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Preparing Your Teen for Life After High School

Your teenager will leave the nest eventually to go on to college or a job. Helping her prepare for life after high school is one of the most important tasks you have as a parent. Going to college, getting a job, joining the military, or taking time off are the common choices teenagers face. Listen to your teen and try to remain supportive and enthusiastic during this time of decision-making.

Tips for parents as their teenagers move on to new lives

For the college-bound teen:

  • Work with your teen's school. Meet with your teen's school guidance counselor to make sure she is participating in a college preparatory curriculum.
  • Help your teen research colleges and narrow his options. Plan visits to select colleges as early as the start of her junior year. Tour the campus and outlying community. Talk with your teen about what she did and didn't like about each campus to help her make an eventual selection.
  • Speak with the college admissions office about the admissions process. This will ensure you and your teen know the procedures and requirements for applying to each school, such as which college admissions tests to take and how many teacher recommendations you will need.
  • Financial Aid. Investigate with your teen her eligibility for financial aid and assist her in filling out the application.
  • See that your teen completes all college applications by their deadlines.


For the work-bound teen:

  • Prepare your teen to take care of herself away from home. Teach your teen day-to-day living skills, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping.
  • Job search. Help your teen search the want ads, write a resume, and develop interviewing skills.
  • Financial preparation. Help your teen open a bank account, write checks, and create a realistic budget to manage her money wisely.

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