What to Do When You Don’t Know What’s Next: Career Advice for High School Graduates.

If you’re a high school student, you may be in a wonderful place in your life. And right now, is the time to begin thinking about your future and to make some preliminary plans; also, keep in mind that plans are flexible.

Ninety-five percent (95%) of high school students have no idea what to do after high school. Twenty-five percent (25%) of people have parents who have chosen their career for them. Although many students assert that they know what they want to pursue, statistics suggest otherwise. Many teenagers are unsure about what they want to do with their lives. They may have a few interests, but there are very few who find their true calling in their teens. After all, growing up today is difficult enough with the pressure to fit in and discovering your identity. For many high school students, these things can be overwhelming.

Tips to Ponder When You Don’t Know What to Do after High School

Here are some things to keep in mind when you consider finding a career or potential academic options.

  • Spend some time reflecting on your interests and visualizing related careers.

In a wide range of industries, there are a lot of opportunities, a lot of job and career paths, and even some brand-new professional paths. Spend some time in or even after high school exploring related or even completely unrelated jobs, even if you are fairly convinced of your professional choice. Look at your choices. Try out a few career assessments and think about your preferences.

  • Volunteer or work to experience new things.

The more experiences you have, the more possibilities will become available to you when you look for a profession. Even high school students have an increasing number of internship options. Inside and outside of school, look for employment and volunteer opportunities. Work experience also positively impacts the appearance of future job applications and resumes, as well as college applications.

  • While in high school and even after, set challenges for yourself without going overboard.

Maximize your high school experience. Choose the challenging courses when you can; you’ll learn more, and you’ll set yourself up to be ready for various opportunities. Of course, you need to be focused on doing well in school but try not to overextend yourself or your schedule to the point that you get stressed out. Make sure to book at least one enjoyable course in your schedule.

  • Keep in mind that each person must follow their own journey in life.

Don’t let other students’ actions or beliefs influence your decision. And don’t panic if you graduate from high school without a defined career or college path; finding out who you are and what you want to do with your life is part of life. You shouldn’t feel pressured to decide right away because everyone grows, matures, and develops at their own rate. However, don’t let the idea that time is on your serve as a justification for not at least beginning your education and job exploration.

  • Don’t allow anyone to dictate your goals and aspirations.

If you let your parents or another family member determine your major or your line of work, you may resent it. When an older family member is paying for school, students frequently feel pressure to pursue the same job route. But choosing a career to appease someone else is the worst thing you can do.

  • It’s never too early or late to start planning and organizing what to do after high school.

No matter where you are in high school, now is the time to make plans for the rest of your time there as well as for what you want to do after graduation. Find out what options you have for education following high school, including technical schools, community colleges, four-year universities, etc.  Lastly, devise strategies to cover any holes in your plans, such as working toward higher grades, enrolling in challenging courses, obtaining experience, or performing community service.

  • Never stop learning; keep reading to broaden your thoughts.

Don’t give up the chance to experience and learn new things. Many teachers provide or assign summer and additional reading lists; view these as learning opportunities. You will learn more and become more informed as you read more.

Necessary Skills to Acquire after High School

After high school graduation, it’s likely there will be a myriad of choices and decisions to make, but you can simplify things by focusing on these three areas in whatever you choose to do.

Technical skills

Technical skills are those that are specialized for a given profession, such as those needed for coding, writing, construction, sketching, or any other work you might need to excel at.

Soft skills

Soft skills are expected in almost every job. They include interpersonal and communication skills, public speaking, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, time management, and organization skills.

Life skills

A life skill is anything that makes your life easier. Life skills range from locating the greatest discounts on groceries and other necessities to maintaining a clean home, cultivating habits to support a healthy mind and body, among many others.

How Do I Decide What to Do with My Life after High School?

Determine Your Passions and Interests

Consider your favorite activities and the things that bring you joy. There is no excuse not to pursue your passions because practically every interest or hobby may now be turned into a career. Your life’s passion may yet be something you haven’t yet discovered. Looking into any unexplored interests or ideas you may have could be the beginning of something quite significant.

Consider Whether College Is Right for You.

Even though going to college isn’t for everyone, it’s still something to think about. College tuition is one of the biggest obstacles for many people, and it is challenging to commit to that level of debt. If paying for college is your priority, start by researching grants and scholarships, as well as the prospect of studying abroad in a more affordable location. Consider spending your first two years at a community college where the tuition is reasonable and it’s simpler to change your mind if you just want to test out college to see how it goes. Or, consider alternative educational institutions or programs, which are often more affordable. These alternative options often provide a short-term pathway to a career and even further education.

Key Takeaways

Young people can go through significant changes in high school in the process of moving toward adulthood and deciding upon a career path. You can enjoy the fun that the high school years may offer, but also get the greatest education you can so you can take advantage of future opportunities. And continue to grow and learn wherever you go after high school.

RW2 Career and Technical Education (RW2) is the place for you if you’re seeking one of the greatest technical skills education, training, and certification programs in the country to help you launch a new career after high school. What’s more, “don’t wait until you graduate” as RW2 programs serve juniors and seniors in high school in addition to adults.

You can take the first two weeks of training at no cost, and you will learn from industry-experienced STEM instructors. RW2 will help you be ready for a drafting and design or cybersecurity internship or career in just a few weeks.  

Got questions? RW2 wants to hear them and provide answers. Ask us about funding resources to help with the cost of the education and training opportunities.



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