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Life beyond high school

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My 16 yo is a sophomore and starting to stress about choosing the right college and settling in a career. Suggestions on how to help/guide him?
by on Jan. 28, 2018 at 7:29 PM
Replies (11-17):
Kimmybabe
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 12:34 AM

Sounds like your son is on the correct path!!!

 

Your fortunate that the school distract picks up the tuition and books. At the time, our district did not, but we figured the $50 per semester unit tuition and cost would still have to be paid out of pocket in the future, if we did not pay it now, so no loss in doing it early. Our district now picks up the tab for tuition and books.

 

One thing that your son can do to help in his decision making process is to explore different professions by discussing them with those in the profession. Most people in a profession are more than willing to share knowledge.

 

One of the things that youngest SIL’s dad, a tax and estate attorney with a large firm, did for the four of them was to individually take them to work with him on several occasions prior to law school, so that they could see just how dull and boring and tedious the work of an attorney is in real life. The pay can be good, but the vast majority of the work is boring. TV and movies are pure fiction. He had them sit at a table in his office doing the most boring school work all day for eight plus hours, while he sat at his desk doing all the most boring work he could arrange for himself that day, etcetera.   

 

One of the lawyers at that law firm, grew up as the son of a doctor. His doctor dad had a friend that was a lawyer. The fathers exchanged sons for a day at work decades ago. He became a lawyer and the lawyer’s son became a doctor. Go figure? Comically, his own children can’t stand the idea of law as a carrier.

 

Our youngest daughter and SIL were sitting in their gifted and talented 7th grade class when the class got this lovely presentation about all the wonderful “opportunities” they would have in high school; things like lots of mind numbing AP classes, four years of a foreign language they would never use and quickly forget, upper level math and science classes that left unused disappear, leaving only a memory of the pain in learning them. (Think about how much of high school and college you actually remember. For hubby and I it ain’t much.)

 

Recalling what Ronald Reagan quipped about work (“They say hard work never hurt anyone, but I figured ‘why risk it.’”), SIL started plotting his escape from the “gifted and talented” program before 8th grade. He looked around the class and asked himself if their was anything he would like to take with him, besides his coat, backpack, and pencils. Spotting our daughter, he took her aside at lunch and invited him to join him in testing out and over regular 8th grade, and into regular 9th grade with his pal and her sister.

 

I wish I had a video of the night all four teens sat in our living room with him explaining to hubby and me his long range plans with his mild Asperger’s Syndrome on full display. I thought: (1) Teen romances are as fragile as soap bubbles. You and your pal will be only memories in a few months. Hopefully fond memories. (2) What are the odds of four junior high kids sticking to a junior high carrier choice? (3) This may be doable by you two “gifted and talented” students, but probably NOT doable by the two “regular” track students.

 

A bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one.

 

Hubby and I agreed to let both daughters give it a go because they both wanted to and we were in the process of letting them make more decisions as the aged. We saw little downside.

 

They executed his plan to perfection.

 

SIL and our youngest daughter did “junior high lite” and by skipping off into “dual enrollment classes” at community college, all four did “high school light.” SIL had a plan to do “college lite” also, which would have been going to one of a few law schools that accept people with only two years of college, but his dad explained to him that (1) all three mothers were against it and if mama’s not happy nobody is, (2) when they came back home from law school, they would still have to finish college because other than chasing ambulances, defending DUI defendants, handling low end divorces, etcetera, they would have no other marketable skills, (3) getting a college degree after law school would make you all look flaky (and you already look flaky enough--LOL). It would have been a disaster for many reasons, including having student loan debts above a mere $200,000 each, instead of the $50,000 each that they left law school with. What can the four do without that burden of an extra $150,000 each?

Quoting Pukalani79: Thank you. He has taken a few dual enrollment classes. They are free to him through the school he goes to, which has been nice
Quoting Kimmybabe:

There are many routes to success.

 

This ramble of mine is what worked for our two daughters and SILs a few years ago. Along with it are some chapters from books that shed some light on the subjects I discuss. Most of the books will probably be avilable for FREE at your local public library.

 

As others mentioned, few people pick a carrier in high school and stick with it. Time often changes us and the choices we make.

 

Hubby did not declare a major until after returning from being on the Dean’s other list (academic suspension) for a semester. I changed majors and we both graduated in five years total.


Surprisingly, today most students require between five and six years to graduate from undergrad schools. Part of that is probably due to changing majors.

 

Twelve years ago last October, an 8th grade boy asked our 8th grade daughter to the junior high Halloween dance. They arranged for his 7th grade pal to take our 7th grade daughter to go to that dance. Both 7th graders were in the “gifted and talented” program together. The following spring, both 7th graders tested out and over “regular” 8th grade to join the older two in “regular” 9th grade classes.

 


 


 

I hope some of this ramble of mine is of value to you and yours.


Ziva65
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 2:37 AM
1 mom liked this
When our first/ oldest was a high school freshman we hired a college planner. Very helpful. Strength weakness testing/ aptitude, direction on high school courses- and the 4 year plan-weighted/ unweighted gpa which colleges look at what classes, etc. a high school guidance/ college counselor can probably help with that too. Ours just weren’t as available and so busy, and not as knowledgeable as I expected. Honestly our high school guidance counselors really didn’t ever even tell us the benefit or drawback to the AP courses or the AP tests- some schools don’t even consider it.

(We had no idea, so it’s absolutely important to start that whole process early. Especially as said by another poster, they’re looking at a 50 year decision at age 16!)

Anyway, then sophomore year the college planner started to help him identify potential colleges/ majors etc. junior year we visited them and started the application/ personal statements/ negotiation process. It got narrowed down from there.

We learned a lot from that college planner, and had him help a little with the next 3 but by then we had a better idea as to what to do and expect. Now, all 4 are in college. That college planner, though pricey was the best thing we ever did, and relieved a lot of stress for all of us. Even our friends who already had kids in college said later they wished they’d done it. These groups have lawyers/ financial planners/ people who sit on various college/ grad school acceptance boards, etc. really great service.

He saved us in tuition far more than he cost. Just a thought :)
Debmomto2teens
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 6:40 AM
1 mom liked this
My oldest dd was the same way. She really thought she wanted to be a lawyer and join the ACLU. Well, at 17 and some college tours she realized that wasn’t for her. She did panic a bit but did some more tours and decided she wanted to be a nurse. She is now a sophomore in college and doing great.

Quoting Pukalani79: I think he's frustrated because he's been pretty confident about it and just realized that it isn't the right fit for a career for him. Now he's just kind of lost.

Quoting jewjewbee: This is so hard for some and so easy for others. Both of my kids changed their career path after the tenth grade. It might be too early.
But if she has a basic idea at what she is good at, take the appropriate classes and start looking at majors offered near you. Until the end of her junior year you wont' really have to make a decision so don't stress too much, a lot will change.
romalove
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 10:00 AM
2 moms liked this

Sometimes "being there" is what will make you know something isn't right for you.  I know a girl who was going to do some sort of interior architecture thing, was excited for it, went to a school in Pennsylvania that  specializes in it, after one year, transferred to a local college in a completely different major because she hated it.  Another, they took an English degree and then added a Master's (5 year BA/MA program), in order to teach, and then once the teaching classes started, knew that teaching was not for them.  I know someone who did two years of Pharmacy school and quit to do animal husbandry.

Sometimes it's hard to know what things will really be like, until you're faced with them.  So we have to be flexible to accommodate the changes.

Quoting Debmomto2teens: My oldest dd was the same way. She really thought she wanted to be a lawyer and join the ACLU. Well, at 17 and some college tours she realized that wasn’t for her. She did panic a bit but did some more tours and decided she wanted to be a nurse. She is now a sophomore in college and doing great.
Quoting Pukalani79: I think he's frustrated because he's been pretty confident about it and just realized that it isn't the right fit for a career for him. Now he's just kind of lost.
Quoting jewjewbee: This is so hard for some and so easy for others. Both of my kids changed their career path after the tenth grade. It might be too early. But if she has a basic idea at what she is good at, take the appropriate classes and start looking at majors offered near you. Until the end of her junior year you wont' really have to make a decision so don't stress too much, a lot will change.


Debmomto2teens
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 10:03 AM
2 moms liked this
Yes. My youngest had no clue. She knows she wants to go to college but has no ideas what she wants to do.. lol. I’m hoping college tours give her at least an idea. More than likely she will go undeclared.

Quoting romalove:

Sometimes "being there" is what will make you know something isn't right for you.  I know a girl who was going to do some sort of interior architecture thing, was excited for it, went to a school in Pennsylvania that  specializes in it, after one year, transferred to a local college in a completely different major because she hated it.  Another, they took an English degree and then added a Master's (5 year BA/MA program), in order to teach, and then once the teaching classes started, knew that teaching was not for them.  I know someone who did two years of Pharmacy school and quit to do animal husbandry.

Sometimes it's hard to know what things will really be like, until you're faced with them.  So we have to be flexible to accommodate the changes.

Quoting Debmomto2teens: My oldest dd was the same way. She really thought she wanted to be a lawyer and join the ACLU. Well, at 17 and some college tours she realized that wasn’t for her. She did panic a bit but did some more tours and decided she wanted to be a nurse. She is now a sophomore in college and doing great.

Quoting Pukalani79: I think he's frustrated because he's been pretty confident about it and just realized that it isn't the right fit for a career for him. Now he's just kind of lost.

Quoting jewjewbee: This is so hard for some and so easy for others. Both of my kids changed their career path after the tenth grade. It might be too early.
But if she has a basic idea at what she is good at, take the appropriate classes and start looking at majors offered near you. Until the end of her junior year you wont' really have to make a decision so don't stress too much, a lot will change.

Kimmybabe
by Silver Member on Jan. 31, 2018 at 10:53 AM
The above four posts give very good suggestions and information!!!!!

One of the good things about your son being in those "dual enrollment classes" is that he can explore areas of interest to him on the cheap.

Debmomto2teens above made the point that at 17 her daughter decided she did not want to be a lawyer. Wise decision as law school is a mere $100,000 plus investment and three years of your life. About half of the 40,000 law school grads each year figure that out to late. That is the reason that youngest SILs dad and many other dads at that law firm take their kids to the office several times so that kid can see if they really do want to do this type of work.
1kidmomajm
by Bronze Member on Feb. 2, 2018 at 5:27 PM
1 mom liked this

Come 11th grade the school counselors and career people will start guiding the kids. First at 16 you don't have to decide what you will do for work the rest of your life. Junior year you should visit a few colleges open house events and taking the first SAT/ACT, then you will get an idea of what you are looking for. There are lot of websites the school will introduce to help with everything.

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