Finishing high school

Moving from life as a high school student to life as a graduate can be exciting and scary. You are now making choices that are much different than ones you've had to make before. Most importantly you need to decide how to spend your time now that high school has finished.

This may be the first major life decision that you have had to make and it can be a difficult one. It's best to make sure you are as prepared as possible to make an informed choice. Try asking for some support with your decision-making from parents, teachers and friends.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when making your decision:

Post secondary education

  • Will you choose university, college or technical school?
  • Which program will you take?
  • Are your grades high enough to get you into the program of your choice?
  • How will you pay for your education?
  • Will you live away from home or not?
  • If you live away from home will you live on campus or off campus?

Work force

  • What type of work will you pursue?
  • Do you have any connections that may help you find employment?
  • How will you sell yourself and your skills to potential employers?
  • How will you remain competitive when you are in the workforce?
  • Do you understand the disadvantages of not pursuing a post-secondary education (e.g. less opportunity for advancement, less pay)?


  • Where will you go?
  • Who will you go with?
  • How long will you go for?
  • How will you pay for your trip?
  • What will you do when you return (e.g. will you enter the workforce or begin post-secondary education)?

Making an informed choice

Here are some suggestions about how to educate yourself before deciding what to do:

  • Think about your future. What do you hope to do? What type of work appeals to you? This does not have to be your final decision, but thinking about what kind of work interests you can help you make a choice.
  • Find out how to get started. What types of skills or education do you need? Talk to a career counsellor (at school or in your community) or someone who works in the field that interests you.
  • Attend career fairs or information seminars offered by post-secondary schools.

Friends and family members may have expectations or opinions about what is best for you. Consider other people's ideas but remember that what you do after high school is your decision.

Given the number of choices that you are faced with and the decisions that need to be made, this time in your life can be very confusing. It is normal to find it all a little overwhelming. If you need to talk to someone call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

Last reviewed: September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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