You may have heard about something called an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP). Maybe you’ve even got one! If you do have one, you have a choice:
- Start it and treat it like any other assignment; or
- KICKSTART it into an experience that empowers you to take charge of your future.
This guide can help you KICKSTART your ILP by answering these five key questions:
- What exactly is an ILP?
- What are some examples of ILP activities?
- Why does an ILP matter?
- Can an ILP really help me?
- How do I KICKSTART my ILP?
1. What exactly is an ILP?
An ILP is a set of activities that helps you take charge of your future. It does this by connecting what you do in high school with your college, job and career goals. This way, you graduate with the PRACTICAL knowledge and skills you need to build the future you want!
ILPs help you:
- Figure out what your skills and interests are
- Match these skills and interests with college majors, jobs and careers
- Set specific college, job and career goals
- Choose classes and activities that will help you reach those goals
2. What are some examples of ILP activities?
If, for example, you like working with computers, but aren’t sure what job you want to have one day, you could do these activities as part of your ILP to explore computer-related careers:
- Read websites about software programming and discuss what you discover with your advisor
- Use class time to meet with someone who is a computer technician
- Create a cutting-edge multimedia presentation about high-tech jobs
You could also do the following activities to help you gain actual job skills and decide if working with computers is right for you:
- Take a technology class at school
- Find an afterschool or summer job working with computers
3. Why does an ILP matter?
Your ILP matters because it helps translate what you learn in school into real-world job skills that empower you to reach your college, job and career goals.
"I was just going to go straight to work as soon as I was old enough to drop out of high school, but my ILP really helped me see myself graduating and going on to get a college degree."
4. Can an ILP really help me?
ILPs can help ALL students, no matter who you are, or what challenges you face.
You can overcome the barriers to starting the college, job and career you want through ILP activities that help you:
- Find free college counseling opportunities
- Learn about scholarships and other financial aid
- Receive free or low-cost training and certifications
- Get help with networking, interviewing and applying for jobs
"...I take very advanced math classes, but I can't just go and take calculus for four years of college and say 'okay, I know how to do tons of calculus, give me a job.' I have to know what job to look for and how to apply the math. My ILP is giving me the skills I'm going to need in the workforce before I'm actually there."
You can also connect with many free resources and supports, including those available to:
- Low-income or single parents
- People who have experienced the foster care or juvenile justice systems
- People with disabilities
- LGBT, women or members of ethnic or racial minority groups
5. How do I KICKSTART my ILP?
The steps you take now can have a HUGE impact on your future, so it's important to KICKSTART your ILP early. The following checklist will show you how!