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Preparing for Life After High School

Millions of students are graduating from high school this graduation and will be opening a new chapter in their lives. Along with opening the new chapter, many students will have some reflective thoughts. There will be some who will conclude that high school was a training ground for things to come. While others will finally appreciate the value of writing all those English term papers. Because of the many options after high school, students will really be at an advantage. Some economists will say now that things are finally looking up and as a result a good number of high school graduates will choose to get jobs. The caution for students is to ensure that the jobs have some longevity and some job promotion attached to them. I do not know how prudent it is to take a job without at least knowing those facts. There are some high school graduates who started working while in high school and therefore may be able to become full-time employees at their company.

If you are job hunting as a high school graduate, there are some prerequisites that you must have in order. First and foremost, you must have a current and well-written resume. Because companies post their jobs online, you must apply online with your resume. If it is not concise and factual, you will be passed over. If you are a high school graduate and are having trouble with your resume, I would recommend going back to your guidance counselor. There are also a number of agencies that will help you with resume preparation. Second, is that, if you are fortunate enough to be called for an interview, you must look the part. Jeans and tennis shoes are not a part of the interview wardrobe. Wearing baseball caps and looking disheveled will not get you the job that you want. In fact it will not get you any job. To paraphrase the time-honored expression, “you only have one chance to make a first impression” rings true here. While there are some very trendy clothes out there, you will always be in vogue when you wear a shirt and tie and for women a dress or a pants suit. When you do this you are dressing for success.

Since you now look the part, you must now speak the part. Even with the Internet, most employers will call you if they are interested in you. This will be your initial opportunity to impress your prospective boss. You must sound interested and upbeat. You should not use phrases such as “you know,” “whatever,” and “I’m just saying.” You will simply not go far using those words in an interview setting. Once in the interview you must have good eye contact, be an attentive listener, and have good posture. If you have the aforementioned, you stand a good chance of landing the job. When asked if you have any questions, my advice is that you ask questions because it shows that you are interested in the company. Conduct your research before you get to the interview so your questions have substance. When asked about your availability let them know that you are ready to start immediately. Remember proper preparation will give you good results.

High school graduates are applying to college in record numbers. Two-year and four-year colleges are being targeted and must be ready for the campus visits and subsequent orientations. Recently community colleges have garnered their fair share of high school graduates. Reasons such as class flexibility and online learning have been very attractive to students. Certainly the cost is another factor as many high school graduates are living at home with their parents. Two-year colleges offer such a wide variety of courses, which appeals to this new generation of students. Traditional four-year colleges also are vying for high school graduates and offering summer programs for would-be students. Whatever students decide after high school, their choices, which include military enlistment, are all exciting. This is an important time in their life so as love providers we must help them along the way. It is safe to say that high school graduates will have many options.

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. is vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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