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Life After Wheaton North

By: Lena Forbes

Senior year is a balance between classes, homework, extracurriculars, college applications, deciding what you want to do with your future, and this year, we added a pandemic on top of this already overflowing list. We have been told vague explanations about the many possible routes that can be taken post-high school, but the college route is usually advertised more. The burning questions are, what are the options, and what is the class of 2021 planning for their lives after Wheaton North?

Join the Military:

Another option that students have after graduation is to join the military. This is a great way for students to learn many valuable skills, honorably serve their country, and have a fully-funded college education. Some students will also go to schools such as the US Naval Academy, which involves earning a fully funded Bachelor’s degree as well as training for the Navy or Marine Corps before you serve your time in the military.

“I’m not sure where I’m going to college yet, but I want to live by the mountains in the future" -Luke Johnson

Trade School:

While not discussed as much as the university option, attending a trade school is another great option for students. This option is much more affordable, it often is a two-year maximum, there are usually no general education requirements, and students get an education specific to their interest. Trade school is the best route for students planning to specialize in a skill such as plumbing, electrical, welding, cosmetology, etc. Another similar route that people planning to go into the trades take is an apprenticeship, this would involve learning by working directly with a “master” of whatever skill or career you are working to become.

“I'm staying in Wheaton for college, but after college, I'm hoping to move to Alaska!” - Allison Taylor

Gap Year:

Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are beginning to consider taking a gap year between high school and college. This can look different for each person: some take the year to work and earn money to help fund their college education, others take the opportunity to travel the world, some do months of volunteer work within or outside of the US, and others simply stay home to help out their families. This is a great opportunity to explore the world you live in as well as your options for the future.

“As long as I end up somewhere with good people and at least some kind of a plan for the future, whatever it may be, I’ll be happy” - Maria Haworth

Two-Year University:

The two-year university option is appealing because of the lower cost and closeness to home. Many students work towards an Associate’s degree at one of these universities, meaning that they are only in college for two years, and leave with a degree that can get them a job as a chef, air traffic controller, technician, etc. Others start at a two-year college to earn some credit hours at a more cost-effective price and eventually go to a four-year university to leave with a Bachelor’s degree.

“Because of COVID-19, it’s possible that universities will be shut down when I start in the fall, and if that’s the case I don’t want to spend so much money on tuition just for online school...so if I can’t go in person to my university, my backup plan is to do a year at COD to get my general eds out of the way and then transfer to my university the next year” - Abby Wells

Four-Year University:

This is definitely the post-graduation route that students are the most educated about. It usually involves applying in the fall or winter of your senior year to a couple of schools, getting accepted throughout the year, and finally making a decision about what school you will attend in the future. Many students are offered scholarships, both academically and for their athletic abilities, as an attempt to offset the immensely high tuition costs. Once they are committed to a university, students will attend for four years and earn a Bachelor’s degree.

“I have wanted to be a teacher since middle school and I think the pandemic has only amplified that desire for me. I feel like this time has highlighted the importance of school and our academic community, as well as its impact, which is one of the reasons why I want to be a teacher so badly: it is such an influential and vital career!” - Sage Sorensen

If you are a senior, what are your plans? Tell us in this poll!

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