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Learn About Your Post-High School Pathways

Last updated February 14, 2024

The end of high school marks a pivotal point in your life and there are many educational and professional paths you can take from here! We know that deciding what comes after high school can feel intimidating, but with the right research, preparation, and support, you can make a choice that feels right for you and aligns with your goals. Here are some post-high school pathways that students can take and some resources to support along the way.

*Note: Before making a big decision about your post-high school plans, we strongly recommend talking to a parent, guardian, or trusted adult. They can support you in making a decision that’s best for you. 

Attend college

As you may already know, many students attend college after graduating from high school. There are so many great benefits of attending college, like learning new things, taking yourself out of your comfort zone, making lifelong friends, and earning higher pay throughout your career. The two most common types of college are:

  • Two-year colleges and universities (commonly known as community colleges). Students attending community college typically receive an associate degree in around two years. From there, they can transfer to a four-year college to receive their bachelor’s degree, or enter the workforce. Students typically apply to community college later in their senior year– usually sometime in the spring.
  • Four-year colleges and universities. Students typically receive a bachelor’s degree in around four years before entering the workforce. However, even though these are commonly called “four-year colleges,” students can finish their degrees in shorter or longer time spans. Students typically apply to four-year colleges early in their senior year, in the fall. However, some schools may have rolling admission, meaning students can apply year-round as long as spots are still available

Decided that attending college is right for you? We have tons of free resources and support along every step of the college application process– from researching schools and beginning your applications to registering for classes and completing financial aid forms

Earn and learn

Become an apprentice

An apprenticeship is a career pathway that allows someone to gain on-the-job training, paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally-recognized credential within their industry. Apprenticeship programs can open doors to hundreds of occupations, often in fast-growing and emerging industries. Some common occupations with apprenticeships include:

  • Electricians
  • Mechanics
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Medical Assistants
  • IT Professionals
  • Teachers

….and many more!

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Serve through AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a national service program that hires and places workers across the country to address critical community needs, such as increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, and preparing for natural disasters. There are many benefits to serving through AmeriCorps, such as:

  • Receiving a living allowance or stipend
  • Receiving an education award to pay for college, trade school expenses, or to repay student loans
  • Professional development and training
  • Health benefit options
  • On-the-job training and experience in the social impact industry
  • Access to AmeriCorps’ alumni network

…and more!

Enroll in a trade school

Attending a trade school is a great way to learn hands-on skills and get hired into stable, in-demand careers! Trade programs are typically offered through community colleges and technical and vocational schools. Students who study at trade schools typically receive a certificate of completion in their profession/area of study, but not an associate or bachelor's degree. Trade school is a great option for students who know what they want to pursue professionally after high school. Finishing a trade program is often a great on-ramp to an apprenticeship, as well!

Find a job

There are many reasons a student may choose to enter the workforce immediately after graduating high school, like supporting their family, taking time to weigh their educational options, and saving money. Whatever your reason, we are here to support you as you search for, apply to, and secure a great job! From creating a great resume and cover letter to preparing for interviews, we have resources to make your job search a success. 

The best choice you can make is the one that’s best for you. No matter the path you choose, we’re here to support you! Have any questions? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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Four Strategies To Make Post-High School Decisions Less Intimidating

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