How it works

Isn't it time consuming to have students complete a workbook and then re-enter everything at

The success of the Career Choices curriculum (click here for awards and evaluations) is based on the fact that it is an active learning course, designed to promote self-exploration through discussion, contemplation, and journaling. This personal discovery process is key to the success of your program. The computer lab is not the ideal setting for these dialogs and activities to take place. For that reason, we recommend you wait until the end of the course and the completion of their workbooks before having students data-enter their information. 

The functionality the online plan brings is an ease of sharing and updating over the tenure of the student's high school career. It's designed in such a way that it should only take students a couple of hours to enter their information from the workbook.

Can we skip the Workbook and Portfolio and just use

For the reasons mentioned above, we don't suggest it. The Workbook and Portfolio is required for the student to develop a meaningful 10-year plan because there are activities in the workbook not included in the online tool. These pre-requisite exercises help students gain personal insights and begin a self-exploration process that will eventually provide the data to be compiled online.

In addition, having the hardcopy resource in the form of the workbook allows the student to easily watch their profiles and plans grow as they flip through the pages. Students jot their first thoughts in their workbook and later refine their responses in their online website. As they continue through the process and discover more sophisticated aspects of their goals, personalities, and plans, they'll appreciate the power of this blended approach.

Is a mandatory part of the Career Choices curriculum?

No. is an optional component meant to enhance the curriculum's consumable Workbook & Portfolio. Schools that choose to use it will benefit from its many functions, but some schools may not wish to use it due to insufficient access to technology.

Beyond the 10-year plan, what kinds of documents can students upload and store on

Because was designed in part to function as a career/education planning and portfolio tool, students may upload and save documents such as:

  • Resumes
  • Cover Letters
  • Writing samples for job, scholarship, and college applications
  • Letters of recommendation
  • PowerPoint presentations
Does have any data-reporting functions?

Career Choices instructors have the option to enable students to take a pre-course survey (found on page 6/12 of the Instructor's Guide) online within the first week of class. When compared with the same survey to be taken at the end of the course, School Site Executives can generate reports that measure how well the class influenced students' attitudes about high school, post-secondary education, and their future career and lifestyle goals.

Can (r) Interactive be used in a distance learning setting?

Absolutely. Like nothing else available today, this interactive, comprehensive guidance course is the closest thing the learner will get to their own career coach or counselor. Based on the Socratic method of teaching – questioning versus didactic lecturing – this is an ideal resource for distance learning. Each student will require the textbook in order the read the background information on the variety of topics before completing the engaging activities.

Pricing & set up

What is the cost of

For every Workbook and Portfolio purchased, the school receives one seat license to Each seat license is valid for the term the student is in high school or up to five years from purchase. 

There is an additional annual  maintenance fee that will ensure that the data in each school’s system is properly organized and attended to for the life of the school’s account.

What is a seat license and how does it work?

Each participating school will appoint a School Site Executive. This individual will be responsible for managing the seat licenses by adding, deleting, and assigning student and instructor accounts. Once a seat license has been assigned to a student or instructor, it is deducted from the available quota (based on the number of copies of the Workbook and Portfolio purchased) that has been granted by Academic Innovations. Forms and computerized functions make this easy and quick. 

Each seat license has its own ID and password for student security reasons. It will be up to the school administration through the school site executive to determine who has access to the accounts and how. stores a lot of very important information for students. Does Academic Innovations have a back-up plan for making sure this data isn't lost?

Most definitely. The servers that drive currently reside with a top server-hosting provider, where they are maintained and monitored in climate-controlled comfort. To ensure the integrity of all data, these servers are routinely backed up and stored in three different secure locations.

Who is responsible for creating student and instructor accounts?

Each school will appoint a School Site Executive to set up and oversee the school's use of Click here for a complete list of responsibilities.

What personal student information is required to set up their accounts?

Required information includes:

  • First and Last Name
  • School Name
  • Career Choices Instructor Name
  • Expected Graduation Year
  • Grade
  • Username
  • Password

Optional information includes:

  • Student ID (which makes sorting students in large schools more efficient
  • Middle Name
  • E-mail Address (to take advantage of the sites available e-mail functions)
  • Age
Who has access to a student's username and password?

Because Career Choices instructors and School Site Executives are responsible for setting up student accounts, they have access to student usernames and passwords. However, Career Choices instructors only have access to the usernames and passwords of students enrolled in their classes. In the event that a student forgets his or her username or password, or posts something inappropriate on the site, it is important that the student's Career Choices instructor and the School Site Executive have access to this information.

Do parents or legal guardians need to give their consent in order for their kids to use

Not necessarily, though some districts may require it. Check with your district administration to see if parental consent is needed.

A lot of our students change school from year to year or even mid-year. What happens to their data when they leave?

If a student transfers to another school that is using, Academic Innovations can easily transfer their data to the new school. It is the responsibility of the School Site Executive to alert Academic Innovations of their student's school change. If the School Site Executive doesn't know where the student is going, or if s/he will be attending a school that doesn't use, the School Site Executive must decide whether to keep or delete that account, bearing in mind that the school assumes full responsibility for any data kept. 

Also keep in mind that choosing to delete a student account has no bearing on seat licenses. While deleting a student account will ensure that your school is no longer responsible for that student's data, it will not "open up" a seat license for another student.

How much added work per week with require of our instructors and the person we choose to be our School Site Executive?

In the beginning, the person acting as the School Site Executive will need to spend 45 minutes on the phone with a member of our Technical Support team to get acquainted with Once this orientation is complete, the School Site Executive will spend one to two hours (depending on the size of the school) creating accounts for the instructors and advisors who will be using it. It is then recommended that the School Site Executive lead a one-hour training session to introduce Career Choices instructors and school counselors to the web site. To keep planning time for this meeting to a minimum (approximately 30 minutes), Academic Innovations provides a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to structure the meeting. 

Once instructors have gone through this training with the School Site Executive, the School Site Executive will likely only need to dedicate one hour per week to making sure the site is being used and maintained to its fullest, and also to answer any questions the faculty and staff may have about using it. 

As for instructors, they will need to go through the one-hour training with the School Site Executive and then spend an additional 30 minutes to one hour creating accounts for their students. This initial training and set up is the most time-intensive part of using 

Once the student accounts are active and students have entered their information into the system, it's really up to the instructor to decide how much time s/he will spend reviewing student plan summaries each week. Some instructors may ask students to enter their Workbook & Portfolio information over the course of the semester or year, in which case they'll have to schedule computer lab time each week for their students. Other instructor may wait until the end of the course to have their students enter their Workbook & Portfolio information online, in which case instructors will spend little, if any time, during most of the rest of the course using the site.

Why it's needed

Most of our students are going to college. Why would they need a course like this?

50% of students drop out of college or do not graduate within six years. That statistic alone should convince you of the need for ALL students to receive a CGC. In addition, studies of college students show that students who are career-focused and career-committed are far more likely to graduate from college and transition into the workforce at the level for which their college education prepared them. Today, 20% of 26-year-olds live at home or are not economically independent of their parents. Addressing the issue as it relates to economic self-sufficiency requires students to understand the necessity for a career focus.

Is it really possible to get the average 14-year-old to write a comprehensive 10-year plan for their future?

Absolutely! When taught in sequence, Career Choices leads students through a step-by-step process (up to 100 active-learning exercises) that enables them to articulate who they are and what they want their lives to look like after high school. Each of the activities builds on the ones before. When documented in the Workbook and Portfolio, students can easily compile their plan and store it online to reassess, review, modify, or update later

Why 10 years? Isn't four or five years enough? Our school has each student complete a four-year graduation plan.

It's important that young people be able to envision -- and then plan for -- a productive future as a self-sufficient adult. A four-year plan gets the typical student through high school graduation. A five-year plan may get them into college but, as we all know, the college dropout rate is 50%. Therefore, a 10-year plan is needed to take them through high school, post-secondary education/training, and into the workforce understanding what it takes to become financially responsible for themselves and their future families.

How is a comprehensive guidance course different than a career exploration course?

While career exploration is an important subset of a comprehensive guidance course (CGC), a CGC is so much more. In addition to career exploration, a CGC must help students:

  • Learn to project into the future and understand the consequences of today's choices and actions
  • Understand how to match academic and educational effort to lifestyle expectations
  • Become identity-achieved through contemplation and self-discovery
  • Learn and practice the communication, interpersonal, and self-management skills necessary to succeed in today's educational and workforce settings
  • Learn to project into the future and understand the consequences of today's choices and actions
  • Identify and plan for the challenges and stumbling blocks that are inevitable in today's fast-paced, competitive world
  • Analyze quantitatively what economic self-sufficiency equals for them
  • Become proactive, rather than reactive, in managing change in their lives

Besides traditional career exploration topics, a CGC helps young people understand the challenges and the benefits of a consciously-planned career path. Armed with this information, they are far more likely to persevere when they hit life's "speed bumps."

Our school uses a software-based (or online) tool for helping students choose a career. Isn't that enough?

It might be enough for the top 20%-30% of your students -- perhaps. For those students who receive this information and exploration at home, a couple of hours with a software program might be all the extra guidance they need. But for the balance of your students -- the ones who do not see the relevance in education and cannot envision a productive future with plans to realize their dreams -- a couple hours in front of a computer screen is just not enough to set them on the path to making the second most important decision of their lives: How they'll spend 40 hours per week for the next 40 years.

In addition, it is important that ALL students have the skills and information necessary to change direction when they are forced to (or want to) change careers. If they learn the process using the real-world research and decision-making applications readily available on U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored websites (rather than relying on lab-based software programs that are unavailable once they graduate), they'll have the confidence to plot their own productive work-life course. They'll be empowered with the skills to manage their own career trajectory after they leave school and will not have to rely on tools that "magically" come up with a career choice or direction once a survey is completed.


We'd like parents more involved with their students' planning. What can we do?

The personal information students organize and store at should be shared with parents. As students work on updating their plans, parents can provide valuable input and support. 

To take parental involvement one step further, consider a combined parent/adolescent activity that develops the career decision making skills of both the adults and teens. (Click here for a sample.) Studies show that parents are the most important supporters of a student's future plans. And, because so many adults are going through their own mid-life re-evaluation when they have adolescent children, you'll be doing them both a service.

How do we convince parents of the need for this type of course for their teenagers when faced with the all-too-common refrain, "My child doesn't need this. They're going to college!"

In the United States, young adults who require economic support from their parents (past their schooling years) are known as Twixters (see Timemagazine, January 25, 2005). In Great Britain, these young adults are known as KIPPERS, which is an acronym for:

Kids IParents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings

Next time you are with a group of parents who question the importance of this type of class, ask how many of them know families whose adult children returned home after graduating from college because they couldn't find a job that would support them. Watch the hands go up and the heads nod!