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TAP Steps for Counselors
A TAP, or Texas Achievement Plan, is a flexible, comprehensive college and career
education plan based on career clusters and programs of study. It includes high school
courses, extended learning opportunities, postsecondary education, all connected to
personal career objectives.
he goal of AchieveTexas is to have every
eighth grader create a TAP,
which is reviewed each year and 1
Ask sTudEnTs TO
PrEPArE in AdvAnCE. 2
hELP sTudEnTs
revised as necessary. Equip students with the resources Match student strengths and
If your students already create four-year to begin developing their interests to related careers.
graduation plans or Personal Graduation personalized program of study. Although it may seem more logical to ask a
Plans (PGPs), there is no need to create a School counselors have access to plenty of student to specify a career goal first, selection
whole new document. Use this overview of resources designed to help students take of a cluster that interests him or her will make
the TAP to determine how to adapt your responsibility for their own college and the process less intimidating. Within each
current document to fit the AchieveTexas career research and planning. cluster are more focused programs of study,
TAP guidelines. To help facilitate the TAP process, which lead to specific careers. By choosing a
If you’d like to get a fresh start and have encourage your students to use the helpful cluster first, a student has more opportunities
all of your students create a TAP, however, tools that follow. to explore the various career options available.
go to and download ■ The AchieveTexas website (www. Of course, some students and parents may
the Texas Education Agency’s programs of includes descriptions be wary of selecting a specific career cluster in
study for preparing for different kinds of of the 16 national career clusters and eighth grade. Reassure them that the cluster
occupations. programs of study. choice can be changed at any time, and that
■ All 16 AchieveTexas in Action cluster guides the entire TAP will be reviewed and revised
step-by-step are essential reading for students. These at least once a year.
While the TAP contains lots of information, student-friendly publications were created
it’s fairly simple to complete once the student especially for Texas students and parents,
chooses a career cluster and program of and offer valuable information about
study. Follow this step-by-step guide as you careers, salaries, education, and future 3
hELP sTudEnTs PiCk
A PrOgrAM Of sTudy.
help students create their TAPs. options. Students can review the guides at refer to the state-recognized programs of study for suggested
■ Online career assessments such as the academic courses, career electives,
Kuder (, Bridges (www. and postsecondary options., Career Cruising (www. A student’s choice of cluster will determine, COIN (www.coinedu. which programs of study are available. The
com), and Myers-Briggs (www.myersbriggs. AchieveTexas website at
com) assessments help students identify is a handy online tool to refer to as you discuss
their strengths, interests, and goals. a student’s options. To locate the programs of
■ OSCAR (Occupation and Skill Computer- study for the student’s chosen cluster, choose
Assisted Researcher) at www.oscar. “Programs of Study” from the menu at left,
org/tx provides a wealth of occupational scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on
information. the appropriate career cluster icon.
■ O*NET (Occupational Information Each program of study meets the State’s
Network) at recommended high school graduation
provides information on occupations, requirements, and they also can easily be
compensation, employment prospects, and adapted to meet the State’s Distinguished
skill matching. Achievement Program graduation
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