In this article
While stress levels have steadily risen for most people over the last five years, studies indicate that perhaps no demographic experiences stress more commonly than high school students. In a recent survey of students between the ages of 13 and 17, a full 70% indicated that anxiety was a major problem among their friends, with another 26% saying it was at least a moderate problem.
Although much of this anxiety can be attributed to school work and the everyday struggles of being a teenager, many experts point to concerns about life after graduation as a primary driver of stress and mental health issues. Often, these concerns are fueled by the uncertain nature of the job market, doubts about college applications, and the effects of rapidly evolving technology on certain career paths.
To help settle these fears, a growing number of students and parents have begun searching for a career test for high schoolers. Typically reserved for counselors' offices or adults looking to change careers, these tests can also be a potent tool for helping teens kickstart their futures.
In this article, we'll outline ten ways that a career test can help high school students decrease stress and prepare for life after graduation.
How Can a Career Test Benefit High Schoolers?
To date, more than three million professionals from around the world have trusted JobTest.org to help them find higher salaries, greater job satisfaction, and better work-life balance in their careers. That said, how can that same test help high schoolers still wondering what college to attend, much less what career they want?
Well, had you asked many of those three million professionals whether they would have taken their test earlier on in life, the answer for many would have been a resounding "yes." That's because a good test can put you on the right career path from day one, rather than having to discover the hard way whether or not you made the right choice when taking your first steps into the professional world.
Below, we've outlined the ten most valuable ways a career test can help teens as they graduate high school and begin the rest of their lives.
1. Choose the Best College
Applying for colleges is likely one of the single most stressful events a high schooler will have experienced up to that point in their life, with 74% saying they were "highly stressed" throughout the process.
Part of this stress is due to financial factors, but a large portion comes from the overwhelming importance of choosing the "right" college. Location, connections, and the quality of different departments—all of these play a vital role in how much value you'll get from your college experience.
By investing the time to take a high-quality career assessment, you can narrow down your options and focus on the qualities that matter most to you and your eventual career.
2. Pick a Major
Somewhere between 25 and 50% of incoming freshmen enter college without declaring a major, and an astonishing 80% of students change their major at least once during their college career. While neither of these statistics is necessarily bad, they can mean less time to focus on the studies most relevant to your future career.
By firmly identifying your main interests before entering college, you can confidently pick a major, knowing it aligns with who you are and what you want your future to be.
3. Plan Your Courses
The average college student takes between twenty and thirty credits each semester—which generally shakes out to about four or five classes—but only earns nine out of every twelve credits taken.
For some, this is due to class overload or other circumstances. Others were part of the 41% of college students who dropped a class during their freshman or sophomore years. While this is, to an extent, "normal," it also means wasted time, effort, and money that could have been spent on more fulfilling or relevant courses.
By identifying your academic and professional interests before choosing college courses, you can maximize your investment and graduate with the greatest number of tools possible to chase your dream.
4. Discover New Interests
The years immediately following high school are, by far, some of the most important for your personal, professional, and social development. Even so, this development is only truly effective when fueled by a healthy dose of self-awareness.
Personality tests can help you achieve that self-awareness by gaining a new perspective and discovering potential interests you may not have considered. In some cases, these newfound interests may even translate into a broader range of career options.
5. Find Internships
Despite the growing outrage surrounding unpaid internships, the right internship can still offer profound benefits for those looking to go into a certain field, especially if they know a specific company with which they want to work.
Beyond giving students a firsthand look at the career they may have one day, these internships also look amazing on future resumes and provide valuable industry connections. And, while internships give employers a chance to evaluate you as a potential employee, they also let you evaluate them as a potential employer. That way, you can know whether a company is the right fit before dedicating time to a lengthy interview process.
6. Identify Volunteer Opportunities
In a 2022 survey of college admissions administrators from universities across the country, upwards of 50% said that volunteer experience significantly affected an applicant's chances of acceptance. Even more impressive, a staggering 82% of professionals in hiring-related positions said they were more likely to hire individuals with volunteering experience.
Taken together, this means that volunteering is one of the single most impactful things a high school student can do to increase their chances of success. And, while career aptitude tests obviously provide career matches, they can also identify organizations with which students can volunteer during their free time.
7. Maximize Summer Breaks
For students of any age, summer breaks are a time to relax, recharge, and enjoy the benefits of being young with (relatively) fewer obligations. With a career test, however, students can enjoy just as much relaxation while also identifying opportunities to build for their futures.
Whether it's a skill set they can work on in their free time, a life experience or trip relevant to their future career, or finding a mentor from a company they respect, identifying potential career paths ahead of time can set students up to recognize opportunities when they come along—and make the most of them.
8. Search for Scholarships
Each year, an estimated $100 million of college scholarships go unclaimed. This number is made even more astonishing when paired with the fact that more than half of all high school students are worried about paying for secondary education.
Usually, this money goes unclaimed due to a simple lack of applicants, often because students don't fully understand the scholarship or don't believe themselves to fit its criteria. With career assessment tests, high schoolers can get a better understanding of their own strengths and merits, then translate that understanding into a broader range of potential scholarships.
9. Boost Your Social Life
Believe it or not, career tests can do wonders for your social life—especially for incoming college freshmen. This is due to the way that career tests map out your interests, values, and passions, then suggest specific activities or pursuits you might enjoy.
That way, you can go into the next chapter of your life armed with the information you need to find extracurriculars, group activities, and like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you.
10. Ensure Career Satisfaction
Even more than a high salary or impressive title, the majority of high school students care deeply about the satisfaction they'd feel in their eventual careers. Satisfaction is so highly valued, in fact, that 63% of surveyed teens said that finding a job they loved was "extremely important."
For ensuring career satisfaction, few tools are better than a well-built career quiz and the resources it offers. By aligning your education and post-high-school career path with the things you value most, you can maximize your chances of landing a job you genuinely love.
When Should High School Students Take a Career Test?
Between the rush of entering a new school, extracurriculars, and worries about their social life, most high school students don't really begin thinking about life after high school until junior or senior year.
Around that time, some schools will even assign career or college counselors to administer a free career test and help students get a better idea of their futures. While this type of test can often provide basic information and guidance about job matches and personality traits, it almost always uses more general, one-size-fits-all questions.
For a more substantial, personalized experience like that offered by JobTest.org, we suggest that high school students take their career tests before beginning the college application process at the latest.
Ideally, taking a career test for teens even earlier in your high school career can help you plan out extracurriculars, volunteering opportunities, and even part-time summer jobs to build skills for a future career.
Important Career Test Features for High Schoolers
Put bluntly, almost any career test is better than no career test when it comes to thinking about your future, so long as it uses facts and valid research. That said, some features matter more than others with high school students specifically. Those wanting the best results should keep an eye out for features like:
In years past, career tests were traditionally given in a pen-and-paper format, usually in study halls or meetings with your school counselor. Due to the en masse nature of these tests, the questions were necessarily designed to apply to as many different students as possible.
Today, however, modern technology has opened the door to more customizable testing in the form of adaptive questioning. With JobTest.org's career test for teens, for example, each question you answer shapes the remaining questions on the test. This way, our process evolves as it learns more about you, narrowing down careers and interests until we have a crystal-clear picture of you as an individual.
Good information is always valuable, but it's best when paired with clear, actionable goals. With traditional career tests, students are given a basic analysis of their personality traits, skills, potential, and general career matches. From there, it's often up to the student and their parents to figure out where to go next.
JobTest.org, however, was founded on the idea that “the way it’s always been” isn’t good enough. Instead, we build a comprehensive breakdown of not only who you are but also step-by-step suggestions for how to put that information to work. From college degrees to certifications and other skill sets, each JobTest.org assessment comes with an entire toolbox designed to help you get where you want to be.
From the Big Five Model of Personality to the DISC assessment, psychologists have designed a wide range of tests for evaluating personality and comparing it to different careers. And, while most companies use more-or-less trustworthy research to build their tests, it's nonetheless essential to do your own research when choosing a career assessment.
Not only is it crucial that a test be founded on respected psychological research, but the company also needs to translate that research into approachable questions that can be easily understood by people of all reading levels.
With how fast the modern job market moves, old information can sometimes be worse than no information at all. Unfortunately, many career tests still use pre-generated lists or databases to supply you with answers, which means you won't actually know how well your results compare to current trends.
By choosing a career test that gathers new data with each user, you can circumvent this flaw and give yourself access to the most current information possible. JobTest.org, for instance, uses AI to mine data from reputable sources as you test, meaning you'll never have to worry about outdated information.
Why You Should Trust JobTest.org
More than anything, JobTest.org was founded with the goal of putting power back into the hands of those trying to build a career. To do so, we've harnessed the power of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and our cutting-edge matching algorithm to provide the most advanced career aptitude test on the market today.
That, combined with our dedication to approachable, compassionate questioning, means that people from all backgrounds can feel safe knowing that our process was built for them.
If you or your high school student thinks that career testing might help them get a head start on building the future they want, consider trying out our career test for teens. No matter what your dreams may be, getting there is a little easier when you have the right information on your side.