We ❤ 1st Year Teachers    Click Here for Free Access!

Helping Graduates Prioritize Life’s Next Step

Graduation.  That word brings back great memories and, this year, thousands of celebrations are ahead.  With graduation, change comes, and many young people are trying to answer this question: what’s next? From the choice of career to cost of higher education to starting a job or even investing, their decisions are coming fast.

You, as a member of the school community working with students, are presented with a great opportunity to reassure them over these last few days.  These conversations help them prioritize how to take those next steps in life with confidence.

Most importantly, keep them calm!  Yes, acknowledge their in-the-moment apprehension and the soon-to-come changes, but celebrate with them! Here are a few ideas to help you guide them in their decision-making process.

Manage Education Costs

  1. Talk to them about being responsible for the cost of higher education to create options for them. Intentionally show that if you borrow money, read the fine print.  Inform young graduates to ask these questions “When do I start loan repayment? Do interest rates change? Will I want a financial obligation after college? Do I repay if I don’t graduate/get a job?” Remember, there is no such thing as free money when it comes to school loans.
  2. Share that they can take one or two classes at a time and pay as they go. Put to work skills learned in high school. Believe it or not, showing up for class, waiting your turn to speak, completing tasks are life skills that employers want in an employee. A high school diploma is confirmation to an employer that you can and will show up and complete tasks.
  3. Find funds that are available like grants.  Check out these sites:  FastWeb and scholarships. Don’t think because you are not the swim talent or track star scholarships and grants are not for you. The opposite is true – more than most realize. Money is available to students who take time to research and apply to the opportunity.

Incorporate Passion with Work

  1. Get the students to consider their passions.  If they look at what they are passionate about and leverage that motivation, then they can accomplish their career or college goals. Perhaps they will land a job that has a tuition assistance program. Taking advantage of that benefit could prove invaluable in the long run.
  2. Ask the students a very simple but huge question – do you love helping people and love to travel? Why not join the Peace Corps, military or Global Volunteers? After the past 12+ years of school, more school may not be the answer. Don’t be fooled! These options require strong-willed individuals who put others first, who are willing to be away from home, and who are willing to work hard.  Caution them to consult with a trusted adult, ask questions about length of service, age restrictions, benefits, and personal insurance policies. Teach them to always watch for signs of deceit with any firm making promises about payments that seem too good to be true.

Invest for the Future

Share with students this principle: even though they may not be thinking about retirement as a teenager, it is never too soon to save for retirement. If you are employed, ask your employer if they have a 401(K) or Roth IRA to which you can contribute.

If heading off to university is not your next step, but you want to save for future college plans, invest in a 529 college savings plan. This account will grow your money tax free until you are ready to use it for college tuition.

Other great options are U. S. Savings Bonds, and short term CDs. Saving $20 a month for the next 40 years will yield $9,600. But investing the same $20 in a savings account with a 5% annual interest rate will yield about $27,383. Whatever you decide to invest in, start now to take advantage of the time you have in front of you.

While these last few days of school are great opportunities to guide, CELEBRATE with them!  Take a moment to be proud of the fact that they have come a long way.  Encourage them to celebrate with their friends, family, and teachers who supported them in the journey.  It is a big deal for them, and they deserve recognition for their achievement.

While there is no one blueprint of what must be done after Pomp and Circumstance ushers everyone out of the auditorium, high school graduation is “all that” – and so much more. Tell those students to be the best you through sound decisions about their future now.

Felicitations on what’s next!

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Join Our Newsletter