As a therapist, I often work with teens who are faced with the daunting task of deciding what to do after high school. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, considering we aren’t provided with a guidebook on how to navigate these life decisions. If you find yourself in this position, rest assured that you are not alone. In this blog post, I will offer some practical advice on how to navigate post-secondary options, empowering you to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and make decisions that feel right for you.
Selecting a university is a personal decision that is based on your priorities and goals. By considering the factors below, you can begin to make an informed decision based on what is important to you.
Does the program align with my career goal? What is the quality of the program or the reputation of the faculty like? Are there resources available to support your academic success?
Is the location within proximity to family, friends, and/or potential job opportunities?
Does the campus culture align with your personality, interests and lifestyle?
Determine the cost of attendance. Are there opportunities for financial aid, such as scholarships or grants?
What services are available to support student success and well-being? (i.e., tutoring, academic advising, mental health services, etc).
Consider the accessibility of the campus and its resources, including transportation, technology, and accessibility services.
Next, it's important to do your research. Look into different schools or programs that interest you, and attend college fairs or virtual events to learn more. Talk to current students or alumni, and ask questions about their experiences.
Another important step in choosing your post-secondary path is visiting campuses. Visiting campuses can give you a better sense of the campus culture and help you visualize yourself as a student there. Make sure to schedule a tour and ask questions while you're on campus. Don't be afraid to ask questions about resources, student life, and campus safety.
It's important to remember that post-secondary education doesn't necessarily mean attending a traditional four-year university. There are many alternative pathways, such as vocational schools, apprenticeships, or community college programs, that can lead to successful careers. Consider what options are available and best suit your interests and goals.
Choosing your post-secondary path can be overwhelming, but exploring your interests and values is also an exciting opportunity. By considering your priorities, doing your research, prioritizing your mental health, visiting campuses, exploring alternative pathways, and developing your decision-making skills, you can make an informed decision that feels right for you.
Remember, there is no right or wrong path, and taking time to figure it out is okay. With support from trusted adults, such as parents, teachers, or therapists, you can confidently navigate this exciting and important decision.