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Well Adjusted: Congratulations, Class of 2024!

By Dr. Melanie Brown

Well Adjusted: Congratulations, Class of 2024!

Graduating from high school is a monumental milestone. For the senior high graduates of 2024, including our son Derek, the future holds limitless possibilities; whether you’re headed to college, an apprenticeship, or your first full-time job, the world is your oyster! After being told what you HAD to do for the last thirteen years, you can now decide what you WANT to do. Once you have a vision, finding the right resources and taking the next steps is in your hands. As a senior, I started thinking about my next steps about a month before I graduated. My friends and classmates were telling me about their plans for the next year, and I realized I was a little late to the table! Regardless, I was able to enroll and attend college that fall, so if you have not applied for college next term and you still want to start, you still have time!
Charting Your Course: College, Apprenticeships, and First Jobs
1. College
Preparation
For those pursuing higher education, the path ahead is filled with academic and personal growth. Start by finalizing your college applications and meeting all deadlines. To streamline the process, use platforms like “Common App” and the “Coalition Application.”
Resources for
Scholarships:
Fastweb and Scholarships.com offer extensive databases of scholarships tailored to various criteria. CollegeBoard.org’s Big Future scholarship search can help you find scholarships from colleges and private organizations.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is crucial for accessing federal financial aid.
2. Apprenticeship Programs
Apprenticeships offer a unique blend of hands-on experience and academic learning, allowing you to earn while you learn. Due to industry shortages, more opportunities like this are available now than ever and with higher pay. Research industries you’re passionate about and seek apprenticeship programs aligning with your career goals.
Resources for Apprenticeships:
Apprenticeship.gov provides a comprehensive list of available apprenticeships across various fields.
Local trade unions often offer apprenticeship opportunities and can be a great starting point.
CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers resources to help find apprenticeships and training programs.
3. Entering the Workforce
If you’re ready to enter the workforce, you must polish your resume and develop your interview skills. Networking can open doors to opportunities that may not be advertised.
Resources for
Job Seekers:
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for job searching and networking. Create a strong profile that highlights your skills and experiences.
Indeed and Glassdoor list thousands of job openings across various industries.
Local job fairs and community centers often have listings and resources to help you find your first job.
Making the Most of Your Summer
This summer is your launchpad. Use this time to gain experience through internships, jobs, or volunteering. Each experience builds your resume and enhances your skill set.
Staying Motivated and Inspired
Remember, the journey ahead is as much about self-discovery as achieving your career goals. Stay motivated by setting short-term and long-term goals and seek guidance from mentors, teachers, and counselors. Your community, including your school and your families, believes in your potential. They’ve equipped you with the tools and support needed to succeed. Now, it’s your turn to use these resources to shape a future that excites and inspires you.
As you stand on the brink of this new chapter, embrace the challenges and triumphs ahead. Whether you’re headed to college, starting an apprenticeship, or diving into your first full-time job, remember that each step forward is a step toward your dreams. The world awaits your talent, enthusiasm, and unique perspective. Go out and make a difference, Class of 2024!

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