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What should you do after high school?

A look at your post graduation choices.

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Graduating from high school is the end of an era. Gone are the days of carefree learning and socializing with friends. Now you need to decide what you are going to do with the rest of your life and that is no small decision to make. While lots of teens see high school as a chore, something to get through and leave behind, the reality is that high school is the last frontier to cross before the responsibility of adulthood takes center stage. Sure studying is work and school isn’t always fun and games but guess what? After high school is over you will come to appreciate it for the relatively carefree time of life that it is. It may sound cliché but once you graduate high school real life begins and how that life plays out is shaped by what you decide to do after high school.

So let’s take a quick look at your options. What are your choices when high school is done? Where do you go from there? It all depends on where you want to be and how quickly you want to get there. Some people have life plans started before freshman year while others are still at the planning stage a year after high school. No one way is the right way because every choice means sacrifice and every path leads to more than one destination. Here are some of the options that you have immediately after grad – yes, there are others but these are the most common ones - along with tips to help you can decide which is best for you.

Post Secondary School

What is it?
This includes university, college or career training in a non-trades field. Some examples of non-trades training include; Medical Office Assistant, Legal Assistant, Dental Assistant, Corrections Officer, and Office Assistant.

Is it right for you?
This is for you if you are ready to select a career path, did reasonably well in an academic program at school, and are able and ready to study and learn in a traditional setting. If you are thinking of university or college you will need good grades in high school course work to get accepted to a school, or you must be willing to take extra time to upgrade in a post-secondary college prep program. Just because your grades right out of high school weren’t great does not mean that college or university is not an option for you, it just means you’ll have to take a slightly longer path in getting there. As for career training programs, like the ones noted above, your high school grades may be less important but could come in to play when seeking financial aid for tuition. Check with the training center of your choice for details.

The biggest hurdle faced by many people wanting to go on to post-secondary schools like university or college is the high cost of tuition and books. If your parents or family can afford to pay your way or if you have an education savings account this may not be a concern for you but if you’re not so lucky you still have options. Extremely good grades can help in getting full or partial scholarships or bursaries but student loans are available to everyone, even if you just squeaked by with minimum entrance requirements. Visit the Registrars Office or Financial Aid Center at the school you plan to attend to find out more about your funding options.

A Word to the Wise
College and university are not for everyone and you should not feel bad if this path doesn’t feel right for you. Vocational training is also not for everyone as the learning structure in these programs is patterned after the traditional academic model. If high school was a struggle for you academically you may find this a frustrating choice. While a difficult time in high school should in no way deter you if you really want to go on to a college or university be aware that the learning environment is not much different than high school and be prepared to deal with whatever it was that made high school learning a challenge for you.

More Choices
Trade School or Public Service
Military Life or Straight to Work

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