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A discussion of things to do in the future

Armed with this preliminary information, it's time to begin the research. Guidebooks, the Internet, and counselors at school are particularly helpful resources. As your teen chooses potential schools, start visiting campuses and talking with students who go there. Experts suggest narrowing the choices to a diverse mix of about six to 10 schools where the odds range from low to high for gaining admission.

Applications should be filled out completely and neatly, including the essay, which your teen should revise until confident that it's his or her best work. Many schools offer help in these areas. And don't cross college off the list because you're afraid the tuition will be too steep. Many kids can receive financial help.

For info about scholarships and other programs that may help, ask: Job Options If college isn't an option or your teen needs extra time to earn money for tuition, going directly into the work force offers many choices and benefits, such as health insurance and tuition reimbursement programs. Discipline, earning money, saving for college, learning a trade — all of this is often possible in the armed forces. Veterans are also entitled to many benefits both while in the service and after.

However, your teen should carefully explore all the pros and cons of a military career. After all, if teens don't like the service or if the thought of going to war seems too scary, they can't easily drop out. If your teen wants specific training through the military, make sure the contract he or she signs includes that. Getting a job immediately after high school remains a good choice.

  • In addition to books and magazine articles on subjects of interest, the librarian can be a wealth of information;
  • Ten Things to Consider Before You Make Investing Decisions Given recent market events, you may be wondering whether you should make changes to your investment portfolio.

Teens who go this route need to learn how to search for employment, write a resume, and develop interviewing skills.

Many companies reimburse their employees for continuing education in areas related to their employment. Your teen should ask about this benefit through the human resources departments of potential employers. Another option is an internship.

Over the course of a year, your teen could potentially participate in two or three internships to explore career choices. But most internships are unpaid, so planning ahead is crucial if your teen needs to save money for living expenses. Internships provide participants with the opportunity to learn about many facets of a particular career. They're also a great way to make contacts and develop mentoring relationships.

Helping Your Teen Decide What to Do After High School

Taking Time Off For some teens, taking a year off between high school and the "real world" can be beneficial. This can be a good time to travel, do community service, or even live in a foreign country before the responsibilities of life make it harder to do so.

Community service organizations offer a wide variety of choices that teens can match with their skills and interests. Americorps, for example, offers hundreds of programs across the United States with a small stipend, plus a chance to obtain money for college or vocational training.

Many religious organizations provide community service programs as well. However, teens should keep in mind that a brochure may look different from reality, such as with work and service camps in developing countries. They should expect difficulties but know that the rewards of community service often outweigh the hardships — and can actually change the direction of a person's life.

Speaking with previous participants should give a more realistic view than promotional material. And taking time off doesn't necessarily put a teen at a disadvantage for college admission. For many teens — especially those who choose an internship or international service — it can actually be an advantage. While researching colleges, find out if they have delayed admissions programs. If not, ask the colleges what their position is on students who take time off and a teen's chances of getting in if he or she reapplies.

Lesson Plan: Envisioning the Future, Starting Now

It's Your Teen's Life When the subject concerns the future, some teens may try to shrug it off. Here's how to get the ball rolling and keep communication flowing: Really listen to your teen and resist the temptation to provide unsolicited advice.

  1. Internships provide participants with the opportunity to learn about many facets of a particular career. Students identify and interview a family or community member they view as someone who can inform next steps in the educational and career journey.
  2. After all, if teens don't like the service or if the thought of going to war seems too scary, they can't easily drop out. Many schools offer help in these areas.
  3. Many schools offer help in these areas. Items might include thinking about what to study and finding schools that address that interest, or meeting college representatives.

If your teen is struggling to make a decision, a story or two about a tough choice you had to make could be very reassuring. Provide respect and support while giving up some control. Trying to direct your teen's future probably won't be a benefit in the long run.

  • Buy Low, Sell High -- Shifting money away from an asset category when it is doing well in favor an asset category that is doing poorly may not be easy, but it can be a wise move;
  • Speaking with previous participants should give a more realistic view than promotional material;
  • Also enlist the help of school counselors, who can help steer kids in the right direction or refer them to other good sources of information;
  • Avoid circumstances that can lead to fraud;
  • But most internships are unpaid, so planning ahead is crucial if your teen needs to save money for living expenses.

This is the time for teens to develop decision-making and problem-solving skills. Prepare your teen to be self-sufficient away from home. This includes making major decisions regarding dating, drugs, alcohol, and sex, as well as mastering day-to-day living skills cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, and managing a budget.

Don't be afraid to set limits on how much you can financially support a teen who decides to take time off. It's important for teens to learn independence. Where to Get Help The Internet is a good starting point for researching information on your teen's interests.

  • Have each student share one element from the list that is their first priority and offer one step they will take to begin addressing that element;
  • Consider dollar cost averaging;
  • Scam artists read the headlines, too;
  • In either case, rebalancing tends to work best when done on a relatively infrequent basis;
  • If you don't include enough risk in your portfolio, your investments may not earn a large enough return to meet your goal.

Also enlist the help of school counselors, who can help steer kids in the right direction or refer them to other good sources of information. And don't overlook your local library. In addition to books and magazine articles on subjects of interest, the librarian can be a wealth of information. There are many associations, both local and national, for thousands of occupations.

Find out where they're located and get information how to pursue particular career paths. Your teen may also be able to attend meetings or arrange to interview people at their workplaces to find out more about what they do. Make use of friends, relatives, or others you know in different industries.

After all, there's often nothing more flattering than having someone ask about what you do. Finally, resist the temptation to lecture and try to remain supportive and enthusiastic, even if your teen keeps changing his or her mind. Your teen needs your positive influence during this transitional time.