Your senior year of high school is such an exciting time! You’ve worked hard on your academics for 12 long years and now you’ve finally reached the finish line! All of those years of carrying around color coded folders and highlighters, those nights of staying up late cramming for tests, and the late night trips to the grocery store for science fair project materials was all worth it, because now – you’re about to graduate from high school!
But…what will you do next?
Many students get a little scared their senior year of high school because they know that after they graduate they will be moving on to do new things. Those new things might be challenging and they might be uncomfortable for a short period of time, because they are new. But, eventually, you will get acclimated to your new environment and life will be smooth sailing.
There are many college and career options to choose from after high school, and each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re about to walk across the stage, and get ready for that next phase of life after high school, read below to explore your various options.
- Community College - Some people choose to attend a Community College right after high school. This is a great option for those who want to stay at home, or in their home-town after graduation. It’s also an economical option because tuition fees for community colleges are typically less than the fees associated with attending a 4-year college or university. Many students report that the transition from high school to a community college is less stressful than the transition from high school to a 4-year University. Also, most community colleges offer small classes with tailored instruction for those who have learning difficulties. The great thing about starting out at a community college is that if you plan your courses correctly, your credits will be able to transfer to a 4-year University. This means that you can start your college career at a community college to get adjusted to college life, and then transfer to a 4-year University when you are ready. You can also earn an Associate’s Degree from a community college in as little time as two years or less. Having an Associate’s Degree can provide excellent background knowledge and skills to help you prepare for your career of choice.
- College or University – If you choose to attend a college or university after high school, you will have the opportunity to earn your Bachelor’s Degree, which typically takes about four years. People who have a Bachelor’s degree are able to apply for numerous jobs, because many jobs require a college diploma. There are also more opportunities to earn a higher income if you have a Bachelor’s degree. Some other benefits of attending a 4-year College or University is that you will have access to extra learning opportunities such as study abroad programs and internships. There are also a variety of fun social clubs, activities, and organizations that many Colleges and Universities offer such as sororities and fraternities.
- Career, Trade, and Technical Schools – Career, Trade, and Technical Schools offer a variety of certificates that one can earn in as little as 18 months or less. These types of institutions provide opportunities to study and gain hands on experience learning a trade, skill, or craft. Some example areas of study are graphic design, paralegal, medical & dental assisting, HVAC, pharmacy technician, medical transcription, culinary arts, fashion design, welding, and cosmetology. Many career, trade, and technical schools offer job placement assistance to help their graduates gain employment. They also offer smaller classes allowing for individualized attention, which is great for those with learning difficulties.
- Military – There are many options to serve our great country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines after graduating from high school. This is a very admirable choice to make. There are a variety of careers that one can learn and pursue while serving in the military. Additionally, there are also opportunities to get college scholarships due to your service in the armed forces, meaning that there are opportunities to obtain your college degree for free due to your service.
- Employment – If you choose to go straight to work after high school, instead of furthering your education, your options for employment will be slim. Most jobs that pay a decent salary require some college experience or a college degree. Getting a full-time job after high school will provide you and your family with some income, however, if you don’t further your education by pursuing one of the options listed above, your income earning potential might be capped because your highest level of education will be a high school diploma.
There are many options that will be available to you upon graduating from high school. Weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the choice that's right for you.