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.

You’ve Been Accepted! Now, How Do You Choose?

You’ve Been Accepted! Now, How Do You Choose?

As we near graduation, you may be trying to decide what to do next. Some of our students have jobs lined up. Some of you may have applied to a trade school or college. Some may still be figuring out what the future holds after graduation. If you are one of the lucky students that got accepted to a couple of different schools that you applied to, you might be wondering how you are supposed to decide which one to choose.

Trade school and college is an exciting time in your life. You’ll not only learn valuable skills that will earn you big bucks in the future, but you’ll also transition into adulthood during this time. Choosing which college or trade school you’ll go to is serious business. There are a few things to consider when making your decision:

  • Think about the cost. Did you get scholarships? Are you able to afford the tuition?
  • How close it is to your house? Are you able to still live at home while you go to school or will you need to get an apartment or other housing while there?
  • Is it within reasonable distance from your current job or will you need to find another job to meet your living expenses and other obligations?
  • Will you be happy if you graduate with the certain skillset or trade that the school specializes in?
  • How quickly will you complete school?
  • Will you have any friends there?

Student on his phone at schoolThere is a lot to think about when making your final decision on which school to attend after you earn your high school diploma. Make sure that you notify the school of your choice and send in anything that they require by the deadline that they set. Keep your eye on the prize and you will have a bright, successful future!

If you know someone who would benefit from being a virtual student like yourself, let them know about your experience at My Virtual Academy. Let them know that you could do your schooling from home, at a time of your choosing, and at a pace that worked for you. Let them know that we are a tuition-free school. Let them know that you are provided the equipment you needed to succeed, should you have needed it. Spread that word at what a game-changer attending school at My Virtual Academy was for you. You never know who you are inspiring to get their education back on track! If anyone you know would like more information about our program tell them to give us a call at 800-297-2119.

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.

What is a FASFA and Why is it Important?

What is a FASFA and Why is it Important?

So, you’re getting ready to graduate this year and you have your eyes set on continuing your education. That’s fantastic news! Having your high school diploma opens more doors than you would ever have imagined if you didn’t have one, but furthering your education and going into a trade school, community college, or university will allow you to enter your chosen career path and move up the ladder as your performance allows. While everyone wants to go to college, only a fraction of the United States population has the money to pay for it without help. If you have your sights set on college and want to do it without breaking the bank for life, read on!

THE MOST CRUCIAL THING YOU CAN DO IS FILE A FAFSA.

teen fillinf out fasfa

The FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the form you must fill out if you wish to get your hands on some of the federal aid that is dedicated to students pursuing their higher education. Once you complete the FAFSA, colleges and the U.S. Department of Education analyze your need for financial aid, and they determine how much financial assistance you need. Financial aid comes in various forms from loans (money you borrow at a low interest rate and are held responsible to pay back), grants (“free” money), and work-study positions (you work a job to pay off the money given to you to use for school).

To start, make sure you are indeed using the correct website to complete the FAFSA. The correct website is www.fafsa.gov. Don’t fall victim to sites that appear to be legit but are just charging you money for completing a fake application. When you complete the real FAFSA, they will never charge a fee. Application deadlines may vary state to state and depend on what school year you will need the assistance so check the website to make sure you are completing the application on time, or early if you want to get considered for all the options. Make sure every field is completed and if you are stuck on what they are asking you to provide, take a moment to read the directions before you submit. If you completed something incorrectly and need to resubmit, you run the risk of missing the deadline, not to mention many funds that are already given out.

As you are selecting which schools will see your FAFSA information, feel free to choose as many schools as you’d like. It’s free to send your information to as many schools as you chose so do so liberally. Financial aid offices within each school use the FAFSA information you provided to put together your financial aid packet, which is why it’s very important that you list what schools should receive your FAFSA information (up to 10 schools may receive your information). Each school has a code that will need to be input on the form. You can find the codes to all schools by clicking here.

Keep in mind that while filling out the FAFSA can be challenging, there are staff members and people just a phone calls away that can help you. You’ll have to fill one out each year you’re in school so it’s best you learn how to do it now. We wish you the best of luck as you get ready to depart from My Virtual Academy as a graduate. We are so proud of all you have accomplished!

If you are considering a trade school or college, but still need to obtain your high school diploma My Virtual Academy has a variety of tuition free programs to help get you there. Check out our website, follow us on Facebook, or give us a call directly at 800-297-2119 for more information.

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

Finances

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!

Ready…Set…Prep… The SAT Is Right Around The Corner!

Ready…Set…Prep… The SAT Is Right Around The Corner!

It’s the start of the New Year and spring will be here before we know it. For high school students, spring means one thing: time to take the SAT! This is a big test that carries a lot of weight, so don’t procrastinate studying or assume that 4, 5, or even 6 weeks will be enough prep time for your high school student. The earlier you can start, the better so let’s make a plan of attack and figure out the best way to get your student motivated and ready to knock this test out of the park!

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is traditionally taken by high school students in the spring of their junior year, but can be repeated in the fall as a senior. The test assesses students’ knowledge in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics and is considered the nation’s most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. As we mentioned, it’s a big deal so it’s crucial that your student is as prepared as they can be before taking the test.

Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to begin preparing your student for this important test:

Get to Know “The Beast”        

There’s no way to know exactly what questions will be asked on the SAT, but you can get a good idea of the type of questions by taking a pre-SAT test. The pre-SAT tests can be found on various websites and often times are offered through various local schools as well. These are usually given free of charge and have been composed in conjunction with the folks who actually create the SAT every year.

This pretest is great because it allows your student to see what their strong points are and what areas need additional time and attention. The pretest also gives you a glimpse into the potential wording of problems and the types of things covered on the test. These pre-SAT tests are highly beneficial and we strongly urge your student to take at least one.

Creating and following measurable goals

Set Goals and Expectations

It won’t be realistic to think that your student can master all they need to know in a short amount of time. Nor will it be realistic to think that they won’t have to come back and revisit the material they learned in the first week of test preparation. Setting realistic goals of what you want to achieve and detailing out how you expect your student to achieve those goals will be very beneficial. These goals should be broken down into manageable, weekly mini-goals.

When goals are setup in this manner, the student feels the burden has been lifted somewhat because they know the expectations are realistic and (hopefully) they had a hand in setting the goals. If they are hit from the get-go with unrealistic expectations, they will feel defeated before they even start. When making the goals, try to not focus too much on your student obtaining a certain score on their SAT. Focusing on a particular number can add to the pressure your student is already facing with such a big test on the horizon.

Break Out the Books and Study!

You know your teen needs to study, but where do you start? As we mentioned, the pre-SAT is going to be of huge help in this regard. If your teen has taken the pretest, review how they did. See what areas need improvement and start there. Jot down the topics/areas that were their weak points and delve into them. Keep in mind that the areas where they excelled shouldn’t be forgotten. Once your teen has become proficient in the areas they struggled in, have them circle around and revisit the areas where they excelled. You would be surprised what material can be forgotten in a short period of time. By revisiting all of the areas frequently, the information will stay fresh in your student’s mind.

Seek Out Help

Preparing for the SAT can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to admit if you aren’t able to Teachers and parents helping studentshelp your teen understand a particular math equation or decipher literature. There are tutors dedicated to helping students with this particular test prep. The tutors will not only help your teen improve their test score, they will help drill home the methods behind the madness and strengthen your student’s core knowledge. The benefits to obtaining a SAT tutor are endless and are highly recommended.

Stay Focused and Determined

It’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed or even get discouraged at some point along your preparation journey, but have no fear because in the near distant future, this test will be behind your teen and you will have a student on their way to college! Preparing for such a big test can take a long, long time but, like all good things, success comes to those who put in the effort. If your teen seems overwhelmed or like they need a break, offer them one. Test preparation time doesn’t need to be run like you are a drill sergeant, but you should help them stay focused and working toward their weekly goals.

In Summary…

This is a big test for your teen. They already know the pressure is on when it comes to preparation and taking the test so make life more manageable for them by sitting down together and creating weekly study goals. Enroll them in the pre-SAT so they can see where their strengths and weaknesses are. If they just aren’t catching on to a subject area and you are unsure of how to explain it to them, reach out and get a tutor. Lots of parents do it, especially for SAT preparation, because it’s a lot of material to study and can be overwhelming at times. Should you do everything in your power and your student still doesn’t quite make the grade, don’t fret. They can always retake the test the following year, giving them a chance to raise their grade.

We are so happy that your student is at My Virtual Academy and we feel that they have the skills needed to succeed at the SAT and upon graduation. Should you have any questions or need additional help preparing your student for the SAT, contact us by calling 800-297-2119 or reaching out to us on our website. Happy studying!