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After High School, What Next?

High school graduates have several options to consider when deciding what to do for the next years of their life.  Some of these include:



High school graduates may decide that they want to find full-time employment and start bringing home a regular paycheck.  Certain things should be done before beginning the job hunt.

  1. Discover interests. Reflect on past part-time jobs, volunteer work, and everyday tasks that were enjoyable.

  2. Explore job options. Find out what types of jobs are available to high school graduates who have little or no further training.

  3. Conduct informational interviews. Sit down and talk to someone who is currently working in a job that might be of interest.

  4. Network. Ask friends, family, and neighbors if they have any connections to help find a job. This may be the best way to find employment, because the majority of jobs are not advertised.
With some of the initial work out of the way, it is time to start getting organized.
  1. Write a resume.  Be sure to stress education, part-time and summer jobs, clubs, and awards.  

  2. Locate job openings. Use a combination of the following resources:

  1. Apply for a job.  This usually means submitting a cover letter, resume, and job application.  

  2. Prepare for the interview.  Research the company and job before going on the interview.  Also, rehearse some answers to possible interview questions.  

  3. Follow-up. Write a thank you note.  This helps remind employers who you are and lets them know that you are still interested in the job.


Join the Military

The U.S. military has five separate services:  Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.  The military trains people in many occupations.  Each of the military services actively recruits for both enlisted and officer positions.  Every recruit signs a legal contract for eight years of duty.  Usually, two to six years are spent on active duty.  The rest are spent in the Reserve forces.

After basic training, enlistees will receive technical or job training.  This training prepares the enlistee for a job in the military.  Many military occupations involve skills that can be useful in civilian jobs. Service members receive basic pay, allowances, and benefits for serving in the military.  Tuition assistance at colleges and universities is also available.

Each of the military services recruits independently and sets its own enlistment standards.  However, the following general enlistment qualifications are the minimum standards set by the Department of Defense.  Each service may choose to have higher standards than are listed here.  Sometimes services make exceptions to these qualifications.

For more information about joining the military, contact:

Air Force
Coast Guard





Attend Postsecondary School

Many options exist for those who want to receive formal training or education past high school.  Types of postsecondary schools include:

Students can work toward earning: For more information on postsecondary schools and programs of study, use the Georgia Career Information System (GCIS) located at:



An apprenticeship might be a great option for those interested in receiving supervised work experience, a classroom education, and a paycheck.  An apprentice works with an experienced worker to learn a skilled trade like carpentry or plumbing.  The apprentice receives training both on the job and in the classroom.

Joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, and employer associations sponsor apprenticeship programs.  Apprenticeships generally last about four years, but range from one to six years.  The pay that an apprentice receives increases progressively over time.

For more information, contact Georgia’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training at:



Some people may decide to take the time to give back to their communities by volunteering.  Volunteers gain valuable skills and meet new contacts that can help lead to future employment.  Volunteer opportunities are endless but may include tutoring and mentoring kids, building homes, or responding to national disasters.

Visit the web site of the Corporation for National and Community Service to find volunteer opportunities in your area:

AmeriCorps is an organization where people can participate in volunteer activities while receiving a modest living allowance, health insurance, and training.  Some programs even provide housing.  Members can choose the type of program and the location where they want to serve.  Full-time and part-time assignments are available.  After completing one year of full-time service, AmeriCorps members receive an education voucher that can be used to cover future costs of college or vocational school and pay back student loans. 

For more information about AmeriCorps, visit their web site at:

Contact a counselor at your school to receive more information and to discuss your options. The material contained in this pamphlet is current as of January 2013. For the most current information visit our web site: .


Copyright 2013, Georgia Career Information Center, Division of Student Affairs, Georgia State University. All rights reserved.
Partners include the Georgia Career Information Center, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Labor, Technical College System of Georgia, and University System of Georgia.