Helping Teenagers Find Alternatives to College
It can be difficult to motivate a teenager who has no desire to get a job and no idea what to do after graduating from high school. Many kids are not ready to make a commitment to further schooling, and have no clue about what job or career they'd like to explore.
The first step is to discuss interests, talents, and what is important to your child. Exploring what the teenager is interested in and enjoys doing will lead to a discussion of jobs or careers that are a good fit for those interests. Are there specific classes she's excelled in? Are there hobbies that he's very involved in? For example, if your teen enjoys cooking or repairing electronic equipment, then he should explore jobs related to those interests. Apprenticeships and internships, paid or unpaid, are a great way to learn more about specific jobs and career fields. A guidance office is a beneficial resource for kids who are interested in non-college courses of action. The guidance office can often recommend and administer appropriate career inventory tests. Professional vocational and career counselors are another great resource, since they work one-on-one with young adults. Many guidance counselors can recommend an appropriate career adviser.
But What if I Don't Want to Go to College? by Harlow Unger details hundreds of career opportunities obtained through vocational education or other alternative, non-college training. There is no need for your child to feel inadequate for not going to college right after high school. However, he does need to realize that graduating from high school and lounging around the house indefinitely is not an option. Rather than focusing on what your child's not going to be doing after high school (especially since this is the time when kids are applying for college), it's more beneficial to respect his desires and direct his energies toward options that he can try after graduation. Many teens don't consider college because they are tired of going to school or because they think they will not succeed in college. It is very beneficial for these young people to discuss the real reasons why they are confused and uncertain about life after high school.
Give teenagers something to look forward to, and get excited about, after graduation.
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