What Are Some Good Options for My Undecided High School Senior?

high school seniors
high school seniors

What Are Some Good Options for My Undecided High School Senior?

It’s closing in on the start of a new school year and your high school senior is more confused than ever. With COVID-19 leaving school districts in disarray and students—and their parents—unsure of whether schools will even fully open, there’s a lot of confusion to go around. But your kid was undecided even before all of this. Their friends seem to have all the answers (they don’t) and they plan to go to four-year colleges. But that doesn’t seem a natural fit for your student. So how do you guide them?

Talk Education Finance First

College debt is making people think twice about four-year degrees. Did you know that college costs have increased 500% since 1985? With the cost of college rising, mounting uncertainty during the pandemic, and long-term student loan debt, many students are rethinking their investment in higher education. And the job market for today’s college grad is the worst in a long time. The cost/benefit equation seems to change every day. A traditional bachelor’s degree may be an okay path for some students, but career schools offer students the opportunity to learn and earn more quickly in fields that remain in demand. Do you want your student saddled with debt for years to come with grim prospects for a job? Or would a wiser way forward be a career in the trades?

Explore the Trades for a Profession

Projected job growth in the trades continues to be positive, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects better than average employment through 2028. There’s actually a labor shortage for many Trades professions because Baby Boomers are retiring and there aren’t enough young people stepping in to take their place.

Check Out Vocational Training Schools

Short-term training can provide long-term success. Many vocational schools offer programs that combine online instruction with hands-on training. If your student learns better by doing, these career training schools can be a good option. They also don’t force students to take courses unrelated to the field. For example, if your student considers plumbing, they will need to know math related to the field, but there’s no English Literature or Western Civilization courses.

Trade school programs provide students with efficient and affordable training that focuses on job essentials, hands-on practical training, and real-world knowledge. These programs are often shorter than traditional college, allowing your student to join the workforce and begin building a career earlier.

Choose Vocational Programs Related to Interests

There are lots of different career options within the Trades. You might automatically think of Plumbers and Electricians, both good careers with solid prospects. But other career paths that don’t require a four-year degree include Automotive Technicians, Cosmetologists, CADD Drafters, HVAC Techs, and Medical Assistants.

What area would your student be most interested in? If they want to help others, that may mean a career in healthcare. If they’re stylish and creative, maybe a career in the beauty industry as a Cosmetologist would be right for them. Always loved autos? Have them check out becoming an Auto Mechanic.


If your student is unsure of a career path, check out the career training programs at Porter and Chester Institute. With more than 75 years educating workers in the New England area and close ties to area businesses, we have the experience to help your student start and build a rewarding career.