ACT Advantage: Discover Review

11/03/2009
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What do your children want to be when they grow up? Do you remember trying to figure that out? I had a lot of interests, but I really wasn't sure. I also wasted a lot of money taking collge courses trying to figure it out. I took courses that interested me, but not courses that were directed towards any particular major. I had one well rounded college education my first time around, but that is it! When I went back to college 7 years later, I had to take pre-requisite courses for my major. Oh, how I kicked myself for taking Biology when I then needed Human Anatomy, or Anthropology when I needed Chemistry. . . the list goes on. Well, it doesn't have to be this way for my children. Or yours.

Founded in 1959 as the American College Testing Program, ACT is best known for its college admissions test. More than this though, ACT, Inc., is an independent, non-profit organization that provides assessment, research, information, and program management services for educational planning, career planning, and workforce development through programs such as Discover, Explore, Plan and ACT Test Prep.


As a member of the Crew, I had the opportunity to review several programs and will share about our experience with ACT Advantage Discover program first.

With Discover, you can:
  • Assess interests, abilities and job values
  • Explore occupations, majors and schools.
  • Build an education plan that relates to career plans.
  • Improve job-seeking skills and develop a resume
Discover features help you "discover" the following:
  • your interests and abilities
  • occupations
  • majors
  • schools
  • job search
I used the Discover program with my 13 year old, Jordan. Eighth grade proved to be a great year to begin this! During our time with Discover, he began by taking "inventories" to learn about himself and find occupations that match his interests and abilities. We were impressed with the results.

You can see on his Interest Inventory Results, that he scored high in the Technical Career Cluster. This is very true about Jordan! He is very mechanical with a kinesthetic bent.

The suggested career areas are then displayed on a World of Work Map, as shown below.

Jordan's suggested career areas suggest that he will like working with Things and Ideas in a Technical or Science and Technology career areas (colored orange and yellow on the map) such as:
  • K: Construction and Maintenance
  • L: Crafts and Related
  • M: Manufacturing and Processing
  • N: Mechanical and Electrical Specialities
  • O: Engineering and Technologies
  • P: Natural Sciences and Technologies
Using the Subject Matter Activities Guide , we completed English Activity 2:" Interested in My Interests?" (p. 9-10) in the Discover Curriculum Guide. We talked about what he thought of the inventory in general (he thought it was fun to take and to learn more about himself). We learned that his abilities suggests that he should work with Things and Ideas (as mentioned above). We talked about what he thought of the suggestions, which career areas appealed to him, what his interests are at this time and how his abilities and values could be met in doing that kind of work. Then we did a Career Planning Activity: Activity 1: "Career Myths" and Activity 3: "Facts and Benefits of Career Exploration." Both are designed to motivate your student to become interested and motivated in career exploration. There are several ways you can search for occupations:
  1. alpha list
  2. by keyword
  3. by major
  4. by military experience
  5. by word-of-work map
  6. by characterisitics
  7. by salary or job openings
So, we set out to then explore the career areas that Discover suggested for him. To do this, we linked up with the training required and explored all of the qualities of each career to help him narrow his decision. After exploring several options, we used another activity from the Subject Matter Activities Guide and Jordan completed English Activity 3: "Compare and Contrast Careers." He wrote a 5 paragraph essay comparing and contrasting two occupations of his choice - an auto body repairer and an automotive technician. He then researched several other careers and is considering:
  1. Farm Worker
  2. Farm Owner
  3. Heavy Equipment Operator
Then, we did some Educational Planning Activities, such as High School Course Planning. In this section, Jordan learned what courses he would need to take in high school to prepare him for his career choice.(This is also the section that made him rethink some of his choices).
Having him complete the activities in the guide, may help him narrow this down, eliminate options, or motivate him to explore further.

Finally, we looked through the Job Search Activities and picked several that we wanted to do:
  • Activity 1: "Working Together" focused on what we would do in a simulated situation involving team work. We discussed problems with working with people and problems we want to avoid in ourself so that we can demonstrate the kinds of qualities employers are looking for.
  • Activity 2: "My First Job" is designed to help students without work experience learn how to describe their strengths on a resume and during a job interview.
  • Activity 3: "Trial Job Application" is to prepare students to complete job applications. This got Jordan thinking about what kinds of shifts, how many hours he wants to work and what kind of "history" he wants to build.
You can create a portfolio and a resume on the site and there are many other benefits to a subscription with Discover. The Discover Curriculum Guide was an amazing resource and includes:
  • Introduction (4 pages)
  • Mini-Course (76 pages)
  • Subject Matter Activities (60 pages)
  • Career Planning Activities (52 pages)
  • Educational Planning Activities (28 pages)
  • Job Search Activities (34 pages)
I have to admit that I did not find the site as valuable, until I started using the guide. It made a huge difference! But, I do recommend this product and suggest you view a demo to get a visual of how this program works. Price: $19.95 for a three-month license $24.95 for a six month license.  I think the price is worth it! Especially if he can learn to make wise decisions that will not only help him find out what he "wants to be when he grows up" but also help avoid costly mistakes that poor planning that can result in.

See what other crew members think of Discover or visit the Crew blog by clicking on the banner below!

I received a trial membership for free in exchange for my review. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion. See my disclosure policy for more information.

1 comment:

Andi said...

Great Review Chel!

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