Tips and Programs to Help High Schoolers Prepare for College or Career | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Tips and Programs to Help High Schoolers Prepare for College or Career

As summer gets underway, many students across the Dallas metropolitan area are preparing to enter their senior year of high school. During this exciting time in teenagers’ lives, there are so many decisions to make regarding the future—and this may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be if they and their families take the right steps to prepare them for life post-high school.

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we believe education opens doors, broadens horizons and sets kids up for success. One of the building blocks of opportunity, education is just as important as health and income to every person in our community. But education takes place both inside and outside of the classroom, and as teenagers will discover, there are opportunities all around them to learn and grow as a person.

Regardless of whether they are college-bound or beginning a lifelong career, there are a number of tips that will help prepare students for life post-high school:

Treat high school like it’s your job. Truly committing to school will pay off enormously after graduation. Keep up with your assignments, record accomplishments and recognitions, and explore interesting opportunities with classes you might not normally take. The foundation of your résumé will be based on how you spend your time in high school—so join high school clubs, play a sport, run for student council. Activities like these indicate drive and dedication to college admissions personnel or hiring managers, and they show how you approach any task, whether it’s a math exam or an extracurricular activity. Use high school as a building block for the future you want once you’ve graduated.

Apply for internships, job shadowing opportunities and any other on-the-job experience that you find.Programs that allow you to engage with the career you’re considering provide you with invaluable insight into the education you need to pursue, as well as any other professional credentials you might need to obtain. These opportunities also look great on your résumé and demonstrate your determination and can-do attitude.

Develop organization and time-management skills. There are a number of apps and tools—like myHomework—available to help you learn these skills, which will play an important role throughout your life.

Talk to people. Your parents, their friends, your neighbors and other adults that you know can provide you with resources or information about your future after high school. The more you connect with others, the better chance you have of building vital professional connections that may yield years of opportunities, education, experience and more.

Step outside of your comfort zone to experience new things. This includes meeting new peers or exploring an entirely new field of study. You’re at an age when it’s crucial to stay curious and consider different ways to expand your horizons. These experiences could yield new self-discoveries, such as finding a new passion or field of interest.

Create a personal development plan to track goals and accomplishments. Regularly revisit this plan to see if you’re on track or if you need to adjust.

Ask for help. This is a lesson most adults still struggle with, and it’s a vital skill to develop now. Whether it’s guidance on a college term paper or input about a career choice, don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one expects you to know everything.


Know your resources.

For those headed to college, securing financing is a crucial step. Even if students don’t think they’ll qualify, they should still apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. With this year’s submission deadline of June 30 quickly approaching, now is the time to complete the application and to learn more about available financing options.

Another outstanding career and college readiness resource is Dallas County Promise, a coalition of school districts, colleges, universities, employers and communities working together to provide local high schoolers with college tuition assistance, success coaching and advising. Via the program, students receive the necessary support and mentoring to earn either a career certification or an associate or bachelor’s degree. The application process begins in the fall, with high school seniors taking the Dallas County Promise Pledge. After that, they then complete a series of steps that include submitting an application to a Promise partner college or university, completing the FAFSA and registering for classes.


Support Young Students in North Texas

While students and their families can be proactive to get the experience, financial aid and support needed for their post-high school graduation plans, it’s up to the community to create lasting change for young people. And that means creating opportunities to educate, inspire and expose students to experiences, resources and information that make it easier to attend college or build a lucrative, fulfilling career.

With United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, supporters like you can help high school graduates achieve their dreams and build a life of long-term financial security. Donate now to support the programs we offer to students, families and educators.

This article was published on: Jun 18, 2021