Financial Literacy
For Your Future



What Should I Do After High School Graduation?

It looks like your dream has finally come true. In a few months you will graduate from high school! Unless something awful and unforeseen happens you have the credits and the grades to earn your diploma. Yes, an end of an era in your life, an accomplishment you can be very proud of, and when the high school door closes behind you another opens right in front of you. Some will say, “the easy part is over”. You now must make more choices, make them faster, and the consequences of these choices can be more influential on your life. For some this realization is scary even depressing, for others it is exciting and energizing…for all it is real.


The importance of this question cannot be overstated. It is critical to your very existence. What you choose to do now will impact your whole life. Although changes and corrections can be made along the way and, in fact, should be made as you use marginal thinking along life’s path, being thoughtful now will establish a solid foundation for growth, happiness, and “being all you can be”. Wow, this sounds critical and it is! 

Let’s begin this story with a dream. After the graduation party you collapse into bed and fall fast asleep. In a dream you awake to an alarm clock going off and it is 6:30 a.m. You hurry to shower, dress and be out the door. In your dream, you ask yourself “where am I going”? To work is the answer that comes from somewhere…did you think your parents were going to support you after high school? Get a grip, you have bills to pay, things to buy, friends to spend time with to name a few. Your dream blurs so you don’t know where you are working but you do know it is an eight to five long day. A nightmare for some and for others this is exactly what they wanted. As dreams go, one fades and another takes its place. “Wake up soldier, it is 4:00 am! You are in the army now focuses your dream and you see yourself in a barracks with thirty other people waking up and getting ready for a day of training.  As you walk through the barrack’s door your dream changes again and outside you see yourself on a college campus with numerous buildings and students hurrying off to class. In attempt to clarify your dream you ask yourself “what campus is this, what is my major, how long will I be here to accomplish my goals, and how am I paying for this post secondary education”? You awake in a cold sweat. Welcome back to the reality of a high school graduate. 

Sitting on the side of the bed, you begin to wonder what your life’s options really are. Note: for some and hopefully many you have already accomplished this process and much planning has already been done during your junior and senior year so your life will seem a bit more seamless. Whenever the process was accomplished, the list of options might look similar to this:

  • Get a full time job. Consider place, salary, benefits, on the job training, advancement potential to name a few.
  • Select a full time post high school education program from the long list of colleges, technical schools, two year or four year.
  • Work part time and go to school part time.
  • Join the military branch of your choice. Seek specialty training in areas you like and will help you when you get out...unless you think a military career is for you.
  • Live with your parents forever.

This list might make life a bit complex, but it is exciting and certainly demonstrates that you are now empowered to make major choices. By the way you have probably noticed this list is focused on jobs and/or productivity and leaves out so many other important options for high school grads like getting married, having, children, investing in other financially rewarding options, etc. Don’t panic; these areas have their own stories in the website.

The stage is now set. You have the motivation, the list of options, and the decision making guide to begin your thoughtful analysis. Use the guide to review every option.  Although how to pay for post high school education is highlighted with its own story, be sure to focus on costs and how to pay for the various relevant options in this story as well. Remember, electing to do anything  costs.  Be sure your perceived benefits will outweigh these costs if you want to make a good choice and enhance your wealth. ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

Applications Insights Guide - click here for facts to aid your decision making process





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