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How to Prepare for Life After High School

Written by James Madison High School on Friday, 28 June 2019. Posted in Traditional Students

Person holding compass outdoors.

You’re working toward finishing your high school studies and are counting down the days until you close out this chapter of your life. You’re ready to begin the next adventure and you’ve started mapping out that story in quiet moments when you dream of what your future will be like. Here’s how to prepare for your post-high school journey.

Your future starts now.

Whether you’re an adult learner, returning to finish up your high school coursework or you’re a traditional student who wanted the flexibility of online homeschooling, you’ve been looking forward to earning your diploma. Graduating high school and earning that official piece of paper can make a huge impact on your life, from helping you qualify for better jobs to allowing you to take your education even further at college or career school. If you have an idea of what you want to do after graduation, or you’re still considering your options, there’s a few things you can do to prepare for your post-high school adventure while you’re finishing up your classes.

Set goals.

You don’t need to know what you want to be when you “grow up” when you’re in high school, but it’s important to think of what you might want to accomplish. The average person has ten different jobs before they’re forty years old, and changing careers isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It takes a while to discover what you like and how best to use your skills, so trying out a few different jobs is important to figuring it out. But, as an adult student or a homeschool student, setting some goals while you’re finishing up your last few classes can help you prepare to narrow down your options post-graduation.

Think about the next year (or several years) of your life. What do you want to accomplish? Set both short and long-term goals. What do you want to do this week? This month? This year? After setting some goals, think about what skills you need to make them happen.

For example, say one of your long-term goals is getting into college. To accomplish that goal, you need to get information about the colleges you’re interested in, check out the application process, write your admissions essay, and keep up your grades to meet any requirements. You’ll also want to get paperwork together to submit with your application, including your official James Madison High School transcripts.

Try new things.

One way to discover what you want to do after high school? Try new things! Whether that’s new activities or hobbies, or joining a group or club you might not have considered before, you’ll learn something and may even make new friends. You’ll also start to figure out what you like and don’t like, helping you narrow down potential career options.

Take tests.

If you’re planning to go right into a job after graduation, taking standardized exams aren’t necessary. However, if you’re even thinking about applying to a technical school or college, preparing for and completing certain standardized tests like the ACT or the SAT can be necessary before you even apply. You can find out which exams are required by researching admissions requirements on the website of the school you’re interested in.

Update your resume.

It’s important to have a resume and keep it up to date so your information is accurate and employers can get a better sense of whether or not you’re a good candidate. If you haven’t yet and you’re applying to new jobs, update your resume to include your current education. When you graduate, update it again to reflect your accomplishment!

For homeschool students, learn how to write a resume! While some companies still use application forms, many find it easier to ask for resumes from job candidates. Your resume should include your personal information, like name and address, as well as your education, any jobs you’ve had, and any volunteer opportunities.

Be proud.

You’re almost done with high school and you’ve worked hard to get here. Working around a busy schedule, on weekends, or while trying to make friends and have fun is a lot to do and you’re dedication has kept you moving forward. You’ve put in time and effort and, while you’re preparing for the future after graduation, don’t forget to take the time to be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You kept yourself motivated, you set your own pace, and you’re ready to take the next step in your life. Congratulations!

Stand out from the competition with career services.

If you’re not sure where to go next after graduating from James Madison High School’s flexible online diploma program, your next stop is our career services page. As a high school student or graduate, you’ll have access to the same career services students of Ashworth College do. Whether you need help building out your resume, or you just aren’t sure what career you want to pursue, Ashworth College Central Network can help! Register to start preparing for the future you want today.

About the Author

James Madison High School

James Madison High School

Our blog comes to you live from our high school students and community. Dive in to hear more from current students, alumni, and experts as we celebrate our student's accomplishments, persistence, and passions.