Florida’s High School Freshmen to Benefit from Early College and Career Planning


A requirement by the state has helped incoming high school freshmen prepare for college or the workforce.

Local school districts project last year’s eighth graders will benefit from the statewide middle school Career and Education Planning course, and will enter high school this fall equipped with a career goal and a personalized plan to help them achieve it.

The state’s Career and Education Planning course, taken in either seventh or eighth grade, helps students explore their interests and research careers. Once students choose a career goal and learn what level of education they need to achieve it, they create an electronic Personal Education Plan (ePEP), through Florida’s online student advising system at FACTS.org.

“The middle school course in career planning allows our students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and what they would like to achieve in the future,” said Heather Price of Brevard Public Schools. “It helps them to see how their course selections today will affect their plans for tomorrow.”

With a high school plan in hand, students select the right number and types of courses that will help them achieve their educational goal. Students can select college or career preparation programs, or they can keep their options open and choose both.

Only courses that meet the requirements for those programs and are offered at the student’s future high school are available for selection.

The plan also encourages students to take rigorous courses including International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and honors courses, which are all available as selection options.

“Courses taken in high school are critical to future success,” said Dr. Connie Graunke, Executive Director of the Florida Center for Advising & Academic Support within the Department of Education. “Research shows that while more than 90 percent of students say they plan to go to college, half don’t make it and one of the major reasons for not going on is inadequate academic preparation. FACTS.org, and especially the ePEP, can help with that.”

Once in high school, the ePEP becomes a means for students and parents to check student progress by accessing their personalized high school evaluations.

The evaluations track steps toward meeting the requirements for Bright Futures Scholarship awards, university and college admissions and high school graduation. The ePEP also provides direction on the credits, grades or other requirements a student may still need to acquire.

The ePEP is flexible and can be easily modified as a student’s interests and goals may change. Students can also use other tools on FACTS.org to search postsecondary institutions and programs in Florida, apply for colleges online or find financial aid resources.

“The ePEP helps students think about long-range planning, and facilitates the reality that college doesn’t just happen, they need to plan for it,” said Dr. Jeff Siskind, counselor at Hagerty High in Seminole County.

To learn more about college preparation and planning or the ePEP visit www.FACTS.org.

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