After graduating high school, you really have three choices on what to do next: go to college, enter the workforce, or travel and see the world. If you choose to travel first, you will still eventually have to choose one of the other two options. Below are a few things you need to know.
# 1 Assess Your Needs
Figure out what you need to be successful and go for it. Create a transition plan, and stick to it.
Learn your rights and responsibilities. Determine whether you need certain accommodations. If so, you should incorporate those into your transition plan in order to make your journey an easy one. You have a support team of parents, teachers, administrators and friends – utilize them as needed. Set attainable goals, both long term and short term, and what you need to accomplish those goals. Consider apprenticeships and work-study programs. Find a mentor and let their knowledge guide your transition. Decide whether you want to take the placement and assessment tests early. Fee waivers are available, if needed, for the ACT and SAT. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
#2 Create a Winning Resume
The right resume makes the right appearance. Employers are looking for experience outside of schoolwork. Any of your high school club memberships, volunteer experience, and even your paper route can be used to enhance your resume. Potential employers want to know that you know how to think outside of the box, and apply yourself to situations that might occur in the workplace. It is never too early to start thinking about your future.
#3 Prepare for College
While preparing for college, remember that you have options. Take the time to research what fits your needs. The location, cost, and programs offered at a college or university, are important to keep in mind while searching for a good fit. Many schools offer fee waivers or deferments for application fees. As far as funding, there are scholarships, private loans, or federal funding through FAFSA. There are local community colleges that can offer two-year programs, and universities that offer four-year programs, that you can either transfer to, or start out with from the beginning. Trade school is another option if you are interested in certifications in a specific area, such as mechanics. For those who wish to make an easier transition to college, don’t forget apprenticeship programs. They can be a great start into the interest area of your choice, where you learn by doing.
#4 Be Proactive in Choosing Your Course Load
Demonstrate strong academic performance and leadership, for these are the qualities colleges are looking for. Your math and English may be on different levels, but it is important to take those classes early, whether than wait. Keeping these skills fresh will enable your college experience to be much smoother, and will keep you on track for meeting your goals. You have control over what instructor you receive, and you can use your colleges drop/add functions to make sure you get an instructor you can actually learn from. Do not miss a single class if you can avoid it, college level classes do not provide the same redundancy that high school classes do, and you might miss something important if you do. Don’t forget electives, they round out your education and give you a competitive edge in the future workplace. Bear in mind, also, that you do not have to know your major right away. In time, those decisions will fall into place.
#5 Avoid Credit Card Companies
Chances are, your college will be full of credit card companies. They use their aggressive methods to try and rope you into potentially sweet deals. These deals, however, turn sour quickly. The companies are not interested in helping you establish credit, but wish to take advantage of your tendency to overspend. If any company deters you from speaking to your parents before signing, run the other way.
With sound saving practices, you will not need their high interest deals anyway.
Whichever option you choose, remember there are always people who will help you along the way to achieve your goals. Use your support system, and be true to yourself. Your future is in your hands.