How Online College & Career Planning Software Is Like Having a (Really Smart) Virtual Assistant
If you’re an educator, who now has to pivot to running a successful college and career readiness program remotely, then we can help.
The administrative work of preparing students for their futures can be cumbersome. And if you’ve recently had to do all of this remotely from your home, then we feel your pain.
Managing transcripts and records from home. Keeping track of admissions requirements. Making sure each and every student is on track with their course plans. Staying up-to-date on college programs and career trends. And so. much. more. It’s especially agonizing during these uncertain times.
What if each educator was assigned a virtual assistant who understands the career and college planning process as well as they do? One who can help with lesson and course planning, organizing and tracking transcripts—and also empower students to explore and track their own career and post-secondary options? All from the comfort of their homes.
When you use online career planning software, it’s truly like having a smart virtual assistant. A great program harnesses the power of technology to deliver the information students need to know–while freeing educators from the heavy chains of administrative stress at home.
Here are just some of the things your favorite virtual assistant (a.k.a. your online career planning program) can help you do.
Organize and Track Transcripts in One Place
Managing transcripts during the busy college application season is stressful for students and educators alike. This is especially cumbersome if you now have to do all of this from home. Even the most organized counselor or teacher will struggle to keep track of the multitude of transcript requests, prioritize submission deadlines and make sure each student’s transcript is handled. One small administrative error can lead to a promising student missing out on getting into their dream school. (No pressure!)
Most online career planning software provides a centralized system to receive, request and securely deliver electronic transcripts, keeping everything organized and visible. Xello’s Transcripts feature provides a seamless and error-free workflow, allowing students to initiate transcript requests and administrators to approve and submit in just a few mouse clicks.
Additionally, Xello’s built-in tracking makes sure students are kept in-the-loop throughout the process. They can see the status of each transcript submission so there’s no wondering whether their request was fulfilled. This means educators aren’t inundated with questions about transcript status—and they’re released from the stress of wondering themselves.
Help Prepare Students with Ready-made Lessons from the Comfort of their Homes
Today’s students need skills that extend beyond the core curriculum to help them meet the challenges of their future workplaces. The best online career and future readiness planning software employs experienced content specialists to prepare grade-specific lessons. This approach ensures students are engaged in the right self-discovery, reflection and skills development activities, at the right times.
Generation Z is particularly receptive to digital learning, preferring to interact with online programs over worksheets. To inspire engagement as most learning shifts online, Xello’s lessons employ a variety of rich visual content and interactive features. Lessons are also uniquely designed to make each students’ learning experience personalized and relevant. Students’ saved careers and interests are woven directly into lesson content and outcomes, which helps them connect what they’re learning to their future aspirations.
This personalized experience is all possible without having to create a unique plan for every student. Educators can feel confident that they’re helping students build critical hard and soft skills without spending hours creating plans at home or manually tracking lesson completion in a separate system.
Save Time with Course Plan Reports
Do you ever feel uneasy about whether your students are on track to graduate? With so many students to manage, it’s understandable if you lose sleep wondering if everyone’s up to date on their course plans during a time of crisis.
Cue your virtual assistant. Many online career planning software help track students’ progress while pinpointing the ones that need individual support with their course planning. Xello has three reports that offer real-time insight for counselors, educators and administrators:
- Graduation Plan Completion Reports list students on or off-track to meet high school diploma requirements
- Specialization Completion Reports indentify students on or off-track to meet specialization requirements
- Critical Alert Reports list students with critical alerts on their plans, like missed prerequisites, that need to be addressed
Instead of reviewing student profiles individually or sifting through mounds of paperwork, you can isolate students who need one-on-one planning support with just a few clicks. More than just a way to catch students who might be getting off-track, these reports can also weed out clerical errors, like conflicting time slots, that are more apt to happen when manually tracking courses against graduation requirements.
Empower Students To See Plans Through Even When They’re Stuck at Home
You can relieve yourself of a portion of responsibility that weighs heavily when you use a high quality online career planning program. Here’s why: In addition to being more engaged, students are truly empowered to take ownership over both the direction of their learning and course planning. This greatly reduces the need for you to constantly prod them along.
Customized for each school or district, Xello’s course planner lets students pick courses and create 4-year plans that align with their post-secondary goals. Plans are easy to share and print for discussions with parents and counselors.
As a result, one-on-one virtual meetings with counselors and teachers are more productive and conversations can build upon the work students have done independently. Even better, the power to share their profile and plans with their parents at home, to get buy-in and feedback, helps validate and further motivates students to stick to their plans as they get accustomed to virtual learning.
Have the Latest College and Career Information
Keeping all the administrative balls in the air can keep educators from staying on top of the latest college programs, admissions requirements, specialized courses and career trends. But this is precisely the type of information students need to make key decisions about their future—and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Most online career planning software offers up-to-date information on careers, including salaries, job conditions and the educational pathways to qualify. Xello even offers real day-in-the-life accounts of what it means to work in each of the hundreds of featured jobs.
When it comes to colleges, students get an inside view with insights into things like school demographics, admission requirements, extracurricular activities, financial aid options and more. Xello’s integrated Street View via Google maps even allows students to (virtually) step right onto campus and see what things looks like.
One of the biggest reasons for resistance to new technology is the learning curve associated with mastering it. However, now that most schools are pivoting towards online learning, the latest cloud-based software solutions can help. With simple menus, lots of graphics and an easy-to-follow path, students and educators are able to not only start using but getting real value out of most online career planning programs from the first time they log in.
Finally, unlike your real-life colleagues, you can lean on your virtual assistant as much as you want without feeling like you’re overburdening them. In fact, the more you use them, the more efficiently the program works for you.
It’s an administrative match made in heaven during these remote working days.