Post-Secondary Tips for Seniors

Alana DeRose, Staff Writer

After three stressful years, seniors finally have to take on the biggest task yet: What to do after high school. College counselor Brad Kain has some tips on how to choose your next steps after high school. 

Explore options

“You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to do with the rest of your life at 17 years old,” Kain stated. 

H-F is filled with many options for us to choose from whether that be joining an afterschool club or adding an extra elective to our schedule, we can try it all!

Kain has a challenge for students, “When you hear something that interests you in class, go up to your teacher after class and ask them to talk about it more. You will quickly find out whether you want to learn more or if it’s just a one-day fluke. Either way, you’ve put yourself in a new direction.” 

Stay Flexible 

“The best advice I can give to students is to stay flexible with what they’re thinking about,” Kain stated. “I get nervous when a student is 100% about what they want to major in. In all reality, students on average change majors two to three times while in college.” 

Kain himself has made this costly mistake.

“I was more than 100% sure I was going to be a business major in college and take my family business over. I hated it, and eventually switched majors. That made me have to spend an extra year at the university and added more time and more money to my four years.” 

“If you still haven’t decided on a major by your sophomore year in college you should sit and talk with someone at the university to help give you guidance,” Kain suggests. 

Register for Schoolinks 

“We broke up with Naviance, so now we have Schoolinks,” Kain stated. “When you first log into the program it will ask you questions about things you’re interested in and start giving you options of careers or interests areas to help narrow some of this [decision process] down as well.” 

Visit the H-F Website for scholarship information 

According to Kain, “The best way to look for scholarships is our scholarship website here at H-F. On the website, the first thing I see is ‘Going Merry.’ ‘Going Merry’ is a free search engine that’s a huge database updated with scholarships constantly.”

“On the right hand side of the page, there are scholarships listed for Chicagoland/south suburb students,” according to Kain. “Little closer to home, fewer students applying for them, increasing your chances of getting it. Right now there’s only one, but by the end of the year it’ll be all the way down to the bottom.” 

There’s also a scholarship specifically for H-F students called the “Foundation Scholarship”. 

According to Kain, “they open a week before spring break and close a week after, so they’re open for three weeks and are hosted on Going Merry. These are scholarships that can only be applied to by H-F students. H-F students for some reason don’t apply for scholarships so the lowest number of people apply for these, increasing your chances of receiving one of them.”  

Kain also suggests creating another email address specifically for scholarships. “They dump a lot of information at you, so let’s try to keep it in one space.” 

If graduating early, have a plan 

“Have a plan before they graduate, and I highly recommend they have an academic piece. You don’t want to take a semester off and then jump back in after having a summer off of not seeing certain classes.”

Kain isn’t against working a part-time job, but you shouldn’t let it override your plan. 

“You can do a part time job and make some money but keep your eye on the plan. A part time job is a part time job. It won’t replace a full time job with education behind it.”