Stop Asking High School Grads This Question

College has always been a priority for our kids. It's been on their radar from a very young age and all three of them have had career aspirations that are met with a college degree. One thing I noticed a few years ago when we were starting to go to more and more graduation parties is that the assumption that a new high school grad is going on to college. It can be one of the hardest questions for a kid to answer if their path looks a little different. College has gotten hard to afford and there are many different paths a teen can take as they enter into adulthood. Here are some things I learned the hard way {from awkward conversations where I assumed!}, and some questions you can ask instead.


Stop Asking High School Grads This Question


Not every teen is college bound and if they are, it might look different for them than when you packed up your parents station wagon and moved into the dorms. Going the traditional college route can be very expensive and as we know, college isn't for everyone. 

Several years ago I started substitute teaching at my kids schools. I was already involved and helping in the classroom, so I figured I might as well get paid! That's when I learned how difficult the after graduation line of questioning could be for some students.

Some kids were the first in their family to graduate from high school, some had plans to go through trade programs, others weren't quite sure what they wanted to do and they needed time to sort it out. 

It's a scary time for teens moving into adulthood, and I realized how important thoughtful questions were from adults who genuinely cared.

It's closing in on graduation season, here are some thoughtful questions to ask graduates.


Do you have any fun plans after graduation?

This question gives students the opportunity to open up about literally anything! They could be excited about a big trip planned this summer, or a job opportunity. Maybe they do have college on the horizon, but maybe they don't. Simply asking this question allows you the opportunity to get to know the student a little bit more and to dive deeper into their passion and some things they are excited about.

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What's next for you?

High school graduation is an end. A definite closing point on a chapter, so asking what is next, will generally allow you to see what they have Simple as that. 

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What are you doing next year?

This is just another way of asking virtually the same thing as "what's next" without assuming a graduate is headed off to college. It gives them the opportunity to open up about their plans and share what the future holds for them. Until at least next year!

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What kind of things are you interested in?

So many young adults want to know what they are doing in life is going to make a difference. They are being a lot more calculated and intentional with their plans. They also may not really have all of the things figured out just yet. Asking a recent graduate what they are interested in, will allow you as a "grown up" to help seek out their passion. Maybe you have a similar passion or experience you could share with them. 

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graduation questions that are thoughtful

These thoughtful questions will help open up the door to conversation so that you can genuinely invest in a young adult. It will allow you the opportunity to get to really know a recent high school graduate and connect with them. Going to college is great, and it's a path many high school graduates take, but those who take a less traditional path, will appreciate being included in the conversation about their future too. 

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