Helping High Schoolers With an Action Plan for the Future

Posted on September 10 2013

Is your online high school student wondering what next steps he would take after graduating from high school? Is he still unsure about what he wants to do, whether he wants to continue on to college and what course he would take?

As early as now, it is important to help your child map out his future. It helps motivate him as he completes his online high school courses. Having a plan also helps him know what elective courses to choose. Goal-setting is also an important life-long habit. Even as you train your child to set daily goals with his lessons, you should also help him develop a long-term action plan. Preparing early may also give your future high school graduate with a chance to get a scholarship to his selected college.

Here are some tips to help you and your child have an action plan for the future:

  1. Have an honest assessment of his skills and interests. There are a number of online testing tools that provide indicators of his personality and what lines of work are a great fit with that personality. Some tests are also geared towards gauging his aptitudes and natural skills. If your child is focused on a particular career, this assessment will also indicate what other skills he has to build to prepare himself for his chosen career.
  2. List down at least three potential careers. Guide your child to make a self-assessment and inventory of his strengths and areas to improve on, his academic skills as well as his experiences. Help your child select at least three to five careers that have caught his interest. Please note that this is not a cut-and-dried list. If he changes his mind midway in the process, he can always go back to this step. The ideal career is one that matches his skills and aptitude.
  3. Explore his chosen careers. Do a more in-depth research of the careers in the list. Ask: “Does it require a college degree or training certificate? If so, what specific courses or training should he get? Look at the available information about trends covering that career – is there a growing demand? Research on the salary and job descriptions. If you know of someone who is in that industry, ask if your child can shadow that person to get a feel of what a normal workday looks like.
  4. Set goals towards those careers. Now that your child has an idea of what career he wants to pursue, he should set his goals with regards to the high school subjects he is taking, the grades he wants to achieve, the level of his involvement in community and training-related activities, as well as goals regarding standardized test scores.
  5. Visit schools. This is one of the initial steps in fulfilling the educational requirements of a potential career. Ask: “What courses are available in this college or trade school that will give him the necessary training for his chosen career?” Make these trips one of your family bonding sessions, as you drive to the chosen college and explore the campus.

    When choosing schools, you should ask the following questions:

    • What subjects fall under a particular course?
    • Are there scholarships or financial assistance programs available?
    • How are job placement services?
    • What are the requirements for getting into that college? Note that as an online high school student, it is important for you to acquaint yourself with the entrance requirements well in advance so you can get the necessary tests (i.e. SATs) or earn the required number of units for high school.
  6. Encourage him to grab “training” opportunities. These can come with formal on-the-job training or volunteer jobs in the community, with experiences directly related to the career or with general skills. If there are no OJT’s available, approach civic and non-profit organizations that may welcome volunteers. These opportunities may provide him with an up close and personal look at a career he is eyeing and seeing if that will be a perfect fit for him. These may also build up his social skills as he interacts with other people.