Being in high school during a pandemic has already been hard enough. And as a new school year starts, many students will face tough – and exciting – decisions about what’s next after graduation.
Often, however, students do not have opportunities to connect with their peers across the state about how they are approaching their postsecondary paths to help them make the best decisions for their future.
That’s why on Tuesday, September 27, Degrees NYC, Degrees NYC Youth Council, The New York State School Counselor Association, and The Education Trust–New York joined forces to host Pathways After High School: What Happens Next?
During the event, current college students from across New York State – Dale, Elise, Rosalia, Noemi, and Wena – led a discussion and held a space for high school students to ask them questions about what life after high school is like, as well as share their concerns and aspirations for the future with one another.
Student participants asked questions that ranged from topics such as:
- How to manage your time in college
- What it’s like being a first-generation student
- What it’s like to move away from home
- What living in a dorm is like and eating campus food
- How scholarships work
- How support systems differ from high school to college
- How to navigate relationships with your family if you decide to leave home
- What was important to students when finding the right fit for college
- How to make the most of your social life in college as an on-campus student and commuter student
- Maintaining an income as a student
The college facilitators all had thoughtful responses to these questions, and more, including explaining why it can be difficult to move to a new city or region, why demographics and on-time graduation rates can be important factors in deciding where to attend college, and that it’s okay to feel nervous about this next step.
Furthermore, they spoke about their personal experiences and why it’s important for students to venture outside of their comfort zones. Accordingly, the facilitators said it best: “Find new ways to meet people and experience things that will help you grow into your adult selves and who you were destined to be. And while the unexpected can happen, it’s a matter of how you manage it while staying true to their personal values.”
Despite the fact that more can be done to prepare students for postsecondary pathways, the college facilitators suggested that students make use of the support and resources that are currently available to them; have around them, starting with school counselors, friends, family, and community-based organizations.
As one outcome of the event, Ed Trust–NY released Finding the Perfect Pathway. This new online tool allows students interested in pursuing a higher education degree or credential to learn more about their options and includes information about five different postsecondary pathways. Additionally, along with our partners, we put together a list of resources for high school students preparing for college.
We will continue to hold spaces for students to connect with one another statewide as the school year progresses. Interested in partnering with us on a student event? Drop us a line.
Thank you again to the fabulous college facilitators – Dale, Elise, Rosalia, Noemi, and Wena – who led this event and shared their knowledge with high school students and our partners Degrees NYC, Degrees NYC Youth Council, and The New York State School Counselor Association who helped make it possible!