Top Tips for Recent Grads
- If your post-high school program sends you a mailing or an email, READ IT! They won’t send you information you don’t need. Don’t risk missing out on important deadlines, paperwork, or details because you didn’t read your mail.
- Use your voice! Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If you need help, ask for it. If you don’t understand something, speak up. You will need to be your own champion, so speak up for yourself.
- Ask as many questions as you need to until you get answers. There are so many new experiences after high school, especially if you’ve also left home. If the resources on this webpage aren’t quite right to answer your questions, don’t be afraid to ask your boss, professor, peers, landlord, parents, etc. This goes for classes, financial aid information, banks, and just about anything else.
- Many of your friends and peers feel just like you. Confused? Homesick? Worried? Leaving high school is a big life transition. Chances are most of the others in your post-high school program feel the same way. Reach out to others through clubs or other social or organized activities. Before you start, check to see if your program has a social media account. It can be a great way to meet and connect with peers.
Post-High School College Transition Resources
- Graduate Handbook: Next Steps for First-Year Students. Learn about critical next steps. Find information on resources and support, registration, tips for commuters, common stages in the first year, strategies for students planning to transfer, and financial aid.
- A Family Guide: Supporting Your Child After High School. Learn how to help your child be successful in college. (Available in Arabic, Chuukese, Marshallese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.)
- Did Your Financial Circumstances Change? You might be experiencing a change in income from what you reported on the financial aid application or what your previous year’s taxes reflected. You will need to connect with the financial aid department of the colleges where you applied. SwiftStudent is a free tool that helps students understand appeals and provides templates for writing a financial aid appeal letter. This tool does not share user data with third parties.
Did Your Plans Change? It is not too late!
Start planning your college or career pathway today! Washington has many options and supports to help you get the education or training you need. Financial aid and scholarships are available to keep costs down.
- Considering A Gap Year Due To COVID-19? Learn what you need to know about taking a gap year or deferring enrollment before making a decision.
- Explore potential educational programs and pathways using tools like the College & Career Compass.
- Consider Washington's public and private four year colleges and community and technical colleges.
- Look into apprenticeships, where you can earn money while learning a trade.
- Learn how national service opportunities can advance your education, as well as your career.
- Take time to think about your plan—then make sure you take all the steps to make your plan a reality.
- Use the financial aid calculator to see what type of Washington College Grant and/or Pell Grant you may be eligible to receive. Keep in mind these are only two of the many financial aid opportunities that you may be eligible for.
- Financial aid is money to help pay for college. It comes from the federal and state governments, colleges and universities, banks, and organizations. Applying for financial aid is a separate process from applying for admission to a college. You have to do both.
- To receive financial aid, you must apply for it using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or for students who are ineligible for federal aid due to immigration status, the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA). Colleges use the results of the FAFSA or WASFA to create a financial aid package specific to you.
- REMEMBER: You must file a financial aid application every year you plan to attend school. This means that you should complete a financial aid application after October 1st each year. The sooner you complete your financial aid application, the more aid you could potentially receive from colleges.
- There are dozens of FREE in-person and virtual events throughout the state in October and November if you need help filing your financial aid application. Visit https://wsac.wa.gov/12th-year-campaign for a list of dates and locations.
Additional Resources to Explore Your Options
- All About Apprenticeships. From the College Knowledge Project. Russian | Somali | Spanish | Vietnamese
- Become an Apprentice. The WA State Department of Labor and Industries can guide you through this pathway.
2- and 4-Year School Exploration and Preparation
- Big Future. Free, step-by-step approach college and career exploration and planning tool.
- Check Out a College. Information about Washington state community and technical colleges.
- College Affordability and Transparency Center. This site links to the College Scorecard, College Navigator, Net Price Calculator, and more!
- Get Schooled. A free, digital college and job advisor.
- Types of Colleges. From the College Knowledge Project. Russian | Somali | Spanish | Vietnamese
- Unigo.com. An online resource that allows you to explore colleges, connect with current students, and get expert advice on how to succeed in college and beyond.
- Career Bridge Washington. Washington’s one-stop source for career and education planning.
- Job Launch. The #1 job search tool for young people. Start searching for an entry-level position.
- O*Net Online. Career exploration tool, which showcases different jobs plus what knowledge, skills, abilities, personality, and education are helpful for that path.