Post-High School Planning During a Pandemic: Keep the Momentum Going!
Schools across the country are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This raises a variety of concerns for parents and educators alike as we are faced with the academic, social, and emotional ramifications this lapse in education will have on our students. Not only is valuable instructional time lost, but also significant time with support staff such as school counselors and transition specialists, who are tasked with helping students prepare for the future. While there is no perfect substitute for the benefits associated with face-to-face interactions inside our school buildings (i.e., classroom guidance lessons, college rep visits) this does not mean students have to put thoughts and decisions about the future on hold. Yes, it is possible to continue making plans during a pandemic! Although most of our world has come to a temporary standstill, there are still activities students can engage in to adapt post-high school planning to a home setting. Below are some resources parents and their students can utilize both now and in the future:
In order to make informed decisions about the future, students must spend time discovering their interests and skills and then connect those facets of themselves to possible career pathways. The following websites are good for helping students with the assessment process. They also provide comprehensive information on careers from every sector.
- Invest in What’s Next https://www.investinwhatsnext.org/
- Mapping Your Future http://mappingyourfuture.org/planyourcareer/careership/
- My Future https://myfuture.com/
- Occupational Outlook Handbook https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
College Information and Tours
Due to the pandemic, it may not be feasible for students to visit the college campus of their dreams right now, but you can still find important data as well as get an up-close and intimate view of most campuses through virtual visits. Many colleges have links to their statistics and tours on their websites, but here are some other sites that offer relevant data, tours, videos, and 360° views:
- Going to College http://www.going-to-college.org/index.html
- College Navigator https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Campus Reel https://www.campusreel.org/
- Campus Tours https://campustours.com/
- Campus 360 https://campus360.org/en/
- You Visit https://www.youvisit.com/
While many colleges offer institutional scholarships, students can expand their search for financial aid by creating profiles on scholarship websites. Here are a few sites to visit:
- Sallie Mae https://www.salliemae.com/college-planning/
- com https://www.scholarships.com/
- Fastweb https://www.fastweb.com/
- Niche https://www.niche.com/colleges/scholarships/
- Scholarship Owl https://scholarshipowl.com/
- Petersons https://www.petersons.com/scholarship-search.aspx
As mentioned, it is impossible to mimic the benefits of direct interactions between students and school staff, or the ability to walk a college campus and talk with college admissions representatives. However, technology makes it easier to bridge the gap by providing educational and informative tools for students to keep their momentum going as they prepare to make post-high school plans.
Author Dr. Carmen Roberts serves as Director of Transitional Services and Programs for the O-School. To learn more about the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School’s (O-School) residential and day programs, please visit our website. If you have a child or loved one who you believe may benefit from the O-School’s or BWC’s services, please visit our contact page here or call our Director of Admissions, Kristin Friesen, at 773-420-2891.