When high school students reach their junior year, they are expected to start planning their future and looking at colleges. Throughout their junior year, high school students will be told time and time again that to be successful in life they must immediately go to college, choose a sound major and head off in to the real world. College is a great stepping stone to finding the perfect career, the only problem is that most sixteen year old kids don’t know themselves yet, and much less what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
Many students get to college with a major in mind and they start taking the classes for their major only to realize in a year or two that the path they have chosen isn’t what they want to do. Now the student has to go through the process of changing their major and starting over. Some students are lucky and the classes they have taken so far are mainly general education requirements and their decision to change their major hasn’t put them back at all, but others end up a year or more behind and that is definitely not a good situation because of the costliness of going to a University.
Instead of jumping straight in to college, it might not be a bad idea to do something else for a year. Some high school graduates decide to travel and there are many benefits to that. When traveling to different countries students may learn many different things about their own country, a new culture, and most importantly about themselves. In traveling they may find that they have a certain grasp of a new language and can continue on studying that language when they enter college and even study international relations or business. Due to technology the world is getting smaller and international relations are becoming more and more important so after college the students who traveled might find that their knowledge of a different country makes them an even more attractive candidate for employers which will make the dreaded after college job hunt a little easier. The discoveries students make about their own personalities while traveling can also help them to know more of what they like and don’t like which will give them a better idea of what to study in college.
Along with traveling after high school there is also the option of working for a year. Many companies will hire paid intern type positions that are usually focused on administrative assistant work. While administrative work might not be the most glamorous of jobs, being in an office of any kind and learning about the different careers offered in companies may help a student know what type of job they want to pursue. When working in an office a student will interact with different people who have been in the working world for varying amounts of time, and people that are happy or unhappy with their jobs are usually happy to give advice or offer suggestions. Bosses may also observe the strengths that a student has and recommend a certain path and let the student know that if they achieve their degree they will have a good chance of being reemployed in the company with a job that is higher on the pay scale than administrative assistant and more geared to what that student wants to do. The networking that can be done in a year can make a world of a difference in the amount and quality of career options available after college.
Another possibility is taking a few general education requirements at a community college while working. This is beneficial because almost all general education credits are transferable and community colleges have a lot of options for night classes that would fit with a work schedule, and on top of all that, community college prices are much more affordable. This way a year or two of expensive tuition won’t be “wasted” and a student can get a chance to get their feet wet and really think about what they want to do with their college years. Having a good plan for the time you spend in college will allow you to get the most out of your money and time you will spend in a University.
It is important to look at all the options available before signing your first tuition check. Traveling or working might be the best way to prepare for college and help you find what you truly want to do. It’s never good to realize that you’re at a music school majoring in concert piano when you really want to be a microbiology major and that major isn’t offered. Switching your major is one thing if you can stay in the same university, but transferring from one University to another isn’t always the easiest process and it can even stop you from pursuing your dreams. It is always good to consider the options available because many times students aren’t ready for the demands of college right after high school and this can have a negative effect on how well they do in college. Some students are ready to head off to college and can do a great job right from the start, but other students need time to learn about themselves and figure out what they want to do before they enter a University.