How to Help Students Form a Plan for Life After High School

High school graduation is one of the first major milestones young adults experience. As students get ready to graduate, they usually experience a myriad of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. Today’s educators — especially in the U.S. — encourage students to dream big and fulfill their potential, giving them more options and opportunities to develop their career than at any other time in history.

The possibilities can overwhelm some students. Fortunately, high school counselors, local nonprofits, and other people are willing to step up and provide a listening ear and gentle guidance. If you’d like to learn more about helping students, read on for our tips on how to help students form a plan for after high school.

How to Help Students Form a Plan for Life After High School

Why Students Need Help Preparing for Their Future

The question of, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” is frequently asked of all children. While many children can answer the question, that answer may change, and rarely involves the logistics of how they will grow into their dream career.

High school students may have a better, more realistic idea of what they want to do, but the path to that career is not always clear. While a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college has been the “default” option for decades, fewer high school seniors are opting to attend universities in the 2020s. More students are opting for community college, trade schools, military enrollment, certificate programs, or even joining the workforce immediately after graduation. Teachers, counselors, and educators can help students understand all these options and make the best choice for their circumstances.

Even after selecting a post-graduation “destination” in life, students may need help navigating standardized test registrations, accessible colleges and programs, certifications, financial aid, student loans, emotions affiliated with the transition, grants, scholarships, and more.

How Educators Can Set Students Up for Success

To earn students’ trust and better serve them as they make these life-shaping choices, remember that young people are developing more than a career plan. If you work closely with students, you’re helping students begin to understand their role in the world, equipping them with critical life skills. Here are some tips for setting students up for success as they transition out of high school and become young adults.

Practice teamwork:

Students who work with trained professionals and their support network will be able to better plan for the future. Whether it’s guidance counselors, teachers, coaches, or mentors, these professionals bring expertise and experience to the table that can help students develop crucial skills and knowledge. By working with trained professionals, students can receive personalized support and guidance that can help them identify their strengths, interests, and goals. While not all students have an idyllic home life, if a student has access to a stable support network at home, they should work in tandem with professionals to encourage and cultivate students’ desire to grow. With adequate guidance and support, students will be more likely to trust and work with supportive professionals toward their goals throughout their life.

Show them their options:

Students sometimes feel pressured to pursue certain careers, and may not fully consider all the possibilities within their grasp. Help students identify and understand all of their options for higher education and career paths by introducing students to various 4-year colleges and universities, trade schools, apprenticeships, and other educational opportunities that are available to them. By providing this information, educators can help students make informed decisions that align with their own unique interests, skills, and goals.

Use skill assessments:

In addition to gaining knowledge and skills for adulthood, high school is a time for students to learn about themselves. Assessments are a great tool students can utilize to learn about their own skills, aptitudes, and preferences outside of classroom curriculum and traditional grades. Some students may not yet be aware of their skills and preferences and how these might shape their career options. Assessments can help them understand these things within an objective, data-backed framework. Students will know that these insights come from within, rather than from peers, family, or educators. 

Start them early:

High school seniors are not the only ones who need to prepare for career opportunities. Most colleges and universities look at applicants’ transcripts from their entire high school career, so choices and preparations need to be made long before senior year. Students hoping to attend universities will need a stellar academic record by the time they apply, and some trade schools and apprenticeship programs can be completed while students earn their high school diploma — provided a student enrolls early enough. Start talking to your students as early as you can about their hopes and intentions to ensure they are prepared and equipped.

Foster helpful connections:

There are countless student organizations and workforce development programs in the U.S. that can benefit students transitioning into adulthood. These entities and programs can provide resources and professional support to students in need — if the students can find them. Educators and counselors should build a robust network of support systems for their students and make referrals whenever possible. Even if you can’t provide the support or solutions your students require, you can direct them to someone who can.

Case Management Software Personalizes These Services

Case management software enables guidance counselors to form holistic, well-informed plans alongside their students. Because students’ goals, options, and plans vary so widely, counselors and educators need case management tools in order to treat each student as an individual on a unique path to success.

Case management software can help students and their support networks create comprehensive plans that include career exploration, college applications, financial aid, and other important steps. The software can track progress and provide reminders for deadlines, ensuring that students stay on track. Case management software can also be helpful in making referrals and recommendations on behalf of students to programs, employers, and schools.

Case management software can also help identify students who may need additional support. The software can flag students who are at risk of falling behind or not meeting their goals, allowing counselors to intervene and provide additional support or resources.

How to Help Students Form a Plan for Life After High School

CaseWorthy: Helping Dedicated Teams Uplift Populations

CaseWorthy’s configurable case management software can be customized to your organization’s needs, so you don’t have to adapt your workflows to outdated software, or work with several separate tools to organize the data you need.

CaseWorthy’s referral system makes it easy to share information about a student’s needs or goals, while keeping information secure via user authentication and regulation-compliant channels. Our built-in eligibility engine can be configured to flag students who are eligible for resources and support programs.

CaseWorthy is designed with case management principles in mind. By identifying each student’s unique background, hurdles, skills, and ambitions, you can help students navigate their unique paths to success.

Want to learn more about how CaseWorthy can help you change lives?


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