Many parents are doing exactly what I am right now and that is doing my best parenting my teen through the college or technical school decision she is facing now that she is in high school. Her teachers and counselors at school are doing their best to prepare students for what is ahead of them after graduating from high school. Most teens have to decide between going to college or attending a technical school.
There are some who decide to work a job before making any decisions about furthering their education but for the most part high school teens are spending their high school years making sure that grades and extracurricular activities are preparing them for the road they wish to travel after graduating which often includes either college or a technical school attendance.
There are many things parents can do to help teens prepare for making this decision such as helping them to organize thoughts and goals about what they would like to do as far as a career. Parents can help them to write down the accomplishments they have achieved during the middle school years and high school years so that they can see a pattern of activities and interests that can help them to make future career decisions. Once a teen has narrowed down what it is that they would like to do as an adult regarding a career it then becomes easier to determine what type of higher education they will need to pursue after high school graduation.
The Kidshealth.org Website gives a good list of goals and accomplishments that teens can include on this list. They mention writing down any academic or personal strengths and weaknesses that they recognize in themselves, all extracurricular activities that they participated in over the middle and high school years, any awards they received, a listing of what grade point averages they have earned, class rank and scores for ACT, AP or SAT.
Many teens have multiple conversations with peers about what to do after high school and they may lean one way or another regarding college or technical school depending on what close friends are doing. It is often difficult for a teen to face the concept of moving on without the people they have formed such close friendships with throughout high school. Really close friends often decide to go to apply to or go to the same college, university or technical school just so they can continue to feel as close and secure as they have during high school.
Parents can help teens to make an assessment of what they will need in a college or technical school so that they can reach career goals. Knowing what qualities are required in a college or technical school will help a teen to make a determination about whether those needs can best be met at an accredited college or if a technical school would be able to help the teen meet his or her goals.
There are many resources available to teens and their parents concerning making the decision about what to do once they have graduated from high school.
The book, “What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens, 2nd edition by Carol Christen, Richard N. Bolles is a book that helps teens to organize their thoughts and to really understand what they want out of life after high school. In the section titled, “Discovering Your Dream Job”, teens are asked to discover what it is that they like to do, what interests they have, what skills they have honed and how to use this information to identify potential dream jobs. The book also helps them to discover what they can do to make the most out of the remaining high school years to help them to reach their future dreams.
Reference librarians are wonderful people to utilize because they have many resources at their fingertips and can guide parents and teens to information within the library that can guide them in making these important decisions.
Parenting your teen through the college or technical school decision does not have to be scary. You do have lots of resources in your teen’s school and in other resources such as books and the local library.
Helping Your Teen Decide What to Do After High School KidsHealth http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/after_hs.html