Peculiarities of career self-determination of modern high school students

otives and factors influencing the process of career self-determination of modern high school students. Specify effective methods of cultivating students conscious attitude towards making a career choice. Trainings from professional determsnation.

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Khmelnytsky National University

Peculiarities of career self-determination of modern high school students

Olena Vasylenko,

Alla Sheremet

The issue of career self-determination of modern high school students is highly crucial at present when labour market is constantly developing thus increasing requirements for modern specialists training. Some young people do not have clear perspectives on life and feel insecure, unconfident. Other high school students choose careers which are of no demand at enterprises and that is why they work in the specialty they have no qualification for. The paper aims to study motives and factors influencing the process of career self-determination of modern high school students and specify effective methods of cultivating students ' conscious attitude towards making a future career choice. The school students were asked to do a survey using the questionnaire designed by authors. Besides, the respondents ' personal ability to make a career choice was determined using techniques What do I like? (by L. Jovaisa) and Career Map by Ye. Klimov. The received results enable us to find out positive and negative factors which affect the process of career self-determination ofmodern high school students and to study what motivates students when they make their career choices. Basing on the research results it can be concluded that the most effective methods to cultivate career self-determination in high school students are trainings in particular the one called Life map: to make one's own career choice .

Keywords: career, career self-determination, high school students, motives and factors of career selfdetermination, methods of cultivating one's career self-determination.


The issue of career self-determination of high school students has always been interesting for leading scientists and practitioners as this issue covers the decisive moment in the life of every person. This issue is highly crucial for early adolescence period as at this age young people's central mental new formation is focused on their future which determines their general perspective on life, appreciating themselves as part of a society, their awareness of being adults and at last outlining their purposes in life.

The obstacles which modern young people challenge on their way to self-determination are mostly associated with current problems such as the period of social and economic changes in our country when neither parents nor school are able to help them make their career choice. That is why a great number of school leavers choose prestigious jobs of a lawyer, an economist, a journalist, a manager, etc. Very few want to choose a career in the sphere of material production, social service, etc. Another problem is that an unsuccessful career choice that is without taking into account personal abilities and possibilities can result in a young person's losing perspectives on life and in some cases can lead to social maladjustment [2].

K. Abulhanova-Slavska, Ye. Holovah, O. Kadenko. Ye. Klimov, R. Nikov, N. Priazhnikov, V. Safin studied the issue of a career choice. V. Bodrov, A. Holomshtok, Ye. Klimov, I. Nazimov, K. Platonov, N. Pobirchenko, V. Syniavskyi, V. Sliastionin, M. Smulson, B. Fedoryshyn and others considered the issue of personal motivation for making a career choice and a person's qualification for a workplace.

Career self-determination has been the issue for discussion not only in sociology, pedagogy, labour psychology and developmental psychology but in acmeology as well. It studies common factors of mental development of an individual in the period of his/her development (acme) which is also characterized by professional growth and taking steps to one's expertise (B. Ananiev, O. Anisimov, A. Bodaliov, V. Hladkova, S. Honcharenko, A. Derkach, N. Kuzmina, I. Pidlasyi, S. Sysoieva, A. Sytnykov).

We should claim that modern researchers associate the study of common factors of inner mental basis of career self-determination with one's awareness of this choice within one's life and personality selfdetermination, experiencing oneself, finding one's role in this world, analysing one's own personal potential and analyzing whether one's own potential can meet career requirements (V. Zhuravliov, I. Zaziun, I. Kon, T. Kudriavtseva, A. Kuharchuk, V. Safin, V. Shynkaruk and others).

Scholars mostly focus on the peculiarities of life and personal self-determination of youth in their scientific researches. Here, the issue of figuring out the factors which influence the process of career self-determination of modern high school students are vaguely studied as well as the issue of studying what motivates students when they make their career choices.

Thus, the aim of this paper is to study the motives and factors which influence the process of career selfdetermination of modern high school students and to find out effective methods of cultivating students' conscious attitude towards their future career choices.


The experiment involved 83 students among who there were 40 eleventh-graders and 43 tenth-graders of Khmelnytskyi specialized comprehensive school 8 (SCS 8). In our research we used the questionnaire designed by us. The respondents were surveyed to figure out motives and factors which influence their career choice. We also used methodology What do I like? (by L. Jovaisa) and Ye. Klimov's methodology Career map to study the respondents' personal ability to make career choices.


Representatives of different science domains take attempts to succeed in defining the phenomenon of career self-determination though this issue still remains unsolved. Thus, in Ukrainian science there are many developments in theory of career self-determination which outline modern approaches how to define this term. It is appropriate here to note instructive studies by Ye. Klimov, Ye. Holovah. They emphasize personal aspects of career self-determination [7, p. 122-127].

Ye. Klimov bases his opinion on activity approach when defining self-determination: Career selfdetermination is a person's activity which takes a new meaning depending on what stage of the development he/she is as a labour participant [3]. We share the opinion of Priazhnikov who defines self-determination in the following way: Career self-determination is one's independent and conscious searching for the sense of work which is being done and the whole life activity in a specific cultural and historical (social and economic) situation [6]. The main purpose of self-determination is gradual building of inner readiness for conscious and independent creating, correcting and realizing the perspectives of one's own professional development, readiness to find personal sense in a specific professional activity.

When choosing a career, school leavers mostly take into account the level of education, location of an educational institution, possibilities of employment after graduating from the institution and the salary. That is why one of the ways to make a career choice easier is to develop and improve career guidance. The informative and methodological basis of career guidance is profound knowledge about the nature and conditions of occupation, the right vision of the requirements to psychophysiologi- cal and personal qualities of a person, psycho-diagnostic evaluation of a person's individual and mental peculiarities and their comparison with various activities [1, . 7]. The absence of such knowledge can negatively affect a career choice or its changing.

A lot of factors affect the process of selfdetermination. In our opinion, though, the most significant one is a pedagogical (psychological) factor which is the cause, the driving force of any pedagogical (psychological) phenomenon. Its components are as follows: inclinations (interests, motives); abilities, health (inner possibilities and limits); self-esteem; parents' and other relatives' opinions; peers' opinions; teachers' opinions, specialists' opinions; personal professional plan (the knowledge about what and how a person wants to achieve).

Though there are some negative aspects among the positive ones in the self-determination of high school students, for example, the fact that school students rely on the opinions of random people, their career choice is based on the first impression about this job, they choose this job because their friends choose it, or only because it is prestigious, young people do not take into account their own abilities or they choose their career to hurt someone, they ignore their health limits.

Not only do these factors influence the career choice of young people. Their motives affect the choice in a great degree as well. There is a wide range of motives which can be grouped into social, moral, aesthetic, cognitive, creative, material, prestigious, utilitarian and a group of motives related to a specific specialty [8].

We conducted an experimental work with 83 tenth and eleventh graders of Khmelnytskyi SCS 8 to study the peculiarities of career self-determination of modern students. We used such methods and methodologies as our authors' questionnaire, L. Jovaisa's methodology of studying students' personal abilities to make a career choice What do I like? and Ye. Klimov' methodology Career map.

To start an experimental study, we gave a minilecture on the topic Motives and factors of an effective career self-determination of high school students. We used it as one of verbal teaching methods which is an oral presentation of academic material during a short period of time (15 min.) and is characterized by a large amount and complexity of logic constructs, images, evidence and summaries. The goal of this mini-lecture was to develop an appropriate and conscious view about a future career in high school students.

We considered the following main questions:

1. The importance of a proper agreement between students' ambitions, possibilities and needs of a society in the jobs they choose.

2. Consequences of motivated and unmotivated career choice.

3. The consideration of motives and factors which influence self-determination of high school students.

The survey results show that most eleventh graders (70%) already know what occupation they want to choose, though 30% students do not know their career preferences yet. The students ranked the jobs in the following way: a lawyer (20%) and a banker (15%) were given first rank. Then there goes a politician, a businessman, a doctor, a judge, a journalist (10% each). And nobody chose a profession of a teacher, a fire fighter or an engineer. When the students were asked Do you think it is possible to enter a higher educational establishment relying only on your own abilities without a parents' financial support? 75 % of them answered positively though 25% of them replied that they did not think so. 50% of the students attend sport clubs, interest clubs, electives, private classes in order to be enrolled a specialty they like. Many students (55%) believe that it will help them make a career choice. 80% of the students consider the Open Day at universities to be a very useful contributing to the making of career choice.

The results of the conducted survey among 43 tenth graders of SCS 8 have shown that most students make their choice in favour of well-advertised professions of a programmer, a tax officer, a lawyer, a banker while the professions of a teacher, a firefighter and an engineer were not chosen at all. The negative aspect is that most of the respondents do not think it is efficient to attend sport clubs, interest clubs, elective, private lessons which can enhance their chance to be enrolled in the specialty they dream about. Moreover, tenth graders are reluctant to attend Open Day, open classes, classes in classrooms and laboratories in higher educational establishments. And the determining factors when choosing a career are knowledge and abilities necessary for this profession, the possibility of successful employment in the chosen specialty. Unfortunately, negative factors which make the choice the most complicated are parents' payment failure and the lack of knowledge about a desired job. In addition, the job role and people's opinion about it are also significant factors.

Another methodology which we have used in our research is What do I like? (L. Jovaisa). The students answered from 1 to 150 question on their answer sheets. These questions expressed students' problems and personal qualities clearly. Questions What do I like?, Would you like...?, Do you like ...? (to learn to draw, to read about the forest, to spend time in the forest, to learn to cook, to learn to draw) were supposed to reveal the abilities and the professions which the respondents preferred.

Fig. 1. The results of Ye. Klimov's technique CareerMap (eleventh graders (%))

The eleventh graders are well aware of new technologies and that is why they choose those activities which imply the use of computer technologies or career promotion. The most popular professions with high school students have turned to be an economist, a sportsman, a military man, a sailor and an aviator, an electrical engineer, an actor, a man of law.

The results show that tenth graders prefer such career activities as sports, military service, advocacy, economy and acting. While the jobs in metal and wood processing domains, consumer goods industry, forestry, geology are not popular at all. It may be explained that these jobs are not considered to be prestigious and well-paid and school teachers are reluctant to unveil this myth and to explain the advantages of these jobs.

We used Ye. Klimov's technique Career Map in this study to identify such a complicated phenomenon as career orientation. We aimed to figure out high students' inclinations to a particular type of a profession such as person-person, person-sign system, person-nature, person-character, person-machinery.

35% eleven graders chose a profession of person- machinery and 25% of them turned to be inclined to a profession of person-person type. The same number of students prefers professions of the type person- character (15%) and person-sign system (15%). And only 10% students chose a profession of the person- nature type (Fig. 1).

So, most eleventh graders want to choose the professions which are related to such activities as creating, mounting, exploiting, fixing (mostly boys chose these professions) and upbringing, teaching, managing, medicine (mostly girls preferred these professions).

After tenth graders of SCS 8 were surveyed using Ye. Klimov's Career Map the results show that tenth graders preferred professions of the type person-person (41,9% students) and person-machinery (23,2% students). Students were not interested in professions of the person-nature and person-character types (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. The results of Ye. Klimov's technique CareerMap (tenth graders (%))

Having analyzed the results we can say that it is necessary to take the following factors into account when developing high school students' career selfdetermination:

- first, some qualities which are important for future career are vague in adolescence as there are no conditions for their exposing;

- the second factor is the lack of self-comprehension, mood swing, wrong self-evaluation;

- the third factor is the lack of life experience (the lack of knowledge about professions and labour market, possible mistakes when making a career choice).

Table 1 The structure of a training program Life Map: to make one's own career choice for high school students




Session 1


Greeting, introduction. The topic and the goal of the training. The presentation of the formula of a career choice Want - Can - Must.

20 min



Activity Diary

40 min

A notebook, a pen


Activity Bus stop

25 min

Three Whatman drawing paper sheets


Students discuss and set the rules of working in a group

15 min

A Whatman paper sheet, a marker pen


Activity The competition of motives

10 min

Paper, a pencil


Activity Lottery game

15 min

Cards, pens


Activity My career desires

15 min

A list of uncompleted sentences


Activity Guess a job

10 min

Board, chalk


Activity There once lived a grey goat at the granny's

15 min

Paper, a pencil


Activity The test of final content

20 min

Five sheets of paper per one participant, pencils, felt-pens


Closure: I was ..., because... (to complete a sentence). Feedback.

15 min

Session 2


Greeting: If I were a director I would shoot a film about. (to complete a sentence)

10 min



The technique to turn a dream into a goal

60 min



Activity A walk to the mountains

30 min

Sheets of paper, pencils, felt pens, listed feelings


Activity One's own image of the world

30 min

Sheets of paper, pencils, felt pens


Activity What is success in life

40 min



Homework: to write an essay The purpose of my life

10 min

A questionnaire for parents


Closure. Feedback

15 min

A sheet of paper, a pen

Session 3


Greeting Compliment circle

10 min



Information announcement The world of jobs

15 min



Activity The chain of jobs

10 min



Activity Checklists

20 in

Lists of questions for each participant


Decision algorithm

40 min

Whatman paper sheets, old newspaper, magazines, scissors, glue, felt pens


Activity Fairy tale Want-Can-Must continuation

40 min

Paper, pencils, felt pens


Activity Mistakes ranking

20 min

List mistakes when making a career choice


Activity Adviser

20 min

A set of paper cards


Reading homework essays The purpose of my life

20 min



Collection of evaluating judgments. Training wrapping up

15 min


The development and implementation of efficient forms and methods of career guidance by specialists of secondary educational establishments can reduce the negative impact of these factors on high school students'choice. We believe that the most effective method here is to conduct trainings which have the following tasks:

- to enhance students' knowledge about professions;

- to provide their informative and psychological support when preparing students to take admission tests or interviews when applying for a job;

- to enable students to get aware of evident obstacles on the way to professional success;

- to teach students to use arguments to support their own point of view when talking with their parents, friends, teachers, etc.;

- strengthening planning perspectives on life and career.

To perform these tasks we offer to use M. Kornilova's training Life Map: making one's own career choice modified by us [5]. This training consists of three sessions one's own career choice for high school students (see lasting for three hours and a half each. We worked out a Table 1). draft structure of a training program Life Map: to make

The training is expected to result in:

- enhancing students' interest to make their career choice individually on the basis of their personal features, inclinations and abilities to meet the demands of modern labour market;

- cultivating skills to be able to make a conscious and responsible career choice;

- developing students' comprehension of Me- charactef' and Me-my future career image;

- nurturing a conscious attitude of students to analyze and solve the problem of making their career choices individually: self-evaluation of their personal abilities and how these abilities meet the demands of jobs at labour market;

- making a reasonable choice of relevant areas of expertise necessary for future career (self-education, selftraining), a technique and working out an algorithm of self-determination.

It should be mentioned that career guidance will be successful when school teachers involve parents as well since data received during the survey show that parents often influence students' career choices. That is why parents should take an active part in their children's outlining life and career goals.

Thus, the results of this study enable us to find positive and negative aspects which affect the process of career selfdetermination of modern high school students and to study what motivates them when they make their career choices. We have found out that a positive aspect is that most of school leavers believe it is possible to use their own abilities to enter a higher educational establishment without their parents' financial support. A negative factor which makes the choice difficult to make is the lack of knowledge about their future job and their parents' payment failure. Another negative aspect is that high school students most focus on prestigious and well-advertised jobs believing that they are well-paid and interesting.

After having analyzed the results we came to the conclusion that the most effective methods of forming career self-determination of high school students are trainings, in particular M. Kornilova's training Life map: to make one's own career choice which we modified for tenth and eleventh graders and presented the draft structure.

We think that the results obtained should be taken into consideration when working out a career guidance program for high school students and this is the issue of further study in this field.

career determination school student


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