Graduating high school is an exciting time, full of change and possibilities. But for many graduates, it’s also a time of uncertainty. Their friends may be charging full-steam ahead toward a particular career or school, while your teen still decides on their next move.
If you have a child in high school, knowing how to guide them during this time can be challenging. Thankfully, as an adult, you have the advantage of knowing the most significant career goals: doing meaningful work, having career stability, and making enough money to support yourself and, maybe someday, a family. Guiding your teen toward these goals can be difficult, but we’re here to help!
What Can High School Students Gain by Planning for the Future?
If your high school student has no idea what they should do after graduation, they’re not alone. According to a 2022 survey, approximately 1 in 3 high school graduates had no plan after tossing their caps. So, while it’s not unusual for high schoolers to lack a master plan for the future, the sooner your child determines their path forward, the sooner they can start reaching their goals.
Once they put a plan into action and start following it, they’ll likely see the following results:
- Increased Confidence- By following a clear path toward success, your teen will learn that their goals are within reach, boosting their confidence and fostering independence.
- Decreased FOMO- Your teen may feel like they’re missing out on a rite of passage when they see friends diving headfirst into their post-high school plans or career path. But once your teen has their own ideas of how they want to create their future, they can confidently take the next steps without worrying about others.
- An Appreciation for Goal-Setting: When teens see how their goals are quickly coming to fruition, they will be reinforced to goal-set across other areas of their lives. This mindset shift will serve them for the rest of their adulthood.
Tips for Guiding Your Teen
Help Your Teen Identify Their Strengths, Interests, and Goals
- Sit down with your teen and list their strengths, interests, and goals. This action will help them brainstorm and open them up to your feedback. For example, their list might look like this:
- Strengths: Math, people skills, coding, assembling and fixing things (like furniture), creativity, problem-solving skills
- Interests: Drawing, woodworking, automotive, building
Goals: Travel, have a family, live on some acreage
If your teen doesn’t have many job-specific goals, it can help to list lifestyle goals. For example, if your teen wants to live in a high-cost-of-living area or have a family, they’ll need to target careers with higher-than-average pay. Let your teen have fun with this. These ideas will serve as motivation later.
Research Career Options and Find Mentors
After your high schooler has considered their strengths and interests, they can research careers. Think of friends, families, and acquaintances with a similar personality to your child. What type of jobs do they do?
If your teen knows someone with a job they might like, they have an advantage. Encourage your teen to contact this person to learn more about their job, its advantages, and any additional advice. Mentors can be powerful positive influences.
And, if your teen is coming up blank on jobs, a career assessment test like MAPPS can point them in the right direction. High school guidance counselors often have resources as well.
At Florida Trade Academy, we love talking to students about pursuing one of many high-paying, hands-on trade careers as an exciting option. Our Team can guide your high schooler on career considerations that might fit their strengths.
Check Into Career Entry Requirements
Now that your teen has a few career options, it’s time to consider the requirements. Jobs can require some of the following:
- High school diploma/GED
- 2- or 4-year degree
- Apprenticeship or on-the-job training
Your student needs to weigh out the requirements of their career considerations and ask themselves if they can commit to the prerequisites to enter each career. For some students, if studying through high school was a struggle, committing to years of college may not be the best plan. Many students discover this the hard way after dropping out of university studies before completing a program and being stuck with thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
Fortunately, for non-traditional learners or those who want to fast-track their entry into a field, many gratifying and good-paying jobs don’t require university studies— like skilled trades.
Create a Financial Plan
- Finally, help your student make a plan to pay for their education, training, or certification. If your child decides that a trade school is right for them, there are many financial benefits:
- Most programs can be completed in less than two years, which limits the amount they will have to spend on education.
- They gain valuable work experience and connections with employers, so they are ready to start earning money as soon as their program ends.
- Scholarships, loans, and payment plans are available for those who qualify.
If trade school might be in your child’s future, contact Florida Trade Academy today. We can help your teen find the right program, create a plan to finance their education, and line up real work experience. We believe there’s a program for every passion and are here to help young adults design bright futures.