This is the second of three posts of ideas that parents can use to support their high school students' post-graduation success. Check out the Rising Senior post.
The summer before the Junior year of high school can be one of freedom and new experiences. It can also be the perfect time to create some solid ideas about what life after high school could look like.
It starts with taking the time with your teen to dream about what life after high school could potentially look like. Taking some time over this summer break to have some light-hearted, open-ended discussions over what your teen wants to do in the 10-years or so after high school graduation can go a long way to building a less stressful junior year.
Start with calling out skills or passions your teen has that may transfer into a particular career. Ask your teen open-ended dream-based questions like: If you could do anything, no restrictions, what would you do with the first 10 years after high school? Keep this light-hearted and fun. Allow for any answer; most teens will “try on” hundreds of ideas before they settle on one.
Here's the breakdown for the summer before the junior year that I recommend... but, before you begin… These ideas work best when you involve your student in the decision-making process.
As a parent of a high school student your role is shifting from administrator to guide.
The older they are the more of a guide you should be, determining to set appropriate guard rails each year until they graduate. With that in mind, here are a few ideas:
Set up a series of vision casting conversations with your teen. Most teens are overwhelmed at the thought of developing a solid plan for their future after graduation, and many have no idea where to start. Give your teen a head-start by having open-ended conversations about what they want their lives to look like and potential careers they’d like to explore.
Develop a financial plan with your teen. When your teen graduates, what funds, if any, will you be able to apply to the pathway they develop? Will there be any responsibilities tied to that gift (i.e. do they have to keep a certain GPA if they are going to school). This will help your teen determine their best financial fit for their post-high school plans as they look at all the options available to them.
Have your teen register for any standardized tests they need to take. It’s best to register early so if their scores are not high enough they can retake the test(s) before applying to colleges. Standardized test scores are used to determine college acceptance eligibility as well as some state scholarships. If your teen is not going to pursue a four-year college right after high school these tests may not be necessary.
Encourage your teen to participate in extracurricular activities to build their resume. Volunteering, working, and serving as an intern help boost a teen’s career resume as well as give them valuable experience in the world outside of school.
While our teens need time to recover from all they have been through, building in some future-planning activities is a great way to keep stress and anxiety lower during the school year.
For more on navigating the post-high school process, please check our my other posts OR check out my new book College is Not Mandatory; A Parent's Guide to Navigating the Options Available to Our Kids After High School OR subscribe to my exclusive High School Parent email list to get notifications of new posts, products, tools and programs designed to help you help your teen build the best possible pathway to success!