Making a Plan

Now that your youth has determined some careers of interest, it’s time to narrow down the list further.

Determine the criteria

The criteria for choosing a career is unique, and based on interests, passions, values, skills and needs.

Below is an example of a criteria table you and your youth can use. The most important factors are listed across the top, with the careers under consideration listed down the left. Each cell is marked with one of the following:
√ - shows that the career meets the criterion.
? - indicates you’re not sure and have more questions.
× - means that the career doesn’t meet the criterion.

Encourage your youth to focus on the careers that have more "√" indicators and fewer "×" indicators in the accompanying row. If there are several "?" indicators, youth likely need to do some more research on the career.

The criteria table can also be used to make other decisions, such as comparing programs from different post-secondary institutions.

Source: WorkBC Parents’ Guide


Have your youth complete their own criteria table worksheet (PDF). Remind them to share, print, or save their completed worksheet.

Connect with professionals

Engaging with professionals that work in the occupations and environments that are of interest can help determine if that career is one your youth would like to pursue further. It can offer the opportunity to learn about their experiences, their career path, key responsibilities, as well as asking questions that may help guide your youth’s decisions.

Here are some options to help gain insight into an occupation:
  • Attend career fairs – Encourage your youth to engage with employers and professionals in the industry or organization through events and conferences. The opportunities are plenty!
  • Informational interviews – Arrange a meeting with a professional working in the occupation to learn more about their career. 
  • Job shadowing – Spend time observing a professional on the job and see what a typical day’s work is really like.
  • Consider a mentor – Listen and learn from an experienced professional over time. They can offer valuable insight, advice, guidance and support towards your youth's career path.
An added benefit to making these connections is the building of your network, which can be helpful along your youth’s career journey.

Here are some sample questions your youth can ask people working in careers of interest:
  • How did you choose this career?
  • What kind of training did you need to enter this career?
  • Is there a post-secondary institution you would recommend?
  • What do you like most about your work?
  • What do you like least about your work?
  • What are the key responsibilities in your job?
  • What is a typical day on the job like?
  • What are the most important skills or traits for success in this job?
  • What is the salary range for people in your field?
  • How good are the employment prospects?
  • Do you know of other careers that are related to yours that might interest me?


To learn how to engage in an informational interview, read our blog: The Power of a Cup of Coffee

Visit EducationPlannerBC

EducationPlannerBC is a one-stop resource for planning your post-secondary education.

Discover the programs offered in B.C. by subject, location and length of time. Visitors will also learn about any entrance requirements. When ready, apply to the post-secondary school of choice online at EducationPlannerBC

Parents, when exploring these options with your youth, it’s important to allow them to do the work.  Here are a few helpful hints to while going through this process:

DO brainstorm ideas and questions about program options.
DON’T do the research required to learn about program options.

DO offer encouragement through the application process.
DON’T complete the application for them.

DO discuss plans for financing their education.
DON’T prepare their budget or application for funding.

DO brainstorm questions in advance of an advising appointment.
DON’T attend the advising appointment.

DO discuss course registration and selection.
DON’T register for them.

DO offer advice about how to approach an instructor or professor concerning a specific issue.
DON’T contact the instructor or professor directly.

DO offer encouragement or feedback on their course work.
DON’T call them several times a day reminding them to do their course work.

DO offer encouragement or feedback on their essays.
DON’T write parts of their entire essay.

DO discuss their progress.
DON’T go online or go to campus to try and get their grades for them.

Source: EducationPlannerBC


Invite your youth to complete the post-secondary institution options worksheet (PDF) to narrow down their school of choice. Remind them to share, print, or save their completed worksheet.

Consider co-operative education

Co-operative education (co-op) integrates a student’s academic work with relevant paid work experience. Co-op programs are offered at most B.C. public post-secondary institutions and are available for many program areas.

Here are some benefits of including a co-operative term with a learning experience:
  • Gain paid and relevant work experience.
  • Apply classroom learning in the workplace.
  • Develop practical workplace skills and learn to market skills to employers.
  • Build a valuable network of contacts and references in the field.
  • Boost chances of landing a great job after graduation.
  • Earn money to help with education costs.


With your youth or on their own, invite them to read some inspirational success stories to learn how powerful a co-operative education experience can be.

Think about studying abroad

Your youth may want to continue their learning while travelling. Study abroad programs offer the opportunity to experience the world as their classroom.

Studying abroad can offer an experience of a lifetime. There are many benefits of studying abroad!

If your youth is interested in studying abroad, encourage them to check with their preferred post-secondary institutions first to learn about their options and any requirements.