How to decide what to do after high school?

Yes, you can make this world a better place to live. All you have to do is to help a young child next to you in deciding what to do after high school.

Graduating high school is an exciting time, but it can also be a daunting task. Confusion prevails in most families as most students do not finalise their plans for immediate future. With the myriad of opportunities, its becoming more and more difficult for young children to decide on their higher education. Many educational institutions have found number of ways to add more courses just to increase their number of intake, that in turn generates more revenue. To make things worse we’ve these admission marketing and advertisements that misleads us with tall claims.

Life was so easy until now – write exams, pass this grade, enjoy summer vacation, come back to next grade and the cycle continues. Nothing much to worry about what’s next. When summer vacation is regarded only with mixture of fun and excitement without much of active involvement in interesting pursuits, things obviously becomes muddle and unclear on what to do further upon graduating high school.

In reality, vast majority of students have no idea on what they really want to do when they grow up. Even the ones who claim to know, don’t know. Anyways that shouldn’t be a problem. At the age of 15 or 16 with very limited exposure to the world outside, it’s perfectly fine if there is no clarity about future. No need to panic. However, lack of interest to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives even at high school level is alarming.

Few important questions – what should a parent do if their child is uncertain about the future? Is there a standard procedure, guideline with which we can help the children who fall into uncertain category?

No, there are no standard methods or manuals on how to properly help a child in these times of ambiguity. Every one is different in-terms of knowledge, interest, ability to work, family situations, economic circumstances and many more. Surely “one size fits all” solution will be a disaster.

Here are some tips that you could share with the parents and children who are looking for some help in deciding higher education possibilities.  

  • First and foremost – beware of admission agents disguised in the name of education consultants.
  • Don’t let others, even parents to impose their hopes, desires and expertise on children.
  • Never make distance an issue for selecting a course or an institution, be willing to move to a new city for better education.
  • Do a through check before believing all those admission marketing claims.
  • Understand innate abilities of the student to select a course based on that.
  • Parents and children should openly discuss to know each other’s expectations and aspirations to come to common terms.
  • Invest lot of personal time and effort in searching, studying, analysing and assessing various higher education possibilities.

Choosing a right course and right college will highly increase the possibility of success after graduation. However, it’s not easy as said. It really needs lots of research, time and efforts. Thought it’s time consuming, tiring, and exhausting, undergoing that tedious process is worthwhile once in a life time.

– Sivakumar Palaniappan

Sivakumar Palaniappan is a Professional Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Life and Career Coach. Siva is India’s No.1 Career Coach who conducts 1st of it’s kind, a highly on demand 3 days intensive workshop Career Mastery Intensive. He is the author of a best selling book “Become an Engineer, Not Just an Engineering Graduate”. Write to him at

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