APU Online Learning Original

Life after High School: Preparing Children for College

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice

Preparing their children for life after high school should be essential to many parents. By their junior and senior years of high school, most students begin to map out their next steps as they progress to adulthood. For instance, many soon-to-be high school graduates start applying for colleges, talking to military recruiters or exploring opportunities in various industry fields.

As parents, we must arm our children with as much information as possible to help them to be fully prepared for what to expect in life after high school. For those children who want to attend college, parents should help their children properly understand the demands of higher education.

For example, graduates who enter college immediately after high school may be surprised to find that there is a considerable difference in academic rigor between high school and college. For instance, being a college student requires setting substantial time aside for studying before, between or after classes.

In addition, new college students should be mentally prepared for the responsibilities associated with living on or off campus. For the student, there are likely to be additional responsibilities, including paying utilities and other bills, signing rental leases, washing their own laundry, and performing other daily tasks that adults do.

Furthermore, college students should be made aware that organizational and problem-solving skills are necessary to maintain good grade point averages (GPAs) and stay in college. They should also know how to use available resources – such as campus libraries, tutors, and student organizations – that promote student learning and academic success.

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Teaching Financial Literacy to Prepare Students for Life after High School

An important concept that has long been overlooked is helping high school graduates understand personal debt and money management. In March 2022, Florida became the largest state to require personal finance education in its high schools, according to CNBC.

These classes are intended to increase students’ financial literacy in whatever path they take after high school. Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera, one of the main sponsors of the bill, says that “whether our students choose to go to one of our great colleges or universities, do a trade or apprenticeship program, a career in the arts or the military, every student deserves to be equipped with the education and knowledge to succeed financially in our society.”

Financial literacy is especially crucial knowledge for college students because this type of education can assist them when they deal with student loans. It can also help them to avoid unnecessary debt, budget their money properly, and save for unexpected events or large future expenses, such as a car.

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Goal Setting Is Another Useful Skill for Students

Parents can also help their children to potentially experience greater success as adults by emphasizing goal setting. For example, parents can work with their high schooler to set up small milestone goals that lead to achieving larger goals.

For example, a small milestone goal could be enrolling in a local college class during the student’s junior or senior year of high school. That goal would help the student to earn college credit while completing high school and lead to the larger goal of completing a college degree in a shorter amount of time. This type of goal setting can also be applied to career and financial goals.

Graduating high school and entering adulthood is a major step in life after high school. To help their high school graduates succeed in their future lives, parents should offer as much guidance and support as possible.

Jarrod Sadulski

Dr. Sadulski is an Associate Professor within our School of Security and Global Studies. He has over two decades in the field of criminal justice. His expertise includes training on countering human trafficking, maritime security, effective stress management in policing and narcotics trafficking trends in Latin America. Jarrod frequently conducts in-country research and consultant work in Central and South America on human trafficking and current trends in narcotics trafficking. He also has a background in business development. Jarrod can be reached through his website at www.Sadulski.com for more information.

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