How to Choose a Career Path: A Guide for High School Students

12 Jul, 2023 | University Preparation

Choosing a career path is an important decision that can have long-lasting effects on your future professional fulfilment and enjoyment. For students aged 12-18, exploring career options early on can provide a solid foundation for making informed decisions. 

In today’s changing world, Gen Z and Gen A individuals in the workplace have the opportunity to explore different avenues, and even change careers throughout their working lives. 

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you navigate choosing your career path!

Reflecting on Your Goals

Self-reflection is a fundamental step in understanding your interests, values and strengths. By taking the time to assess yourself, you can identify your personal preferences and set both short-term and long-term career goals. 

Utilising self-assessment tools and resources – like the OxBright Career Test – can help you in this process by providing personalised career recommendations based on your skills and interests. Always remember to align your career choices with your passions, talents and personal aspirations!

Here are some questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your goals:

  • What activities or subjects excite me the most?
  • What skills do I enjoy developing, and what are my strengths?
  • Which type of work environment suits me the best?
  • What are my values, and what is important to me in a career?
  • What challenges am I willing to face?

By gaining clarity on your goals and values, you can narrow down the career paths that align best with your interests.

Exploring Your Options

Thorough research is key when exploring potential career paths. Make use of informational interviews, job shadowing and internships to gain practical insights into various professions. Online courses and conferences are also great ways to help you gain experience in specific subjects or careers. 

Additionally, researching industries, job prospects and future trends is crucial to making an informed decision. Similarly, reviewing job requirements, qualifications and potential growth opportunities will equip you to make SMART career goals:






You might also want to consider talking to professionals within the fields you’re considering. This can help you to learn more about the day-to-day tasks, challenges and opportunities available in specific career paths. 

This first-hand information can give you a better understanding of whether a particular career is the right fit for you. Similarly, exploring different industries can help you to discover potential new roles you might not have considered – or even heard of – before.

Seeking Guidance

It’s also an excellent idea to seek guidance from a variety of career counsellors, mentors and professionals in your desired field. This can provide you with valuable insights and industry-specific advice to help you navigate your options. This could range from attending in-person industry events, to taking advantage of online platforms to connect with professionals offering guidance and mentorship.

Industry professionals can provide valuable guidance on how best to navigate the industry, as well as being able to provide advice on the type of skills that are currently in demand. Building a network of professionals can also open doors to opportunities like internships and new job roles, while allowing you to develop valuable connections to support you in your career.

OxBright student seeking guidance in choosing a career path.

Considering Education

Education and training are essential in pursuing specific career paths. Researching different educational pathways, like university, vocational programmes and apprenticeships, will help you find the best option for you. 

For university applications, OxBright offers a comprehensive University Preparation Report. You’ll receive a free personalised report, containing insights and resources to help you improve your university applications and boost your future career.  

Take the time to research and compare different educational institutions and programmes. Look for courses that offer a strong curriculum and relevant practical experiences, such as internships or work placements.

Choosing a career path involves a series of important steps and considerations. Trust your instincts, and be open to new opportunities along the way!

Remember that self-reflection, conducting thorough research, seeking guidance and considering your educational choices, are all key elements in making informed decisions about your future. 

Empower yourself with knowledge, and take proactive steps towards your dream career. Embrace the journey – it’s a lifelong process of growth and exploration!


By Emily Hindle

Emily is an undergraduate student at the University of Bristol reading English Literature, specialising in Modernist writers. In her free time, Emily enjoys running and hopes to complete her first half-marathon next year. She also loves photography and videography.

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