It is never too early to be thinking about your future. What you want to be, where you want to go, and how you are going to get from point A to B are common thoughts and questions that have probably come up more than once this year!
First, if you don’t know what you want to do, here is an easier question for you: What do you like to do in your free time and what brings you joy? (if you are in middle school, you can tackle this question too!).
Do you like to play basketball? Even if you aren’t capable of playing professional basketball, perhaps it has made you realize you would like to coach a high school team and teach. Or, maybe you enjoy statistics on scoring and rebounding and want a job analyzing numbers. If you didn’t know, you can actually major/minor in sports analytics at several colleges! While we are talking about sports, do you know that Golf Course Management is also a major at some schools?
Do you like to play video games? Game Design is a multi-million-dollar industry and many colleges are offering programs in this too!
Spend your summers wisely. Shadow a professional in a field that interests you (example, thinking of becoming a veterinarian? Ask your local vet if you can shadow her after school for a couple hours each week), or take advantage of academic camps at local colleges designed for high school students.
Second, when you are talking about life after high school, don’t center the conversation around a specific college. Setting sites on ‘one’ school will most likely lead to disappointment or simply a poor choice when it comes to finding your ‘best fit’ school.
Have fun visiting local colleges when the opportunity presents. Grab a friend and watch a show or sporting event or attend a free open house.
Third, there are many ways to travel from point A to point B, and a college may just be one of those ways. Keep an open mind to alternate ways of reaching your goals.
Do you want an MBA? Perhaps you can obtain a job after receiving your undergraduate degree, and your company will pay for an online MBA program.
Do you want to own your own construction company or perform ultrasounds at a hospital? Maybe a 2 year degree will give you the ability to enter your chosen field.
Perhaps you can learn a trade with on the job training and skip the entire college scene altogether.
The point here is: You are in the process of designing your life now with your thoughts and activities, so if something interests you – try it out. Stay in the present, but as you do, understand your choices today impact your life after high school.
If you have questions regarding the college and career selection process, please submit them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.