As a high school senior on the cusp of graduation, it is not uncommon to hear the following question: Do you know what you want to do after you graduate? For many of us seniors, the future remains unknown and we do not know how to plan. Here are a few tips that might be helpful during your senior year.

First, determine a possible area of interest. Make a list of the things you enjoy doing. Remember, no idea is far-fetched, so do not discard it! After writing your ideas down, research a few colleges that would best help you develop your passion. Some seniors do not have any clue what they want to pursue. If you are in that situation, find a wise, older counselor, and get some ideas from them. Also, if you are not sure you would enjoy a specific field of study, shadow a person in that industry for a day to get a feel for what it is like.


Secondly, take advantage of dual-credit, advanced placement and CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) exams. Personally, I am following the CLEP option. While testing out of these college-level courses, I am gaining credits and learning important study and test-taking skills, which will aid me in my further education. Additionally, I am taking them for free, thanks to a charitable organization designed to help young people gain college credit. Make good use of your time in high school by participating in one or more of these options.

Finally, decide how you will pay for your future schooling. This is one of the most important aspects of your education. Having a black cloud of debt hanging over your head for many years does not make for an enjoyable college experience. An excellent book about finances, specifically for high schoolers and college students, is “Five Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in College,” by Rachel Cruze and Anthony O’Neil (or check out this article: is external)). Consider getting a job or starting a business. Saving money and predetermining how you will fund college is extremely important to figure out.

To sum it up, enjoy your senior year of high school, but also be proactive in your college planning. Redeem the time by figuring out an interesting program of study, earning college credit and finding creative ways to earn some extra cash. Most importantly, as you embark on this exciting new journey, remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the process.

Sylvie Winje, a senior homeschooled student, enjoys teaching piano, spending time with family and preparing for her future education in piano performance at North Dakota State University. She is the daughter of Paul and Audrey Winje, members of Cass County Electric Cooperative.