Not all high school graduates pursue higher education. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 66.2% of American high school graduates were enrolled in a college or university. High school students who do not plan to attend college can take advantage of resources while they are still enrolled in school, such as speaking to a guidance counselor, crafting their resume and participating in work-preparedness programs. After they leave high school, graduates can seek preparation for the real world from local community resources, such as the local library.
Speaking to a Guidance Counselor
Guidance counselors are specially trained to help high school students prepare for the rest of their lives. If a high school student does not plan to attend college, a guidance counselor can recommend personality inventories, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to determine which career path might be a good fit for the student. Sometimes, guidance counselors can help students find volunteer or part-time job placements in the community, which can be an important first step toward finding full-time work.
Crafting a Resume
Few documents are as important as a resume. A well-written resume can set a job applicant apart from the rest and can make a difference in the overall outcome of a job search. Fortunately, high school students have access to teachers -- particularly English teachers -- who can assist them in crafting their resume. High school students who do not have home computer access can also take advantage of computer labs at school so they can type their resume. Some high schools have business education teachers or future business leader organizations that can also provide resume-writing assistance.
Participating in Work-Preparedness Programs
Many high schools have programs designed particularly for students who do not plan to attend a college or university. Some of these programs actually allow students to learn a trade, such as construction or auto repair, while they are still enrolled in high school. Some high schools allow students to engage in apprenticeships or internships in which they can earn credit hours by participating in programs that provide them with real-world experience. Finally, high schools may host job fairs that allow businesses to recruit high school students for employment.
Taking Advantage of Community Resources
After students leave high school, local communities have resources to help them succeed in the real world. Some local libraries offer career counseling, resume-writing workshops, computer courses and other skill-building services. Some communities and organizations host job fairs or the opportunity for students to have mock interviews. Even if a student does not intend to attend college, some technical schools and community colleges offer diploma programs that allow students to learn a trade in a relatively short time.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2012 High School Graduates
- The Princeton Review: Career: Guidance Counselor
- The Houston Chronicle: What Is the Importance of Resume Writing?
- Army Educational Outreach Program: The High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP), and the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP)
Evie Sellers is an educator based in Georgia. She has taught in public high schools, colleges and universities. Sellers holds a Ph.D., with primary research interests including teacher training issues, social justice and health issues.