You’ve Graduated High School: Now What?

Memories of high school prom are fading, the end of school is looming and most likely if you are graduating this year, you have a wicked case of senioritis. What are you going to do after you walk across the stage? As a staffing agency, we see many graduates wander through our doors wondering what to do next. With careful planning, creative experimentation, and old-fashioned persistence, your high school diploma can turn into a world of possibilities.

What are your choices?

  • College is there for anyone, any time. If you can’t commit to college now, wait.
  • Trade and technical school career training (e.g., culinary, bank, media focus, photography and computers). Find out if these programs are available in your current school now or if you need to wait until after high school graduation.
  • ROTC/military
  • AmeriCorps/Peace Corps
  • Work experience is key. Try different things that you might like. You can always change your mind. A career is not set in stone.

How will you decide?

  • What is your skill set? Your passion? Your personality? If you don’t know, your high school guidance counselor has assessments readily available.
  • A staffing agency is a great place to start. If you can pass a drug test, you’re hired!
  • According to Workplace Magazine, less and less four-six year degrees are required. Fulfilling employment does not require a degree; however employers say that post-secondary education (skill building, certification, etc.) is attractive and shows a commitment to lifelong learning.

To whom should you listen?

  • People in your circle who are happy with their career choices and are willing to share their experiences.
  • High school counselors, religious leaders, and teachers you admire in specific subject areas can all help you formulate next steps.
  • Your parents and role models like relatives and neighbors.

Remember, nothing is going to happen overnight. It is never too late to start. Today’s choices will not be the same choices you have six months from now. As cliché as it sounds, you can do anything you want to do. We have a friend who started medical school at 35. She will be 42 when she is done…and it’s okay! Set priorities based on your values, make a decision, and then go do it. If you don’t like it, make a new decision and make something else happen. Repeat after me, “I trust it is going to work out as long as I am proactive. I will find support for the actions I wish to take.”

Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Peterson, Tom Miller, and Nissa Jimenez, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.