What Will Your Teen Do After Graduation?

Updated 9/26/2022

If your teen is in their last year of homeschooling, it’s time to help them think about their adult future. Many teens don’t have a clue what to do and are overwhelmed, especially when friends and family start asking them. They need your support!

You can get the discussion started now, but some teens may want to wait until after graduation to decide if they want to register at the local community college. Or get a job. Or an apprenticeship. Or study on their own. Or all of the above! There are many options to consider and plenty of time to do so. (There’s no urgent deadline unless they want to attend a 4-year college next year. Deadlines can be as early as November, so it can take planning.)

Let’s talk about college for a moment. After your teen has investigated their options, they will either be off working, traveling, studying on their own, or going to college.

If your teen wants to go to college somewhere but doesn’t know where or what to major in, a local community college can be ideal. In addition to the tuition and living at home savings, it gives them a chance to explore many subjects and possibly find their passion. Students are able to enroll in a community college without a declared major, and that can be a good thing. This is not the time to pin them down on a lifelong career commitment! Be the one to encourage them to ignore the pressure from all who keep asking what their major is!

Having a new graduate take classes locally also gives you a chance to more easily help with the transition from homeschooling to college. Some teens will do better when there’s some initial parental mentoring. As a homeschooler, you served as your teen’s high school guidance counselor. It may be too soon to stop just because they have graduated. Everyone assumes you are done at graduation, but you’ll know when you are no longer needed for this kind of support.

Applying to a university is a different matter. I think an indication of success with university study is going to be whether the teen can do most of the research needed to apply, and if they can keep track of all the rules and regs. Be the supportive mentor, and help out by driving your teen to schools for a campus visit and proofing their application before they submit it, but let them be in charge of decisions involved in applying. If they are not committed enough for this preliminary challenge, they may not be up to attending the university yet. It’s their college education, not yours. Step aside and let them figure it out.

There is something else to consider when our teens are close to graduating. We can get so preoccupied about college or future jobs that it’s easy to forget about other important things our kids need to know. Like laundry, cooking, paying bills, car upkeep and whatever you want them to know before they leave home, including your secret recipe. If you haven’t done it yet, make life skills a part of this year’s curriculum!

Here’s more information about teens to help you during this transition to adulthood:

From Homeschooler to College Student: Successfully Transitioning Your Teen to College

It’s NOT Helicopter Parenting!

Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son attended a local community college after graduating from homeschooling. He transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior, and received a PhD in neuroscience from UCSF.  She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.