Prepare for College

475853577Education once you’ve completed high school may be as little or as much as you like. Trade school, technical school, and 2- or 4-year college degrees are just a few of the options that are open to you after high school.

Continuing your education when you’ve just graduated could be the thing you want to talk about least, but I bet you’ll understand that getting a college education after you’ve earned your high school degree will increase your chances on the job market, lead to better earnings power, and boost your chances to enjoy a greater life.

Get a bachelors degree and you can make almost $21,180 a year more than your friends with just a high school diploma.

Do the math: $21,180 times a 30-year career equals over half a million dollars! ($635,400 to be exact). Even if you don’t like math, you have to love that!

Information from the U.S. Census shows earnings increase with higher education:

An associate degree can mean 35 percent more income than just a high school diploma.
A bachelor’s degree can mean 74 percent more income than just a high school diploma.
A master’s degree can mean 115 percent more income than just a high school diploma.
You already know that having received more training and education will probably lead to more lifetime earning, so what are the things that hold you back from making a great plan for future education?

My grades aren’t good enough to get into college.

Sure, good grades are pretty important, and the better your grades, the better your chances to access the school and the academic program you prefer. And of course, having good grades also means access to money to attend college. As a Kentuckian, each year you make at least a 2.5 GPA, you are eligible for a Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).

Colleges, though, do not merely look at test scores and grades when they’re making their admission decisions. They also look at an applicant’s extracurricular activities, community services, and the talent a student has in sports or arts. All these factors are playing a part in the school’s decisions. So, you aren’t going to be the valedictorian next year? Plenty of successful college students weren’t either!

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up … But I know I don’t want to …
Well, if you’re aware of what you do NOT like, you probably also are aware of the things you DO like. Try to get information from people who have job or careers that may seem interesting to you, try to find out to what school they went and how they liked the program that they took. Ask your guidance counselor, your parents, or the school librarian to help you with your quest for a fitting career.

You can also take a closer look at the Kentucky Occupational Outlook report, or the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The handbook is online at www.bls.gov/oco/home.htm, the report at www.desky.org/lmi/occupation/outlook.htm.