Today many high school students in their freshman, sophomore and junior years are presented with all kinds of college information. For starters, they practice SATs and their parents and guidance counselors begin to plan the seeds of college plans.
For some students the mere idea of college is overwhelming, especially if the student has no idea what they want to do as an adult. They may even consider taking year off after their high school graduation in order to figure it all out; they also may receive a lot of pressure for considering this idea.
Some parents may scoff at the idea and give their child a hard time, and in some cases this is a good idea. Consequently in other situations, this can be a bad one. It really depends on the graduate.
After high school, life as an adult begins. Post graduation is a time that children grow into their own and have to begin making decisions for themselves as to where they want the direction of their life to go.
A good number of students do indeed choose to go straight to college right after high school, but what about the percentage who feels they aren't ready? Should they take a year off after high school first? While college is probably the ideal choice for most students, some may simply not be ready. Students today have many choices when they graduate high school, and college is only one of those options.
For some students, a year off may not be a bad idea, and this is really an individual decision. The most important question parents should be asking about post high school plans is not which college to choose; the better question is "what's your plan"?
College is not for everyone, and some students who jump right into more academics after being coerced into college before they are ready, end up unsuccessful. This can permanently taint their perception of college and hurt them in the long run. College is best experienced when a student is ready to go, not when they are forced by family or societal pressures; the latter has possibility in setting them up to fail even when intentions are good.
Most parents understand the value of higher education, but the high school graduate may not be ready for this yet. If this is the case, the most important thing a parent should focus on is that the student has an alternative plan. Rather than focus on which academic journey to pursue, parents should focus on all options and see which one best matches their child.
The goal is that the graduate isn't planning on spending the year lounging around, but working towards something. There is nothing wrong with not going away to college immediately as long as the time off isn't spend idly.
Here are a few alternative options a student can take advantage of for a year after high school:
*Trade and Vocational Programs
If a student is interested in a specific trade or industry, a career program that teaches vocational skills may be a good option. This will relieve the academic pressures and still be time used productively with valuable skills learned in the process.
There is a lot to be said for hands-on experience and a trade/vocational program can offer this important kind of learning that can't always be attained in a classroom.
*Get a Job
For some high school graduates a year of work may be a good option in either a paid or volunteer position. There is a lot to be said for learning how to be responsible and holding down a full time job. Depending on the kind of work chosen, this also may look good on a college application when the time comes to apply.
Learning can extend beyond the classroom, and one fantastic kind of education is to travel. High school graduates who have the financial means and are not really ready to take on a degree program may find it beneficial to continue their education through travel.
What better way to gain firsthand knowledge of the world that can't be gotten from a textbook? If the travel takes place abroad, the student sees history and culture in person, things those who go straight to college may never see. There is a lot to be said about the value of travel.
While a college education is without a doubt a valuable road to travel, for some high school graduates, this may not be a good option right away. The most important thing is to have a plan, even if it deviates beyond the traditional path many take in their post high school years. There are all kinds of ways to learn and for some, the maturity that can be gained in the year following senior year can really help shape a student for big success.