Planning for What’s Next

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Grace Thomas

There are many directions students can head in their post-high school plans, but for NA students, most of them lead to college.

Grace Thomas, Staff Writer

High school is the last few years of pre-determined plans for many, and as the future approaches rapidly, students are beginning to prepare for what is ahead of them through making college plans, or waiting to make plans for when they have experienced more of the world.

College planning is a topic that gets discussed at NA often: Naviance college tests, scheduling discussions, and guidance counselor meetings all bring up this option for the future. This strong introduction to the concept of college and the resources provided to further explore this opportunity has led to many students studying the prospect of college–100% of all students surveyed said that they were actively considering or had considered having college as a part of their future. 

The pursuit of further education beyond high school is also a common theme at NA, with nearly 90% of students surveyed stating that college was a major part of their after graduation plans.

Some students remain undecided about whether or not to incorporate this option into their future plans, especially when considering the numerous career paths that they could follow. A freshman stated, “There are many careers that I would be willing to go into. However, I’m not entirely sure what my definite career path is quite yet. I’m planning on trying out various electives and hopefully attending Beattie during my sophomore year to find that out.” College is not necessary or useful for all careers, and some students are exploring all career options during high school before deciding on college.

…nearly 90% of students surveyed [said] that college was a major part of their after graduation plans.”

Many students who do plan to go to college have already chosen the major that they wish to enter, or a general field they are considering. A vast majority of surveyed students who had stated that they planned to go to college had considered their future major, and selected a few potential choices. Career options again play an essential role in this decision, and the majority of students who had chosen their major also had a career in mind. 

One freshman discussed how career choice impacted their college planning, saying, “I would probably like to major in psychology to become a school counselor. I found this major when last year I was thinking of career options and I thought I wanted to be a teacher or a therapist, and being a school counselor is like a combination of both careers. Getting a degree in psychology would allow me to move forward with this career.”

While many NAI students have decided that they want college to be a part of their future, only 60% of surveyed students had a specific college or group of colleges that they were considering attending. Students who have not decided yet did not concern themselves as much with the location or campus details as they did with the quality of education they would be receiving. One student stated, “I don’t have a specific college that I plan to attend. I’m okay to go anywhere if the education is good.” 

The students who have selected the college they hope to attend made their decision based on a number of factors, including the campus setting and surrounding cities. As one student stated, “I want to go to the University of Washington because the campus, people, community, and surrounding city are all things that I love dearly.” 

Some students have been crafting their college plans for years, while others have just recently started college planning. Students who have been planning college for many years gave reasons such as discussions with alumni or the college’s extremely low acceptance rate. 

Most students who had firm college plans had begun planning sometime in middle school, or had always planned to attend their selected college due to family members who also attended the college, as one student stated: “I have always had the idea that I would be going to BYU and so there was not a specific time I started planning.”

Some students are determined to follow the path they have laid out.”

Though the future is fast approaching, the firmness of the plans these students have created ranges greatly. Some students are determined to follow the path they have laid out. In the words of one student, “I believe my plans of going to college are set; I don’t really see myself not going.”

Other students fall somewhere in between, with flexibility in some select areas, as a freshman student stated: “I am pretty set on my paths for majors and schools, but in terms of college specifics it is still very flexible. I think during high school there is a lot of room for change and growth, and I’m open to exploring new paths if I find something incredibly interesting to me.” 

Other groups of students say that they are not committed to the plans they have made, and are unbothered by the idea of following wherever life takes them, as a 9th-grade student said, “I am open to wherever my life leads me, and any plans I have are very loosely put together. If they change along the way I do not mind.” 

The fast pace of high school has caused many students to begin to consider their futures and the pursuit of higher education. While some have made rigid and detailed plans, others have made flexible plans that leave room to follow new introductions to opportunities in life. As a new generation in a changing world, it is essential for students to consider their future, whether a college education is the correct choice for them or they find other paths to follow.