One of the hardest jobs for parents of teenagers is preparing them for life after high school graduation. While most parents expect their children to attend college, not every kid will want to follow that path. It's okay for a child to not want to go to college, because there are many other wonderful opportunities for them in the world. While it is hard for many parents to think of their child as an adult, it is very rewarding to help your child make the transition to adulthood. Keep reading for ways you can help your child decide what he or she should do after graduating from high school:
College or University?
If your child wants to attend college after graduation, he or she will have a lot of support and resources from their high school guidance counselor. Many students begin applying for colleges in the fall of their junior year.
You can help guide your child to the best school by having him or her sit down and make a list of goals and accomplishments, personal and academic strengths and weaknesses, extra curricular activities, GPA, class rank, and SAT, ACT, or AP scores. Then, have your teen make a list of the qualities he or she is looking for in a college or university.
Also have your child think about whether he or she wants to stay close to home or live far away. If possible, visit a few different college or university campuses with your teen to help decide which colleges he or she would like to attend.
Technical School & Apprenticeship Programs
A large number of children opt to go to a technical school instead of a college or university after they've graduated from high school. This is a great choice for children who learn best by doing, which is what technical school is all about. It's a hands-on learning experience. Students learn a trade under the direction of an experienced professional. They are shown the proper and safe way to perform various tasks in the trade of their choice.
Examples of technical schools include electrician school, welding school, and bartending school. As soon as your child mentions that he or she doesn't want to college, start talking about technical schools as an alternative.
Similarly, you can also talk to your teenager about apprenticeship programs. There are many different programs available across the country for a multitude of different trades. There are programs available for just about everything you can think of, from auto mechanics to plumbing. The average length of an apprenticeship program is 4 years, but they can be anywhere between 1 and 6 years. You and your teen can start looking at resources like http://hvac-tech.com to get a better idea of the options.
Enlisting in the military is a fantastic choice for teens who are uncertain about the future. In the armed forces, your teenager will learn discipline, a trade, and money skills. Also veterans are entitled to many benefits while in the service and afterward. But don't take enlisting in the military lightly, because once they're in they just can't drop out.
Have your child make a list of the pros and cons of joining the military before a decision is made. If your child does decide that the military is the right choice, make sure the contract he or she signs includes the specific training your child is seeking.
If your teen doesn't want to go to college, a trade school, or the military, he or she can go directly into the work force. There are many benefits for working a full-time job right out of high school, including:
- health insurance
- tuition reimbursement for future college courses
- retirement investment opportunities
- a salary or wages paid regularly
Take Time Off
Some young adults decide to take some time off after high school to travel, live in a foreign country, do community service, or other similar activities. This is a great thing for students who feel burned out and need some time off before entering college or going to a trade school. Some students need a little more time to mature before they join the "real world."
There are countless reasons why taking some time off right after high school is beneficial, so don't feel as if your teen is ruining his or her life by taking this route. Instead, talk to your teen about their choice and their plans for the future.
As you can see, your teenager has a lot of options to consider after graduating high school. While it's important that you are there to support and guide your child to be the best person he or she can be, it's important that you listen to your teen and respect their wishes.