We recently received a free trial of the ACT Advantage DISCOVER program with the intent to review this product for the TOS Homeschool Crew.
When you were a child or in high school, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or, did you take career exploration tests and discuss career options with a guidance counselor? Are your middle and high schoolers beginning to discuss with you jobs, majors, colleges, or future job outlooks? The ACT Advantage DISCOVER program is a wonderful tool for homeschoolers to explore their options for the future.
You can use this program to determine your child’s interests and abilities and how they relate to possible career choices or your child can research different careers, majors, and colleges. The program is divided into the following the sections:
- Job Search
- My Portfolio
There are three inventories your child can complete to determine what career options might be of interest to him. The first is the Interest Inventory. Here through answering questions, you child will receive an analysis of where his interest lies in four different job-type sectors: People, Data, Things, and Ideas.
Depending upon where your child’s answers lie in the quadrants, career suggestions will be offered. If your child shows interest in activities that involve spending time with people, jobs that work with people will be listed. similarly, if your child likes working with numbers and enjoys facts and figures, he will receive a list of possible occupations dealing with math or data.
Your child’s results are presented in a variety of ways: in a circle broken into the four interest quadrants or a list of jobs. You can print this information or your child can click on the name of a job in the list online to explore details about that job. If your child prints the list, he can come back to the program and type in the name of one of the jobs and read information online at a later time. This information is also stored for later use and your child can find his results in his Portfolio.
Your child can take an inventory that asks him his opinion of how well he works with different things in the areas of the four quadrants: People, Data, Things, and Ideas. The results of this inventory work in the same way as the Interest Inventory, reflecting in which quadrant his abilities lie. If your child has completed both inventories, the list of compatible career choices will show “A’s” for Ability and “I’s” for Interest so that you can visualize for which jobs your child has the interest and ability.
This inventory questions what your child feels is important in his activities. For example, is it important for him to work with people or alone, inside or outside, or earn a large income. The results of this inventory is written in a list with a numbered rating system. It also appears on a summary with the other inventories your child has taken to reflect any overlapping of career suggestions from all three inventories.
From here, once your child has a starting point with his list of suggested careers that match what he has answered in his inventories, he can begin to explore some of these suggestions. Or, he can begin exploring careers not on his list, but in which he feels interested. There is a large variety of ways in which your child can find information about a given job: an alphabetical list, typing in a keyword, by major, or a search by characteristics, just to name a few.
Once he has found the listing for an occupation, the information available includes:
- years of school/type of education
- work tasks, settings, characteristics of the job
- abilities needed, training required, courses, experience
- salary and job outlook
- category of the kind of job in which it falls
- related civilian and military occupations
- personal qualities and what workers in this position say is their likes and dislikes about the position
- contact information to use to gain more information
If your child wants to discover what kinds of jobs would be the result of earning specific majors in college, he uses this option. Again, he can use an alphabetical list, keyword, occupation, or category from one of the four quadrants to find this information.
To research which schools would have his major, is located in a specific region, or offers specific opportunities on its campus that interests your child, he can use this option. There are many aspects that he can eliminate or add to his selection process until he has a list of colleges that have what he is looking for.
To practice job searching skills, your child will gain a large amount of knowledge and obtain valuable skills by using this section of the program. It offers guidance in the following areas:
- How to find a job
- Resumes/Cover Letters
- Apprenticeship Information
- Apprenticeable Occupations
My son and I found this program very helpful and enlightening. It was fun to see the results of the inventories and see which careers came up on his list. He had fun looking through the different careers and the information about “what it takes” to get there. I enjoyed and found the “School” information very helpful.
I also found the format of the program fairly easy to use because each section followed the same basic search format. There was also an “instructions box” on each screen to guide you toward your next step in using the program.
Under a section of “Resource Materials”, there is a DISCOVER High School Curriculum Guide. Using this guide as a format for lesson plans, using the program, and adding your own interests in “Life Skills”, you could use this program for a credit course or half credit course in high school on your child’s transcript.
I highly recommend this program if you or your child is looking for guidance in preparing for a specific career or just trying to decide what classes might be good to take for a broad range of careers. To explore some sample portions of this program or try a free 30 day trial, visit ACT DISCOVER.
This program is available for $19.95 for a 3 month or for $24.95 for a 6 month site license. I think, well worth the expense.
Read other reviews of this program with the Homeschool Crew.
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