Vocational Crisis in Teenage Students

Being frustrated with school can make teenage students feel depressed. That's why it's important to talk to your children if they have a vocational crisis.
Vocational Crisis in Teenage Students

Last update: 04 April, 2019

One of the most difficult decisions that teenagers have is deciding what they’re going to do after high school. It’s clear that teenagers face a lot of pressure because they need to quickly make big decisions about their future. 

In addition, they have to deal with the expectations of society, friends and parents. As a result, it’s very common for teenagers to face a vocational crisis.

The statistical data from this topic is pretty alarming. According to certain studies, at least a third of students drop out of college because they suffered a vocational crisis. In fact, this can happen in the first few semesters, or even much later on.

Without a doubt, it’s important to know about this issue and that it happens when young teens have to make big decisions about their futureAdditionally, not knowing what they want to do, as well as their academic strengths and weaknesses, play a central role.

If your child is going through this challenging and delicate stage, you can use all of this information that we’ll explain here. Also, we’ll give you some tools to help deal with the situation.

Vocational crisis in teenage students

A vocation is the bond that a subject has with their tastes and interests and implies deep personal knowledge. It’s important for teens to know about their qualities, likes and dislikes, as well as what attracts their attention, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

In order for a person to define what their vocation is, they need to look deep inside themselves and have a certain level of maturityHowever, this discovery process is very complex. Additionally, each person has a different and unique experience.

Vocational Crisis in Teenage Students

Teens will be able to act calmly if they understand that the best job for them is one that aligns with their true desires and interests. Therefore, they shouldn’t choose something that makes them go on emotional rollercoasters of excitement and depression.

Also, they should follow their own desires, not just do what their parents or peers want them to. In fact, they also shouldn’t blindly listen to school counsellors either.

It’s common for teens to go through a vocational crisis

About 70% of students who leave high school don’t know what to study in college or what job they want to have. This figure is alarming.

However, it turns out that teens usually decide what to study based on what they’re interested in at the moment. Additionally, they decide based on what’s popular nowadays.

Therefore, many teens end up believing that the best careers are medicine, business or engineering. As a result, they tend to forget about the arts or other jobs that don’t promise to make as much money.

“In order for a person to define what their vocation is, they need to look deep inside themselves and have a certain level of maturity.”

There are two important aspects that come into play: on the one hand is the so-called “success in life,” which according to society means that you earn a lot of money. On the other hand, there’s the daily joy and peace of mind that comes with working every day with passion and enthusiasm.

Many teens who go to consultations with psychologists are university students, or even adults, that say that they’re dealing with a vocational crisis and depression. They want to go back in time, and regret the career choice they made.

Vocational Crisis in Teenage Students

How can teens make the right decision?

To begin, we need to emphasize that it’s not right for parents to make their children study something against their will. School counsellors also shouldn’t give their opinion on what career teens should choose or what they should study.

In this case, you need to work as a team. Parents, school and teens need to discover and eliminate different interests and skills. Another important aspect is that you need to make this decision well in advance.

Teens shouldn’t make this important decision only six months before the end of their classes. At this time, they’ll be focused on their final exams, not on their future.

Finally, it’s not a bad thing if your child doesn’t want to go to college right away. In fact, it’s perfectly fine to postpone going to college for up to two years.

This gives young people time to mature and think clearly so they can make the best decision for themselves and not fall into depression in the future.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Pantoja, C. (1992). En torno al concepto de vocación. Educación y ciencia, 2(6), 17-20.
  • Castro Valdez, J. (2015). Identidad vocacional, claridad del autoconcepto y autoestima en adolescentes peruanos. http://repositorio.ual.es/bitstream/handle/10835/3866/CASTRO.pdf?sequence=1
  • Álvarez González, M. (1989). La madurez vocacional en el alumnado de secun- daria (tesis doctoral, Universidad de Barcelona).
  • Romero, H. (2007). Adolescentes y elección vocacional. In XIV Jornadas de Investigación y Tercer Encuentro de Investigadores en Psicología del Mercosur. Facultad de Psicología-Universidad de Buenos Aires. https://www.aacademica.org/000-073/338

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.