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Navigating Life Beyond High School

As graduation approaches, many Mission Society students are considering how to take on the brand new experiences awaiting them after high school. Through our academic enrichment and college and career counseling programs, they have developed vital skills and knowledge that will help them thrive in any post-graduation circumstance. However, this time of year always encourages us to think about how we can further equip our students as they face exciting, but daunting, unknowns. Right now we're asking ourselves - what is our most valuable advice for navigating life beyond our classrooms?

We spoke with Senior Advocate Counselor, Huilin Wu, to find the answers. She shared her expertise around a variety of topics, including how to make decisions about what future goals to pursue and tips for family members supporting a graduating senior. Today, we're sharing her important reminders below - we hope these tools see students and their loved ones through this time of transition, and help them focus on the bright future that lies ahead.

Discovering Your Post-Secondary Path

List What You Love

Make a list of your passions, natural skills and talents, and what school subjects you enjoy most. This can provide you with a great foundation as you consider future goals.

Meet with Mentors

Speak with your school counselors, teachers, or family in order to learn about college and career opportunities that line up with your interests.

Engage with Community

If you’re unsure of what to pursue after graduation, volunteering, taking on part-time jobs, and participating in internships are all great ways to gain experience and observe different work environments.

Understanding the Acceptance Process

Stay Engaged

The process for getting into school isn't over even after you have made a commitment to a particular college. Keep an eye on your email to ensure you catch housing forms, financial aid documents, class schedules, and more.

Focus on Time Management and Organization

Managing your time and keeping your materials organized is vital for a smooth transition to college or starting a career. Developing a system for tracking all the moving parts - either on your own or with the help of mentors or peers - will serve you well into the future.

Finding Social Emotional Support

Keep In Touch

Stay in contact with current friends, classmates, and mentors. They will offer consistent connection, emotional support, and a place for sharing advice and stories about your new experiences.

Reach Out to Others

Be open to making new friends too! Joining clubs and activities, attending school events, or finding study groups can help build new, enriching relationships.

Remember You’re Not Alone

Know that there are many young people around you who are also navigating big life changes and looking for opportunities to connect. Don’t be afraid to initiate meaningful social interactions.

Take Advantage of Resources

Be sure to check out tutoring centers, health services, libraries, and professors’ office hours. All of these spaces are available to ensure students have access to quality support.

Uplifting Graduating Seniors

Encourage Well-Roundedness

Many families focus on test scores for college applications, but it’s crucial to remind students that extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and personal statements are also a vital part of the process.

Offer Understanding

Sometimes the most valuable way for family members to support young people is to show that they understand how much they are carrying on their shoulders, and to be there to help lighten the load.

Find Welcoming Spaces

A common misconception is that undocumented students won’t be accepted into college. Many schools in New York City are welcoming to all students, and families can work with young people to seek out the best place for continuing their education.

Allow for Time to Process

Applying for college or making decisions about work can be demanding. Giving students space to think through their next steps with our encouragement can be incredibly powerful.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for all of your hard work and incredible accomplishments! We are so excited to see where you go next. Thank you to Huilin Wu for your time and contributions to this piece, and for sharing your advice with our community.

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