Works for Me: Life After High School

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Helping your teen navigate the next stage of their lives after high school can be stressful and overwhelming. Should they go to college? What other options are there? What career path are they interested in? How do they pick a school or program? What’s a gap year? These are important questions to ask, and the Job and Career Education Center at CLP – Main has extensive resources that can help you answer them and feel confident while helping your teen with these big moves forward.

The first step is usually taking standardized tests that are required by most institutions of higher education. At the JCEC, you can find study books and practice tests for all of the major standardized tests, as well as tests for different licenses and certifications. Our test book section can be helpful during all stages of your teen’s education.

Financial aid is also a stressful subject, but we can point you to databases, websites, books and materials that help in searching for and applying to scholarships, navigating FAFSA applications and devising a plan for making smart financial choices.

But a traditional path into college is not always right for everyone. There are always junior and community colleges, trade schools and gap years. It is no longer necessary to jump right into a four-year education after finishing high school. Many students will take basic courses at a community college and then transfer to a four-year university later, saving money and taking their time to decide what to major in. Other students are interested in trades, which do not require formal degrees but certificates and apprenticeships. And some students would rather take some time off to work or explore a bit of the world before going back to school. Graduating high school is hard work, so sometimes taking a break is a good idea.

Did you know there are aptitude tests that will measure your teen’s strengths and recommend career paths? Websites like Career Cruising will walk you through finding what’s right for your teen, and they can access it with their library card through the Library website. Have they found some occupations that seem interesting to them, but they want to learn more? Visiting the Occupational Handbook online or checking out a paper copy from the Job and Career Education Center will help them learn more about each one and aid them in the process of narrowing down their options.

We understand that all of this can be very overwhelming, and that is why the librarians and JCEC staff are more than happy to sit one-on-one with you and your teen to talk through their needs, help them make a plan and show them these resources more in depth. We love to see our customers flourish, and we aim to be of assistance in any way we can. Give us a call at 412.622.3133 to make a one-on-one appointment.

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Jocelyn is a big nerd who enjoys reading, knitting, baking and speaking passionately about pizza. Even though her job as a library assistant in the Job and Career Education Center doesn’t offer too many opportunities to debate Star Wars vs. Star Trek, she greatly enjoys helping people find resources and prepare for their careers and life changes.

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