Last Thursday, my seventh period AP Language classmates and all our parents shuffled into the auditorium for our very last SEOP, or Student Education Occupation Plan, but my last SEOP wasn’t at all what I thought it would be.
An SEOP is a meeting between a student, their school counselor and their parents. The main idea, I think, is for school counselors to go over personal goal-setting and the thousands of options students have after graduating high school.
Generally, the things we go over during SEOPs are the exact same as the year before. The counselors go over our options after high school — going on to college, signing up for a technical school program or working right after high school. The counselors stress that it’s important to get extra education after high school, whether it be at a university, college or a technical school.
Next, the counselors tell us about the options we have to help pay for that extra education. They tell us about the different subjects we can major in and how to make a career out of our degrees. They also go over the benefits of the local colleges and universities that offer the major we’ve opted for.
Options, options, options. Each and every year, our counselors give us thousands of options.
At the end of my senior SEOP, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with how many options I had. Before the SEOP, I was fairly sure I wanted to go to Snow College in Ephraim for a semester and then become a Disney princess, but now I’m not so sure about the Snow College part at least. My SEOP didn’t shake my certainty about becoming a Disney princess. But as for college and occupations, I could go nearly anywhere and do anything.
To help limit our options, before our SEOP, we have a pre-SEOP. At the pre-SEOP, we log on to utahfutures.org and we type in an occupation we would like to have. It pulls up all sorts of information we can use to decide if that something we really would want to do. We fill out a worksheet with the information we find. For instance, if someone were to type in “news reporter” and click on “employment and outlook,” it says there is a small employment rate for news reporters in the state of Utah. If they were to click on “wages,” it says the average Utah news reporter starts out at $17,570 a year. The page also has information about the education needed to be a reporter and what college majors are directly related to being a news reporter.
Our counselors keep everything from our past SEOPs in a pink folder, so that way our Utah Futures information, ACT scores and important transcripts are in one place. I was looking through my pink folder on Thursday during my SEOP. I looked at the information I filled out at my very first SEOP. I don’t remember my first SEOP, but I guess I was in the seventh grade. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was going to get a bachelor’s degree in fashion design at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Out of curiosity, I recently looked up information about fashion designer jobs on Utah Futures. First of all, Southern Utah University doesn’t offer a fashion design program. There aren’t any colleges in Utah that offer a bachelor’s program in fashion design. Second of all, the employment rate in Utah isn’t even available. I assume that’s because it’s basically nonexistent. The employment rate throughout the whole United States is very small, according to Utah Futures.
I tried looking up Disney princess on Utah Futures, but it wasn’t among the thousands of occupations they have information on.
I’m really grateful for SEOPs because now I’m informed about the overwhelming amount of options I have after I graduate. I can be anything I want. My counselors and Utah Futures can help me decide if that’s what I really want to spend the rest of my life doing.
Kristine Johnson is a senior at Tooele High School.