What Will Your Teen Do After Graduation?

If your teen is finishing up his/her last year of homeschooling, it’s time to help him think about his 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 your teen wants to attend a 4-year college next year. Deadlines can be as early as November, so it can take planning.)

Let’s talk college for a moment.  After your teen has investigated his options, he’ll either be off working, traveling, studying on his 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 obvious tuition savings, it gives your teen a chance to explore many subjects and possibly find his passion (granted, not the only way, but it is one). 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 your 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 he has 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 the research to find what is needed to apply and if he can keep track of all the rules and regs.  Sure, help out by driving your teen to schools for a campus visit and proofing his application before he sends it off, but let him figure out the rest of it himself. If he’s not committed enough for this preliminary challenge, he may not be up to attending the university yet.  It’s his/her college education, not yours. Step aside and let him figure it out.

By the way, we can get so preoccupied about college or future jobs that it’s easy to be in denial about other important things our kids need to know. Like laundry, cooking, paying bills, car upkeep and whatever you want your child to know before he/she leaves 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!

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