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Your Educational Suitcase

By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education

Each year when September comes around there is excitement in the air as everyone heads back to school. Elementary, secondary, and college students have the chance for a new beginning and a fresh start at learning. Students and parents of all ages get involved with this process and everyone has a sense of anticipation. A new school year gives everyone an opportunity to think about what they want to accomplish as they add important skills to their educational suitcase. Giving some thought to what you are going to pack in that suitcase this year is a worth taking some time to think about and to set some goals to accomplish.

The media is full of stories about the importance of getting a good education to prepare for the future. Across the country, there is an emphasis on getting all students “college and career ready.” Here in Utah, each student will be expected to have a plan on how to become college and career ready that is carefully thought out by the student, a counselor, and a parent. There are many exciting pathways available for students to follow that will prepare for exciting careers, but success in the future requires serious preparation now.

In Utah, students are encouraged to prepare for and take the ACT test in their junior or senior year. This past year 73 percent of the graduating class took the test. The ACT test provides some valuable information concerning the students preparation for being college and career ready. ACT calls these measures “benchmarks” that students should meet to be prepared for success in the future. Students should look at the ACT “scores” as information on how well they are doing with this preparation.

Many factors need to come together to lead you to being prepared for the future. You should take the right sequence of courses for your chosen pathway. You should be serious about doing your very best work. You should take advantage of career and planning activities that will give you the information to make good decisions.

Working with school counselors, teachers, and parents, all students can be prepared for the future.

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