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Please help me, I don't know anything about how to secure my future

SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
I'm a junior at high school right now and I do not know anything at all about what I can do to make sure I make a comfortable income for the rest of my life. I know nothing about what college to go to or even how going to what level of college (as in prestige) is going to affect me in my life.

Please tell me anything you know about how to start in high school and end up with an income. Please tell me the steps in detail from applying to a college, to what to do when you get to college, to the jobs I can get from what I do during college. Or you can tell me any advice you have at all, please.

Absolutely any help you give me is wildly appreciated. Give me whatever advice you have about going to college and how it will impact me financially. Or just any college advice at all, really. I would greatly appreciate it.
16 replies
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Replies to: Please help me, I don't know anything about how to secure my future

  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 357 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    Learn to work and help others. Use your time and talents to help your family, neighbors, school, or community. Volunteer, get experience, care about your community and help others.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9226 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 14
    Your first stop should be to make an appointment at your HS guidance center to meet with your counselor. Ask what you need to do now to get started with the process.

    The type of college you need to attend is the one that you can afford and get into. Prestige shouldn’t be part of the equation. Talk to your parents now about what they can afford to pay. Their answer will shape your list. You want to have a list of colleges where your grades and test scores are hopefully at or above the 50th percentile of accepted students. There’s a college match tool here on CC. If your school has naviance, use it.

    Google College Planning timeline. You will find several. Start doing what they suggest. Get a college guidebook at the library or a bookstore. Those are a good place to begin. One important thing to think about, maybe just after Christmas break, is which two teachers you can ask for recommendations.

    You do not plan your entire life career when you are a junior in college. You take the first steps. Get a job, or volunteer experience. Those experiences will lead to other jobs. The opportunities you find in college will lead to still other jobs. One day, maybe in 7-10 years, you will find that you are starting your career and you will realize that the questions you are asking now are unanswerable at this point. You can’t suddenly become a bill paying adult right now as a 16 year old. Just let life happen.
    edited September 14
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    College is proven to be highly related to income levels. It is absolutely NOT the only path to economic success.
    That being said, what matters at this stage is your coursework in HS. Are you taking college prep classes? Or the lowest level courses your school offers? Are you on a path to complete the slate of courses many colleges require? (Four years of math, English)? That is a first step for you. Check out a couple college’s admission pages on their websites. They are all pretty much the same.
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hey, this is really detailed and looks very useful. I looked up college planning timelines and its nice to get that much new insight. Thanks for taking time out of your day for this.

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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Yeah, checking out colleges' websites sounds like a good idea. Definitely more reassuring than just generalizing articles. Thanks for the advice.
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Yeah, getting more involved with that kind of stuff seems like a good idea. Thanks!
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hey I'm sorry to anyone on this thread about how frantic and probing I sounded in my post, honestly feels rude to address anyone who cares enough to read it that way. Its my first time posting on a forum and I'd like to be more cordial in the future. Thanks to anyone who replied!
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8923 replies333 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We were all beginners once. Please keep us updated on your progress. We'll do our best to help.
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  • NYCgirl999NYCgirl999 17 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This post just breaks my heart.

    1. You cannot prepare for the rest of your life at 16-17. Not even at 40. We live in a dynamic world that is constantly changing. There is no such thing as security, so you might as well stop worrying about it. You are seriously way too young to worry about it.

    2. No college or college degree guarantees success in life. I have met highly successful high school dropouts and people who went to top-20 schools and can barely make the ends meet. Obviously, college grads on average make more than non-college grads, so a degree is useful (sometimes just to make it past the HR screening algorithm), but brand name and major are much less important than you think. Undergrad majors have very little correlation with actual jobs. Once you are in the real world, your abilities will matter far more than what is on your diploma. My point is, don't worry about finding the perfect college for you as it will NOT define the rest of your life. Pick the best one you and your parents can afford , which has all or most of the majors of interest to you (since you might change them a few times by your junior year). A lot of kids also worry about the perfect college experience, but the reality is that everyone's experience is shaped by their own perceptions, so it will be what you make out of it.

    3. If you want to have a successful and financially rewarding career, find and cultivate your talents. To do well in the modern dynamic environment you need to have the ability to learn and adapt as well as critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills. Develop your interpersonal/soft skills as these cannot be replaced by a robot and are appreciated in almost every vocation. Your vocation/calling will find you when you least expect, and you will do well in any field or profession if you are passionate, committed to excellence, and utilizing your best abilities.

    4. Relax and enjoy the short time when you are young, have time, energy, and no bills to pay. It does not last very long. Have a little fun with your college selection, make it an adventure, not a chore. Imagine yourself at a great school where you are intellectually challenged and surrounded by passionate people (or whatever it is that floats your boat), and it will become reality.

    Best of luck on your journey!
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    @Squirrelflight You have nothing to be sorry about. You are doing fine, here. All want to help you.

    You are in the U.S.? If you read a lot on this website, you will read about of many people who seem to have it all figured out by age 17. But that is not at all typical.

    If you are in the U.S., there are many higher educational opportunities, many at community college, which are not very costly. You don’t have to start out full-blast at a four year college. You can start slow, at a community college, to figure things out and get more secure about what you like and what types of things would help you in the world of work.

    Everyone has their own path. To be happy, you have to follow your own. You have many gifts, some which you might not even know about yet! I promise this is true. Enjoy where you are now. Focus on being the best you can be, to others and to yourself. Your path will reveal itself as you do this. The world is FULL of opportunity.
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    This is all amazing and very interesting advice, and I think a lot of kids would benefit from hearing it. Thank you.
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I’m not updating this thread anymore. But huge thanks to the contributors for sharing all this excellent advice.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9226 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Squirrelflight , if you want to reply to particular people, just put @ next to the user name.

    After discussing the budget with your parents, an important thing to do as you make a list is to find schools you can get into. Try not to daydream too much about a college that sounds great. It’s really important to look at the grades and test score range of accepted students. So if you like the sound of XYZ College, google the Common Data Set for that college.

    Have a close look at the info in Section C. There you will see how many applied, how many were accepted, and important info about the stats of those who were accepted. You will also see what the college prioritizes when they read your app. Grades and test scores might be “very important”, but maybe work experience is only “considered.” At some super selective schools, Interest might be “not considered”, as opposed to other colleges where it might be ranked as “important.” By looking at the data of that school, you can figure out if you have a chance of getting in.

    You can also use some very helpful websites such as College Data, which has much of that info in one place, and Niche, which will give you a lot of info about what students think of their colleges. Those sites will also give you a very rough estimate at your chances of getting in. If your school has Naviance, utilize it, as it can also provide data that compares you to other (anonymous) students at your school and if they were accepted.

    It is good that you are thinking about this now. Don’t feel as though you’ll never catch up to kids who have been working in this for a while. There is plenty of time, and it’s good that you’re here looking for advice.
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  • SquirrelflightSquirrelflight 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @Lindagaf I talked to my parents about what colleges we can afford, it turns out they’ve saved up as much as they can and I have a lot of options. And most of them are achievable with my current grade. I’m very lucky to have their support. I just need to figure out my major now.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4214 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Talk to your guidance counselor in high school. The most common major at most universities is undecided. So that speaks volumes. The question is what do you like to study? What do you like to do? Are you passionate about anything? Like anything?

    Once you know the above then you can start to Google professions that have those skill sets. There will be many that do. Then start to look into those and see if anything strikes a cord with you. Don't worry to much about high income. Think more about what you would like to do first.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9226 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 15
    @Squirrelflight , there’s no need to do that, unless you plan to go for an major such as engineering or nursing. Students typically don’t declare a major until sophomore year of college, and often, not until near the end of that year. You have three whole years at least before you even need to think about it. Use your first year and half at college to explore what interests you. You are putting the cart before the horse. Try things out at college and let life happen for a little longer.

    Also, your parents have money saved, but do they have at least $30,000 a year saved? That’s close the the average yearly cost at most public universities. Be sure you know what they can afford per year. Otherwise, you might have to take out federal loans, and the government will only give you about $5500 a year.
    edited September 15
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