Planning What to do After High School

Adnan Sami - February 11th 2022

You probably don’t realize this, but having a moderately detailed plan of your university and career while still in high school is so important. And I only discovered it in my second year of university, where I was suffering anxiety for choosing a program I didn’t research well about beforehand. So, I’ve put together a step-by-step process for planning your university degree and career options, so you don’t have to suffer as I did.

Step 1:

Google the name of any top-tier university, like Harvard, and visit their website. Find the list of programs they offer and go through it. Note down any programs you find interesting. Now, this might seem a waste of time because you probably already have a thing you want to study in mind, but trust me, there are so many programs out there you’ve never even heard of. And you might find something you like more than your current choice. So, give it a shot. The time you spend here will save you a lifetime of regret later.

Step 2:

Go to YouTube, Quora, and Reddit and see what people say about the programs you’ve noted down. This will help you know more about the programs from people who have taken them. First-hand knowledge is way better than the flowery program descriptions you’ll get on the university websites. Then, narrow down your list.

Step 3:

Now that you have a somewhat good idea of what the programs are about and how hard or easy they are, it’s time to look up some career prospects. Google “jobs with a ___ degree.” Look at what each job entails and note down those that seem appealing but doable for you.

Step 4:

This step is the climax of your planning because you’ll find out whether the jobs you’re interested in exist where you live. Go to any job board, for example, Indeed, and type in the jobs you had previously noted down. If you’re unwilling to relocate, search for jobs within a reasonable distance. If you are willing to relocate, you’ll find more openings for the jobs you selected. Note down the demand (example: number of search results) for the selected jobs.

Step 5:

Now that you have a rough idea of what jobs demand, you can start looking at those job descriptions. This is crucial because you might need more than just a bachelor’s to get a job. You might need a master’s degree or some experience related to that job. For example, if you want to be a web developer, just having a Computer Science degree might not be enough; you might need to develop some websites on your own and make a portfolio in your free time to present to employers and prove your skills. Narrow down your job list to those whose requirements you believe you can fulfill in the next few years.

Step 6:

You have a relatively good idea of the programs you’re interested in and what jobs they have to offer. Now you can select the one you are most interested in and go for it!

Note that not all programs are available in all universities. So, whether you’ll study the program you choose depends on where you want to study and how much you can afford. You might discover you can’t find the program at an affordable university, or you might find after you’ve begun your studies that you’re not as interested in the program anymore, or it’s probably more challenging than you imagined. At least you’ll still have some idea of possible alternatives since you did your research early on. So, you’ll feel more confident in finding another program that’s available at an affordable university or in changing your program if you have to. Lastly, this is not a set-in-stone method that would guarantee success because life is so unpredictable. But at least it might be of some help!