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Kids Turn Education

Graduation - now what? Non-University Post High School Options

By: Liz Smith
Trouve Online Publishing

For most kids, high school marks the beginning of adult life. You learn to drive, you choose your classes, and you start making decisions that will affect the rest of your life. You may not realize it now, but even seemingly meaningless decisions like whether or not to play a sport or audition for the school play can have an impact on your future. The classes you take, the extra-curricular activities you pursue, and even the friends you have can play a part in where you end up after graduation.

You may not yet know what you want to be, where you want to go to college, or even if you want to go to college, but itís important to keep your options open; itís likely that within a few years youíll change your mind. In order to do this, you can take a variety of classes and participate in a variety of activities and, especially if youíre still searching for your next path in life, this may even help you determine what your next step is going to be.

Most kids think that they only have two options upon graduating from high school: go to a university and get your degree or get a job. However, you may be surprised (and perhaps happy) to learn that these are not your only choices. There are a plethora of alternate opportunities available that allow you to receive an education, in many cases in less than four years, that can prepare you for a specific career. The downside to this possibility is that you must know what you want to do before you enroll in such a program.

Vocational and trade schools offer a quality education in fields like fashion design, art, computers and IT, the culinary industry, and more. But, since you will only be studying one subject, you will only graduate with the qualifications for that specific field. This is another reason, if you think vocational schools are right for you, to expand your high school activities to include everything that you think you might be interested in. It will help to ensure that you are making the correct career decision for yourself.

If youíre concerned that itís too soon for you to decide about a career field, then community colleges offer the course variety of a university without the cost and time commitments required by a four year college. Here youíll be able to take an assortment of classes while trying to decide what subject is right for you. Youíll have the option of attending school full-time or part-time, which will give you the opportunity to work, if necessary, while earning your degree. Working in a field that you think you may be interested in, while going to school, is a great way to not only earn money, but also to gain some insight into the industry and determine whether or not itís something you would like to pursue in the future.

If you do know what industry you want to work in, but think that you donít have the time to simultaneously earn your degree, you should look into online colleges. By earning your degree online you have the ability to ďattendĒ class whenever you choose, which means that, fast or slow, you can set the pace of study. If you want to earn your degree quickly you can, or if you have other obligations to fulfill, you can take your time and stretch out your schooling. Although this may not be the ideal learning environment for many recent high school graduates (you must motivate yourself to learn and complete work), if you have the discipline to get things done and need to control the pace with which you earn your degree, then online college may work for you.

Ultimately, your post-high school decision is yours and yours alone. Talk to parents and teachers about your options and find out what they think you should do; they know you and have been through this themselves. But also keep in mind that you do have more options today than they did when they were making their decision. Research the different possibilities, sit down with someone you trust to review your options, and decide what will work best for you. Itís your life, your future, and your decision; be sure to make an educated one.

Article submitted by Liz Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Trouve Online Publishing - Copyright 2003

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