5 Tips for Graduating High School Seniors Heading to College

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As today is the day of my brother's drive-thru, high school graduation, I thought it was only necessary that I pass on the tips that have guided me through the past four years since I graduated high-school. High school was a breeze for me only because I stayed almost too focused on breaking out of there and figuring out who I was outside of my hometown. However, even though my path had gone in multiple different directions since I graduated, the journey to where I am now as a senior in college has been a life altering adventure I'll always be grateful for. My path had a lot of ups and downs as most people's lives work, however, here are just a few tips to hopefully alleviate the number of bumps in the road you may encounter. 

1. Have a Plan A, B, and C

A lot of the times that people are undecided when it comes to life after high-school don't have a set idea of what they want to do and that's fine. But whether you want to continue your education or not, you should still have some sort of idea as to what you hope to accomplish as an adult. If you want to go straight to a four year university, be prepared with all the plans for major requirements and general education. If you're going to attend a community college, have the paths for IGETC general requirements ready to go. For that you have the path to an Associates Degree and a degree for transfer to a four year UC or CSU. For out of state schools, make sure you check all of the requirements as it varies state by state and university by university. Just make sure you see all of your plans laid out to find the best one for you. Obviously plans will change as time goes on, so always be prepared with a backup plan in case things don't go your way the first time.

2. Make Your Counselor Your Best Friend

My counselors in both my community college and four year universities will tell you that not a month went by where I didn't visit or call them at least once during my time at all of the colleges I attended. Have you counselor know you inside and out with familiarity of your goals and current college plans make them a great resource to have to guide you through the next couple years of your education. 

3. Think 10 Steps Ahead

When I say that, I mean think about where you are now and constantly be thinking of the next step and the next step after that. If you have one long term goal in mind like getting a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, make sure you plan it out semester by semester or quarter by quarter and strategically plan your classes, internships, and job ambitions. For example, if you look at your major requirements, make sure you know when certain classes are offered and make sure you adjust your schedule and prioritize the classes that are more crucial to your major first. Then you can mess around with the classes and even see if you can fit in classes you're genuinely interested in. Which leads me to my next tip...

4. Leave Room for Fun Classes

Although major requirements might be overwhelming, just know that depending on your major, you are guaranteed to have space in your schedule to take elective classes that don't have to do with your major. Taking your major classes are great because you need them to earn your degree. But to get the most of your college education, find classes that could actually be fun and satisfy your own personal interests. Take a random culture class if you feel getting to know a new culture would be interesting to you. Take an environmental science class to learn more about nature. Just find the classes that might give you a little more joy and a little less stress since it's geared towards your personal interests.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Be Undeclared

If you come out of high-school still unsure of what you want to do in life, that's okay. A lot of people have been in your shoes. Some people take a little longer to find their calling and that's totally fine. Take your time. In the meantime, if you still have ambitions to get a degree at some point, it's best to at least get your GE requirements in to accomplish the basic parts of your education first. Then hopefully along the way you figure out what career speaks to you. 

Education after high school is definitely scary to think about sometimes. Trust me. Even today I spend at least five hours out of my week planning and meeting with counselors to plan out the next stages of my education. So don't stress out too much. With the right determination and drive, everything will fall into place. And don't be afraid to ask for help. Take advantage of the resources that you have to guide you to your future. I wish you the best and congratulations, class of 2020!