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Career Planning in High School Affects Student Loan Debt Levels


Proper planning during high school years can protect students from falling for the loan debt traps, a new study by Michigan State University researchers have found.

Students who plan their career in high school have clarity for their future goals and choose their college programs accordingly leading to lesser student loan debt.

The study published in the Journal of Higher Education found negative career outcomes and lower income for students who obtain less education than was necessary for their desired profession. Those who studied more than was needed for their desired career earned higher wages and more occupational prestige later in life.

“Without a vision for their future, students can flounder, incur a lot of debt and obtain education that will not help them in the career they desire,” said Soobin Kim, author of the study and a researcher at the MSU College of Education.

“It’s clear that the choices students make in high school matter later in life.”

The study emphasized the role of parents, teachers, and counselors in having high post-secondary educational expectations and a good idea of what career students want. The children of parents who didn’t attend college often land themselves in colleges that lack counseling resources on education and occupational options.

“The research shows that students from traditionally underserved groups see some of the largest benefits from being ambitious,” Kim said.

Researchers pitched for providing adequate resources to schools that enroll huge proportions of disadvantaged and underprepared students. The study also supported psychological interventions for students that helps them better envision their expectations and aspirations in high school.

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