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What to do After You Graduate High School

Published on Feb 5, 2021 | Last updated Feb 5, 2021 7 minute read

What to do After You Graduate High School

How many times did you wonder what it would feel like to finally graduate from high school? How many times did you wish it would speed up and be over with? Coming to the end of your high school experience can bring up a lot of different emotions. Reflecting on high school may make you feel nostalgic while looking to the future may make you feel a bit uneasy.

Many high school graduates get frustrated on what steps to take after graduation. Whether you pursue a job or want to move on to further your education, there are so many paths you can take. With that, we’ll help you get started on your after-grad journey. Keep reading to learn about your different options and discover what makes the most sense for you.

Get into university

What are you interested in? What subjects were enjoyable? It’s time to start thinking of potential career options you’d like to pursue. Look at jobs related to those you could see yourself in someday – what kind of qualifications, majors or designations do they require? That may be a good place to start.

Here are some other helpful considerations when choosing a university or major:

  • Check the majors offered and review the course content. Whatever your interests are, you’ll want to choose a program that aligns with them. Studying subjects that are appealing to you means you’ll have a better chance of setting yourself up for success.
  • What does your financial situation look like? Determine if you’ll need to factor in a job, if you qualify for financial aid, if you will be receiving scholarships or if family will provide monetary help.
  • Are you going to live at home while attending university or do you plan on studying in another province or country? Learn about student accommodations if your choices mean you’ll be moving away from home.
  • Think of things beyond the classroom that you will want to do. Do you plan on being part of any sports teams, clubs or other extra curricular activities? If so, choose a university that has a selection that is appealing to you.

It may feel like there are a ton of options and factors to consider, and you’re right! But don’t despair. With a bit of thinking and planning, you will find a path that works for you. By dedicating sometime to research universities, you’ll have an easier time distinguishing your must-have items from deal breakers.

Travel abroad

Graduation means freedom from classwork, exams, teachers and other extracurricular activities that would take up your time. After graduating, many people decide to take a gap year off before university to travel.

If travelling the world before the next stage of your life appeals to you, there are some things you should consider:

  • Research, research and research. What countries interest you the most? Will you stay at hostels, with family, friends or in hotels? Will you cook your own meals rather than eating out? Careful planning and budgeting will give you an idea of how you can travel and what you should be mindful of.
  • Getting travel insurance will provide you with peace of mind and it’s there to protect you in worst case scenarios.
  • Plan your itinerary and schedule before takeoff. While technology is wonderful, don’t depend on it 100%. Make sure you have any addresses, phone numbers, dates and times written out to help you stay on track.
  • Do you have mixed feelings in that you’d like to travel abroad, but want to continue your studies or work too? Many universities have connections with other schools, so you may have the option to travel abroad. In some cases, you may be able to volunteer abroad or teach English.

When your gap year is over, you can enrol in university feeling refreshed, focussed and ready to learn. If you’re not interested in travelling abroad, you can learn how to drive and explore places in Canada.

Volunteer in organizations and charities

After graduation, you may consider committing yourself to a cause. Getting involved in community initiatives may open your eyes to a career path you’d like to follow.

Research organizations doing work in the fields you care most about. It’s also important to make sure you know the things you must consider when volunteering such as getting volunteering and liability insurance.

Here are some volunteer opportunities that may appeal to you:

  • There are a variety of mentorship programs where you can provide support or guidance to youth.
  • Do you have a background playing a musical instrument or sport? Volunteering your services and passion as a coach may also be an option to consider.
  • Do you have a soft spot for animals? Local humane societies often need extra hands on deck to help care for dogs, cats, rabbits or whatever else they have.
  • There may also be possibilities where you can help out local seniors in your community. Shovelling sidewalks, grocery shopping, or social opportunities with an elder may make a big difference in their life.

Start up a business

After high school, there may be business opportunities especially in this digital age. Even as a teenager, you can start working for yourself. Keep in mind, if you’re under 18, you may need a legal guardian to sign documents for you.

Here are just a few things you’ll need to do if starting a business appeals to you:

  • Do your research
  • Write down your strengths
  • Find your interest
  • Look for your niche
  • Turn a hobby into a business plan
  • Learn how to gain profit
  • Choose a business name

Businesses are always about selling products. There are businesses that could gain profit like providing services, trading or freelancing. If your venture fails, you will still gain valuable experience and insight for your next move.

Save up for your college education

Instead of jumping right into school, consider working for a year to save up for an expensive academic adventure. There are plenty of job opportunities for high school graduates. Between tuition, books, meals and living accommodations, there are a variety of expenses that you’ll need to pay for once in school.

Here are some tips:

  • Be realistic about job opportunities as some may require additional training or apprenticeships.
  • Research who’s hiring in your community.
  • Make a budget to help you plan how you’re going to save the money coming in.
  • If you worry about spending the money you’re making rather than saving it, consider giving yourself a daily or weekly allowance.
  • If you’re going to rent, check out our blog for first time renters.
  • There may also be paid internships in fields you’re interested in, so this may be a good way to get your foot in the door.

While you know life will change after high school, you can confidently face the future knowing you have options. New experiences can be intimidating, but we know you’ll be able to adjust in no time.

Through all your life experiences, BrokerLink will always be available to help protect you and provide you with the best coverage options at any stage. Call us for a free no-obligation quote!

Graduated high school, now what? FAQs

Can I open a business in Canada if I'm under 18?

To begin an official business you will need to be 18 years or older. To start a business of any kind, there are a lot of details that go into. From legal entities to registering, many of these will entail that you be of legal age. However, in some cases a parent may be able to authorize and sign on your behalf. We recommend looking into provincial requirements to ensure you meet the guidelines.

Which courses are in high demand in Canada?

Courses on finance, business, IT and technology are just some of the popular areas that some choose to study. However, courses in high demand are always changing! While it’s interesting to know what’s popular, it may not be something you’re interested in. We encourage you to research and focus on fields that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.

If I already have a high school diploma, can I get a driver's license?

Depending on the province you live in, you can start the process to obtain a learners license at 14 years old. While you will need to have a learners for a set amount of time, 16 is when many people take the next step to get their driver’s license. As long as you pass any tests, you should be able to get your driver’s license any time after the age of 16.