26 Practical Tips for High School Graduates
How do your plans look for the summer, the rest of the year, or the next five years? Based on your specific interests and goals, you might be getting ready for college, starting an apprenticeship, joining the armed forces, or going on vacation. The options are endless!
As you jump into adulthood, we want you to know that you have everything within you to create a happy, fulfilling, meaningful life. And before you set off in pursuit of your dreams we’d like you to consider a few of these practical tips for high school graduates. They might provide you with some good reminders or inspiration for your future after high school.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Take calculated risks. Overcoming your fears and trying new things, even if it means making mistakes, is important for your personal growth.
- Don’t act impulsively. Always consider the consequences of your actions.
- Go out of your way to visit new places, meet people, and test out various hobbies. You never know when you’ll stumble across something you really love.
- Look forward to the future, but enjoy the present.
- Join an online or local club, activity, group, or team.
- Build new friendships, but still make time to stay in touch with old friends.
- Take lots of pictures and start keeping a diary. It helps preserve your memories, reflect, and gain perspective. Without reflection, it’s too easy to forget the little successes in life and focus on failures instead. Be careful, though, about what you post on social networks. Employers will often search for information about job candidates online, so think about how you want to present yourself before you post anything online.
Take the Next Step into Adulthood
- Get in the habit of being early for class, work, or appointments. Never underestimate the importance of being punctual.
- Use the scheduling skills and organization skills you developed in virtual school to plan your week, stay on task, and set goals and deadlines for yourself. Use a printed calendar or calendar app to create reminders.
- Create a budget and stick to it using a budgeting tool such as Mint.com.
- Learn more about insurance, investing, taxes, and other important financial planning tools.
- Learn how to take care of a household, whether that means choosing an apartment with affordable rent or learning how to use the tools in a toolbox.
- Make healthy choices. Get exercise and eat well. Find a workout buddy to hold you accountable.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. There’s a lot to learn when you become more independent.
Prepare for the Professional World
- Outline a personal development plan to record your goals. If you’re not sure what to do next, think about where you want to be in five years. Visualizing your ideal work situation can help you figure out a plan to get there.
- Don’t make education or career choices based on what your friends are doing. Find your own unique path.
- Keep an open mind as you consider your options for the future. Don’t be afraid to change your job or your college major. Learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like.
- Make the most of your time by looking for part-time jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities. Whether you’re looking for the right professional path or getting ready to start college, every role you explore is a learning experience.
- Update your wardrobe to include a suit or other type of professional clothing.
- Keep all of your best work from high school and start a new file for postgraduate accomplishments. Next, start finding ways to add to the file!
- Choose an email address you can share with professional contacts. “FirstName.LastName@gmail.com,” for example, is a much better choice than “CuteePie007@gmail.com.”
- Update your résumé and ask a parent, career counselor, or other advisor to look over it.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to display your credentials online and expand your professional network.
- Never pass up an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone new. You never know when you’ll meet a new friend or future colleague who can help you find other connections.
- Begin building relationships with professors, advisors, bosses, co-workers, et al. They can enrich your life plus write letters of recommendation for you in the future.
- Find a mentor, which is a type of advisor similar to a school counselor. A mentor is someone you can go to for support and advice regarding your personal or professional development.
Please comment below if you have any other tips you would share to help high school graduates pursue a successful future!