Planning For Life After High School


It’s the final stretch from now until graduation for high school seniors across the state, deciding what to do after graduation with the guidance of their counselors and parents.  With the pressure of trying to find out what may be best for them, continuing their education is generally a tough decision as opposed to going directly into the work force.

Elizabeth Carrasco, a guidance counselor at San Luis High School in Santa Cruz County, said that the major concern causing stress and pressure for seniors is that they don’t know what they want to major in right now.

“Indicating what major may result in [their] housing, and orientation, which is nerve wrecking for them,” Carrasco said.

During this economy encouraging students to continue education after high school graduation is important as opposed to jumping into the working world in just a couple of weeks.  Typically by their senior year, students have a good idea if they want to go to a college, university, or work.

“We are always encouraging them to look at other options to see what suits their needs,” Carrasco said. She shows her students’ salary comparisons for those with and without degrees.

“It does make a difference to have an education,” Carrasco said.


Arizona High School Graduation and Dropout rate San Luis High School senior, Celeste Ruiz says that she plans to continue her education after graduation by attending Arizona State University in the fall.

Ruiz has noticed that some fellow students do not have the desire to continue their education, even with the encouragement they have received.

“From what I have heard from inquiring to others about the future, a lot of them say it is because of money issues,” Ruiz said.

Knowing that working right away to create an income, as opposed to continuing her education would help out her parents now, but Ruiz has put her future into perspective to reach for the best outcome.

“Having a degree offers a whole new world of job possibilities, those with which could mean a lot more support for them,” Ruiz said.

With the help and guidance of her parents and counselors, Ruiz encourages her under classmates to pursue their goals and dreams.

“There are so many negative influences out there now, and it’s so easy to get distracted from these dreams and plans set,” Ruiz said. “It’s vital, however, to keep in mind consequences and think everything through. If something seems to be too difficult, then more than likely, the outcome will be worth the struggle.”

As for Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Ariz., counselor Kathy Sheffield mentioned that, “Most [seniors] are anxious of course whether or not they will graduate; and there are many who are concerned about how to pay for college.”

Sheffield advises her students, “don’t succumb to senioritis! Stay on track until finals are complete; and keep your focus on whatever post-high school goals and plans you are working toward.”

Sheffield says that it’s difficult to have set advice for her students, because they are all so different. But she recommends that they be realistic, prudent and practical.

“It really takes looking into their individual and specific situation,” Sheffield said when discussing options after graduation with high school seniors.Often times, students in high school are facing real life problems at home and in their lives that can many times prevent them from continuing their higher education. 

“A lot of the struggle has to do with money” said Karla Garcia a Tucson Magnet High School guidance counselor.

“Students have a financial burden and getting in all the admissions fees and

getting everything done is hard. Their main concerns have a lot to do with money.”

Many reasons why students are settling for jobs that do not require a degree

is because college is so expensive. To attend a university a semester, the average for all three state Universities are about $8,010 according to universities web sites.

“I want to go to school, I do its just finding that kinda money for school just seems impossible. Sometimes you gotta settle for a crap job to get a better job in the future or go to a community college,” said James Madrid a recent high school graduate.

The average in state tuition at a community college in Arizona is about $2,000 a semester. Most high school students take the route of attending a community

college first because it is more cost effective. Arizona community colleges also provide many more classes that can accommodate students who work and go to school.

“ Although most of  the students I see are not sure what they are doing most of them find the idea of going to a college appealing it just comes down to the preventative factors of each individual student.” says, Counselor Garcia.

Many of the common reasons why students are not pursuing a higher education is because they say they can not afford college, they can earn good money at their current job, or their grades are not good enough to get into college according to Surveys for Higher Education.

“Often times students wont go on to college because it is easier for them to work at places like call centers where they make decent money so college doesn’t seem so ideal anymore says, Garcia.

And while getting a four-year degree after high school is no guarantee of a better source of income. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education found that of 350,000 students who barrowed money for college did not have a degree six years later. They also found that about 25 percent of people who obtained a bachelors degree were earning less than those with associate degrees. Yet on average, high school students who seek out college rather than the work force are more likely to achieve higher income.



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