Thursday, May 26, 2016

Life After HighSchool, College, Military or Work


Here's how we guided our kids through this decision.

1) Ask them the type of lifestyle they want to have when they 'grow up'. (Select a house, Location to live, Car they want, kids, marriage)

2) Tell them to select 3 careers they'd like to explore.

3) Have them research the following about the careers and put on a Project Board (a) Map out the road to the career, like college, tech school, trianing, etc (2) Job seek in those fields using, and other job search boards (3) Map out starting salary, mid-career salary (4) Research work life balance in the career choices

4) Create Monthly Bills to include living expenses, cars, student loan debt.

5) Compare their prospective careers, monthly salaries against their Monthly Bills (a) Note that to keep above water in some cases they will have to work 2 jobs (b) get a roomate (c) give up the style car or home they want (d) not have as many kids

Selection of College

Every kid has a fantasy about going to college. But a lot of obstacles and cost/benefits should be considered.

It concerns me when students take our HUGE COLLEGE DEBT and have college majors that don't return the level of income commensurate with the amount of debt.

1) Community College should be first - The trick with going to Community College is that you get a 2 yr degree as fast as possible IN AN AREA THAT YOU CAN BE EMPLOYED IN RIGHT AFTER YOU FINISH

The Benefits of doing an AA degree is:

a) Better Internships
b) If it's a local Community College that transfers to state university they give 'completer' or 'transfer' scholarships
c) Allows student to work and complete 4 year degree with AS LITTLE DEBT as possible
d) Gives the student the opportunity to WIDEN career and job reach by selecting a major in Community College that is different than their 4 yr college major. Giving them 2 career fields instead of just 1.

2) Go to a Local University [OR] a cheap online College  - unless there is some specialized major your kid wants, go with the cheaper option. MOST COMPANIES DON'T CARE WHERE YOUR DEGREE IS FROM-only that it is from an accredited institution.

The Benefits of Staying Local

a) Saves you money and lowers college debt
b) Saves cost on living on campus - but if student does want a few years on campus, it is a great tradeoff IF the student finished an AA degree first
c) Gives student more options and deeper networking opportunities
d) Opens the financial possibility of doing a STUDY  ABROAD since they have saved money in other cost of their education
e) Local scholarships are usually more plentiful


Not every student wants to go to college. However, I told them if they weren't going to pursue college they had to do one of the following:

1) WORK: the deal here was, TRY TO FIND A JOB THAT LEADS TO A CAREER. And MAP out your road to growth. So being a receptionist can lead to being and Administrative Assistant, to Secretary to Office Manager

2) MILITARY: Ultimately, I would prefer that the student was in a program like ROTC or the CAP program prior. And that they DID THIS AFTER THEIR DEGREE, but if that isn't an option, the parent should do their research on JOBS within the military and HELP THEIR STUDENT enlist with the best and highest level possible.

3) TRADE SCHOOL: This is where the student should do their research on the job probability after the trade school. Some of these schools are expensive, offer very little financial aide and don't necessarily guarantee a job.

4) VOLUNTEER: The FEMACORPS, AMERICORPS, Help Exchange ( and other like programs are great ways for young people to explore the world


Research! Research! and PLAN their way forward for 3 years.

With doing the above, at least they would have a well thought out plan for the next 3 years. And if PLANS CHANGE? Then RESEARCH and RE-PLAN again.


  1. Not every kids fantasizes about going to college. ;) I had NO desire to.

    The military has been a good fit for my oldest son, and I'm hoping it will also be a good fit for my 3rd son, who just enlisted.

    It's neat to see the paths that our kids wander. :) My eldest daughter decided to go abroad for a year as a nanny. It was an incredible experience for her.

  2. So true, we have to help them plan their decisions, because success and happiness should be our ultimate answer.

  3. I wish I could have read this myself before I graduated high school. Great article.