Attention Parents with High School Students

Planning for the new school year is underway. Trips to the mall, school supplies, getting ready for classes and new surroundings are now top of mind. Question: Is planning for after high school on your mind?

Freshman and Sophomore – The newest students to the high school scene will be experiencing new surroundings, academic thills, and the start of building their resume. Freshman and Sophomore students should use this time for discovery and exploring what interests and motivates; academically and personally.  For the family, it is time to learn about college cost and a review of financial capabilities.

Juniors – This is the pivotal college year and September is when it all begins. Time to create the post-high school plan! A plan that maps out the steps, tasks, and activities required to enroll in college, start a skilled professional career or maybe a combination of both. Here’s when the search, evaluation, and hard-core preparation for post-high school decision making truly begins. Visiting colleges, promoting a student’s interest, test-taking and determining how to pay for college just a few of the things many things to do during this pivotal year. Hint: the clock ticks quickly!!

Seniors – If a plan is not in place or not being worked, it’s scramble time!! What typically takes the whole junior year now must be condensed into 3-6 months. Doable, yes. Faster pace and a little more intense, for sure!  For those seniors already working their plan, September kicks into gear the final steps and action items including filing admissions and financial aid applications and culminating by making a choice! It’s all about the 3 W’s and one H – on the fast track!!

6 Keys to Making the Post High School Move Easier

The thought of determining what happens after high school can turn calm and easy-going households into the Goliath ride at Six Flags. A ride that can make what should be an exciting experience a stressful ball of fire. Here are a few ways to turn a potentially wild ride into a smooth and rewarding experience.


Communication is the #1 ingredient when developing the secret sauce for a successful experience. Establishing and keeping a stream of information flowing is critical. A two-way flow that feeds openly by a student, parent(s), and others involved. Strong communication that is connected to a sound plan is essential to mapping out what’s next for a student after high school.


Understanding what one wants to do, might be thinking, and capable of, are critical to the planning process. Majors, type of schools, family spending power, available resources are just a few areas that need to be on the table. Identifying wants and understanding expectation is essential. Being on the same wavelength is critical for everyone on the team. Communicating and maintaining a clear understanding of expectation adds to the success of the secret sauce.

Understanding the Game 

Knowledge is power. Learning and understanding the different parts of one’s options, moving on to college, securing an apprenticeship or even enlistment in the service is critical to the sauce. Deadlines, application flows, cost, eligibility for funding resources are complicated in themselves. Developing and maintaining a strong understanding of all the parts will make connecting them easier. Asking questions, attending information sessions, and obtaining information are all critical steps to the learning experience.

Share the Tasks

As they say, there is no “I” in team! Everyone, a student, parent(s), school administrators, teachers, coaches, and extended family members are all part of guiding a student’s next move. The work should be shared and communicate regularly. Researching, networking, traveling to college visits, and managing the calendar of events is a group effort. No one person can or will do it all!!

Be Realistic

“Dream big but be realistic.” A statement used when we encourage and motivate students to strive to be their best. Out of fear and societal influences we under mind to the true essence of the message. We fail to celebrate the value of individuality. In the college world, it worsens when students and families exceed their realistic levels, a measurement of authentic (genuine) abilities and capabilities.  As a result, students and families overshot their opportunity to be “their best,” only to keep up with classmates, myths, and those dam societal pressures. Let’s shift the conversation. Dream big, be realistic, and be proud!!

Have a Plan

Today, mapping one’s path after high school can be very overwhelming. College, work, skilled professional, military service, a gap year can easily lead to I don’t know! Sometimes the pressure can make one seem like the Mad-Hatter; too much to do, not enough time.  Add in what society and social media communicates, and yes, it’s no wonder more, and more students and families do not struggle with their options and choices. Utilizing a comprehensive college plan can be the key to reducing stress and helping everyone stay focused. Putting a plan in place that outlines tasks, activities deadlines and critical steps throughout the junior and senior year can bring harmony to any household