Grades nine through 12 can be a challenge socially and academically. But it’s an important time to start thinking about and preparing  for life after high school.

Thinking about and preparing for the future are two of the keys to your success in the next chapter of your life. Here are some tips for getting the life you want after high school.

Inventory the skills that you already have.

Did you know the efforts you put forth in school and in out of school activities build job skills? Imagine how sports help you work with teams and communicate. Think about how volunteering helps your social and helping skills. See that clubs and organizations build time management and organization skills. Utilize the features of the Kuder Career Planning System® (KCPS) by creating an e-Portfolio and storing documents, certifications, and successes in it. Keep your e-Portfolio and references current and don’t forget to add your school successes and extracurricular activities.

Kuder’s 12th-grade school-to-work intern, shared her thoughts on the subject: “Students should really take time to emphasize things such as the soccer team that they led, or the mock trial team that they coached. These may seem like minor achievements, but when you can say you learned communication and leadership through these activities, it helps you stand out. Students need to remember to use the skills they’ve gained and connections they’ve made to get ahead in life.”

Volunteer in your community.

Your outreach efforts will help people, improve skills, and look good on your resume and college and scholarship applications. Volunteering will also help you find the work that you like to do and the work that you don’t. This will help you choose a college major and occupation that you will enjoy.

Create a network of supporters.

Push away negative influences and draw in family, friends, teachers, and counselors who want to help you succeed and who will be a positive force in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.

Identify the items that are important for you when comparing colleges.

Make a list and research each college of interest. Here are some items to think about: location, type, campus life, admissions requirements, cost, financial aid, scholarships, distance, and housing options.

Take advantage of opportunities to spread your wings.

Public speaking gigs, structured field trips, school-based business opportunities, international connections, job shadowing, and work internships can help you develop workplace skills and experience hands-on learning.

Use the Scholarship Search tool in the KCPS.

It can help you find ways to help pay for college by connecting to thousands of opportunities. Find as many alternative ways to pay for college without being bogged down by student loan debt after you graduate.

Check your professionalism.

What does your online persona share with the world? Are you attending school on time and completing homework? Are you careful about your online privacy and your posts? Colleges and employers are looking at what you post online, so be extra careful about how you use social media. Don’t let a few inappropriate photos and posts ruin your chances of achieving the future you want!

If you need support with anything mentioned above, especially with selecting a college and your major area of study, contact us – we can help! Kuder offers career coaching services that can help you make a plan for what’s next after high school, find a college, and improve your confidence.