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Are You Graduation Ready? Key Questions Every High School Senior Should Be Able to Answer

As March draws to a close, high school seniors everywhere are approaching the end of their secondary journeys. It's important for them to be prepared for the next chapter of their lives, as graduation is an exciting milestone, but it also marks the beginning of new responsibilities and opportunities. To help seniors transition successfully, they should ask themselves and be able to answer the following key questions:

What is the next move?

Have you considered your post-graduation plans? It's important to have a plan in place, regardless of whether you plan to go to college, get a job, pursue a trade certification, or take a gap year. To choose the best action plan, consider your interests, objectives, and aspirations when exploring your options.

If you already have a plan, let's double-check the steps of that plan.

If you plan to attend college, you should know where you're going or be close to making your decision. Have you completed your financial aid forms? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other forms determine your eligibility for scholarships, grants, and loans. Completing these forms is essential to securing financial assistance to cover the cost of your education. Is your FAFSA still pending? Do you know how much tuition will cost at your school of choice? Have you educated yourself on the options if you plan to take out loans? You can learn more about the types of loans and options on our website here.

You can also download our complimentary college organizer here.

Have you made arrangements for your on-campus stay? If so, have you contacted the housing department, requested a roommate, and paid the dorm deposit to secure your spot? Remember that the good dorms are usually assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, have you marked all the important orientation dates on your calendar? If not, please pull up your school's calendar and save the orientation dates.

If you still need to make plans, you can use some of these questions to help get you started.

College Bound The Book

You can also purchase a copy of College Bound: A Black Girl's Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Starting College here.

PS: Developing a skill or acquiring a trade is crucial for self-sufficiency, even if college is not part of your plans. You can't just do nothing. Consider getting a trade.

What are your summer plans?

Summer is a great time to consider getting a job to save money, gain professional experience working with others, develop communication skills, and build your resume.

Speaking of resumes...

Do you have a resume or work experience?

Whether you're entering the workforce or applying for internships, having a polished resume and, often, a cover letter is crucial. If you need a resume, Google resume templates for high school graduates or download a complimentary template here.

Even if you don't have much experience, you can add your most recent experiences, skills, and accomplishments, including those from school or group projects. Additionally, consider getting a teacher or a professional to write a strong recommendation letter for you. For your cover letter, make sure to tailor it to highlight your qualifications and explain why you're a good fit for the position. A strong cover letter and resume can help you get interviews by leaving a good impression on potential employers, and it will help you stand out from other teens.

Are you having a graduation party?

Consider requesting funds instead of gifts if you're having a graduation party. Or, if you accept gifts, request items like laptops, gift cards, or other things to help you prepare for college, trade school, or the workforce.

Are you ready to leave the nest?

Suppose you are planning to live on your own after graduation. In that case, it is important to consider whether you are ready to handle the responsibilities of independent living. This includes finding suitable housing, managing finances, and balancing work or school alongside other obligations. Consider what you need to succeed in your new environment and plan accordingly. In the College Bound book, you can find helpful guidance on budget breakdowns and sample living expenses. Even if you are lucky enough to stay at home, it is important to start preparing for a future of independence.

Have you explored opportunities for personal and professional development?

As you complete high school, you will no longer have a regular morning routine or attend classes, at least not for a few months (if you're attending college). Therefore, it is important to plan how to develop new routines, continue growing your skills, pursue your interests, and contribute positively to society. You want to avoid lying around, being lazy, or developing poor habits.

Many options are available beyond the classroom, such as volunteering, reading, working out, or participating in extracurricular activities. You are responsible for taking advantage of these opportunities and keeping yourself sharp rather than relying on your parents.

As the academic year comes to a close, it is essential to assess your readiness for the next phase of your life. The work will not magically be done for you. You have to do it! By asking yourself some critical questions and taking proactive measures to address any areas of concern, you can better prepare yourself for success and confidently embark on your post-graduation journey.

You've got this!

-Coach Rahk


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