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Welcome to the Real World! program consists of four parts: career exploration, expenditure decision-making, money management, and choice evaluation.  The program includes active, hands-on activities that gives young people the opportunity to explore career opportunities and make lifestyle and spending choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis. In addition, there are a series of fact sheets with activities that expand upon the learning that takes place during the simulation.

In the simulation of the real world, participants assume that they have completed basic educational requirements for their chosen career and are single and 25 years of age.  They live on their own and are independent with no financial support from family or others. 

The participants explore potential careers or occupations that they have would like to pursue in the future.  After they choose an occupation, they receive a monthly salary for that occupation.  They then proceed through the Welcome to the Real World! simulation, deducting taxes, determining a savings amount, paying a student loan, if applicable, and spending their "salary" on the necessary and other items that reflect the career and lifestyle they have chosen.

The curriculum can be adapted for use in a three-hour special activity or in a 3, 6, or 9 session classroom format. The career and money management fact sheets and activities help to expand upon the knowledge gained through the simulation.

The curriculum includes:

  • Promotional Materials
  • Background Information for Teacher/Instructor
  • Instructor's Guide
  • Career Materials
  • Money Management Fact Sheets
  • Participant Materials
  • Program Materials
  • Volunteer Materials
  • Tools for Measuring Program Impact

The materials can be found on the CD and can be purchased from University of Illinois Pubs Plus at Cost of the curriculum is $60 plus shipping and handling.