Why does this happen? One reason is poor planning, but the other, more important reason is that the student was not properly “pre-qualified” by the parents, school counselors, or many times, the college itself.
Is this student ready for college, are they prepared, are they pursuing the right field for their strengths and attributes, and can they thrive on their own?
Therefore, I believe the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the best way to start the “college conversation” with teens.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most widely used personality inventories in business and education. It was developed by the daughter-mother team, Isabel Briggs-Myers and Kathryn Briggs based on the theory originally developed by Carl Jung. The MBTI is designed to help students with their career exploration, decision-making, and development. Isabel Briggs-Myers was motivated to help others find work that was congruent with their personal preference.
After taking the simple survey four preferences (think Introvert or Extrovert) a person’s personality is presented as a four-letter code.
The four preferences are:
Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
Your personality type can then be expressed as a code with four letters. (Ex. ISTJ)
How does this relate to the 33% college drop-out rate? If you use a site like 16Personalities students can discover, or verify, what career fields may suit them, and which ones will not. For instance, a person whose personality indicates that they may be an excellent therapist will probably not be interested in mechanical engineering.
Just as important, the college planning conversation can now continue with careers being the topic. Career interests lead to majors, which will help lead to the “best-fit” college.
This is sort of a therapeutic approach but talking and planning as a family can head off a large number of issues while navigating the college search and application process.