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Getting Real

Getting Real
Helping Teens Find Their Future

Second Edition

September 2008 | 216 pages | Corwin

"Gray provides a systematic method for working with students to look at opportunities after high school in a realistic way."
—Mary Reeve, Director
Services for Exceptional Students

Help teens achieve success after high school through meaningful career development!

Without a realistic postsecondary strategy, more than half of students fail to graduate college or land rewarding jobs. Educators and parents can improve students' odds by encouraging them to develop the long-term initiative and commitment of a solid career plan.

This updated edition of Getting Real examines real-world occupational trends and projections to help teens gain "career maturity" and a sense of direction. The second edition has been expanded to address students with special needs and those at risk of dropping out, and includes a new chapter on understanding today's teens and parents. Offering a systematic, six-step plan for helping adolescents integrate youthful aspirations with economic realities, the author examines:

  • The fundamentals of the labor market
  • Myths and misconceptions that can limit students' choices
  • Alternative options to a four-year degree
  • Career exploration strategies and activities, such as job shadowing and work-study

Develop confident, clear-thinking teens who can make well-informed academic and career decisions about their future!

Preface to the Second Edition
About the Author
1. Getting Real: New Realities for Postsecondary Success
A New Goal: Postsecondary Success

Career Direction and the "Fourth" R

Career Maturity and Career Direction

Career Exploration Activities and Career Maturity

Career Development Programs: Are They Effective?

Society's Ambivalence About Career Choice

The Role of Public Schools

Making the Case for Career Development Programs

Promoting Success

Part I. Understanding Those We Try to Help “Get Real”
2. Today’s Teens and Their Parents
Today’s Teens

Today’s Parents

Promoting Success

3. Dropouts, Teens With Disabilities, and Graduates Seeking Full Time Employment
Getting Real and High School Dropouts

Getting Real and Special Populations

High School Graduates Who Seek Full Time Employment

Promoting Success

4. Creating Opportunities by Countering Stereotypes
Occupational Stereotypes

Gender Stereotypes and Earnings: Education or Occupation?

Occupational Stereotyping: Minorities and the Economically Disadvantaged

Promoting Success

Part II. Understanding Labor Market Fundamentals
5. Labor Market Misunderstandings and Bad Advice
Misunderstanding 1: A University Degree Guarantees Access to High Wages

Misunderstanding 2: A University Degree Guarantees Access to Professional Careers

Misunderstanding 3: High Tech Careers Require a University Degree

Misunderstanding 4: Career Planning Is Worthless Because People Change Jobs All the Time Anyway

Misunderstanding 5: University Graduates Will Take All the Good Jobs

Labor Market Advantage: The Secret to Getting High-Skill / High-Wage Employment

Bad Advice Given to Teens

Will Tentative Career Decisions Close the Door to Future Opportunity?

Promoting Success

6. Occupational Projections, Technical and Middle Skill Employment
I: Using Labor Market Information

II: Occupational Projections

III: The Other Way to Win: Technical and Middle-Skill Occupations

A Selective List of Technical and Middle Skilled Occupations: This Is Rocket Science

Promoting Success

Part III. Strategies to Promote Career Direction
7. Career Success, Decision Making, and Teens
The Path to Career Success?

Characteristics of a Career Mature Teenager

Career Decision Making Anxiety of Teens

Reducing Teen Anxiety Over Making Career Decisions

Promoting Success

8. Strategies to Promote Adolescent Career Maturity and Direction
Student Outcome Goals for Career Development Program

Outcome Goal 1: Promoting a Tentative Career Direction While in the 10th Grade

Outcome Goal 2: Verifying Tentative Career Directions

Outcome Goal 3: Develop a Postsecondary Plan

Providing Career Counseling

Promoting Success

9. Considering “All” the Alternatives
Traditional Formal Education Alternatives

Alternatives to College

The “Bridge” or “Prep” Year

Promoting Success

10. Six-Step Plan for Postsecondary Success
Talking to Parents

Parents and Career Choice

Six-Step Plan for Postsecondary Success

Helping Parents With Difficult Choices

Promoting Success

11. Getting Real and the Role of the Business Community
Community Organizations

Promoting Success

12. How Are Teenagers Best Served, Nutritional Lies or Reality?
Nutritional Lies

Creating Opportunity

Five Premises for Success

Well-Intended but Bad Advice Given to Teens

Understanding Our Role

Fighting the Good Fight


"I applaud the author’s efforts in promoting a shift from the 'one way to win' stance toward that of helping students face reality and develop career goals that will help them be successful."

Shawn Grime, School Counselor
Bryan High School, OH

"Stresses the need for career maturity. This is one of the few books that addresses this topic so well."

Diane Smith, School Counselor
Smethport Area High School, PA

"This book is a must-read for those involved in developing futures planning for students in ninth grade through their exit from high school into adult life."

Kelli S. Kercher, Transition Specialist
Murray School District, UT

“Gray provides a systematic method for working with students to look at opportunities after high school in a realistic way.”

Mary Reeve, Director
Services for Exceptional Students

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface to the Second Edition

Chapter 1

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781412963657