what situation they are in, they are always able to call home and you will help them. There’s nothing worse than being in a bad situation and feeling like you can’t reach out to the people who can help you.

Medical Needs and Emergencies

There are bound to be times where your teen will need to see a doctor. Make sure they have a copy of the insurance card and know ahead of time what doctors they are approved to see. It’s a wise idea to make sure that their new doctor is listed as their primary doctor with insurance so that when it comes time for a doctor appointment, they don’t run in to any roadblocks. Also, discuss what hospital they should go to in case of emergency and make sure they know where it is. You could also find out what pharmacies are nearby so they know where to get prescriptions filled, should they need to.

In the unfortunate event that an emergency does arise, like a fire, accident, etc, give your teen a list of emergency contacts, including the number for poison control, the campus police, their doctor/hospital, and their Resident Assistant. Preparing a small first aid kit for them is also a nice thing to do so they’ll be equipped for any headaches, scrapes, and fevers.

Preparing for college

Are You Ready?

Now that you have prepared your teen for all of these various situations and daily living scenarios, the question remains: are YOU ready? You may have mixed emotions about your baby going off to college, but just think of the exciting journey they are about to embark on! You have to trust that up until this point, you have given them the skills needed to be successful for life after graduation. Always remember, you will be there like a safety net should they fall or need help.

Did you know that My Virtual Academy has a Facebook page? Make sure you “like” it so you can stay on top of the latest happenings at My Virtual Academy and even connect to others in the MVA Community!

What is Personalized Learning?

What is Personalized Learning?

Personalized Learning

Danielle Yanssens

Personalized Learning “refers to a diverse variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students”, according to The Glossary of Education Reform by Great Schools Partnership. How does Back on Track, offer personalized learning?

When a student submits an inquiry online or calls the Back on Track office, we are able to offer them several different options to acquire their high school diploma. For students who have previously dropped out of high school and are 21 or older, we enroll them into Clintondale Virtual School, a credit recovery program which, for a small fee, allows adults to achieve their high school diploma. This appeals to adults who had considered getting their GED in the past, which limits their options for post-secondary education.

For those students who have previously dropped out of high school and are between the ages of 18 and 20, we suggest our tuition-free Step Up program where students work on one class at a time and are required to complete a minimum of one class per month, with the ability to work year round. This gives students the opportunity to work on completing their high school education at a faster rate than if they attending a full time high school. We have also found that for this population, students are able to find more success when focusing on just one course at a time, rather than the full six class course load.

Girl smiling by computer

Many students who are between the ages of 16 and 20 choose to attend one of our brick and mortar alternative education schools. This student population includes students that are teenage parents, potential dropouts, have been expelled from their traditional school, or have been court-ordered by the juvenile detention systems. Our alternative education locations offer various skilled trade courses where students can graduate with a certificate of completion to help them obtain employment right out of high school. While there is increased security at these locations, they are also staffed with caring employees who encourage students to complete their education and get on a better path for their future.

Parents with students in grades 6 through 12 will often contact us requesting information about our virtual school, My Virtual Academy. MVA partners with school districts throughout the state of Michigan, offering a fully online option for students. This appeals to a wide variety of students, including those looking to graduate early, students who struggle with mental or physical illness, teenage parents, students who do not feel safe in their traditional school due to bullying or students who have to work full time in order to help support their family.  We have students who are pursuing their passion, such as the theater or gymnastics, and choose online schooling to work around their schedules. Some parents even prefer their children attend a virtual school based on their cultural and religious beliefs.

In addition to the several different educational programs Back on Track offers to help meet the different learning needs of our students, we also offer a variety of learning experiences and instructional approaches. Our highly qualified, certified teachers ensure that the curriculum meets all Common Core Standards. Teachers have the ability to offer students different types of assessments based on their instructional needs, and offer in-person tutoring in addition to daily online tutoring. Students receive one-to-one instruction, with teachers contacting them a minimum of once per week, as well as participating in whole group activities in our weekly live sessions.

2016 graduates

While there are some obvious limitations to virtual and alternative learning, the many benefits often make Back on Track the best option for many students.