I’m Graduating… Now What?

Tayawna, a senior at CASTayawna, a senior at CAS

Across the country, the class of 2021 is making decisions about what’s next after high school. CYD students at our schools celebrated May College and Career Decision Days with festive virtual events, gift bags, and plenty of heartfelt congratulations from their teachers and advisors. But with graduation just around the corner, what happens now?

At CYD, the work of preparing young people for success after high school continues. Advisors work one-on-one with students to help them chart out their own plans, from college to job training to entering the workforce. “Our goal is for all of our graduates to have conversations with the college and career teams and leave with a postsecondary plan,” explained Margaret Aylward, CYD Assistant Executive Director. “We want to help students get a 360 degree look at their options. And since we know that most of our students – whether they’re going to college or not – will need to work, we also focus on workplace readiness.” CYD holds workshops and individual counseling on résumés and cover letters, job searching, career exploration, training programs, and more.

CYD advisors at City-As-School hosted a workshop on “Avoiding College and Career Pitfalls,” and shared valuable advice about staying on top of financial aid requirements, managing adult responsibilities, and succeeding in your first job. “In college, you have to stay organized and use every bit of time that you have,” Tomiko Abreu said. “I worked while getting my degree and often completed assignments during my daily commute on the Staten Island Ferry.” For students getting started in their careers, they shared valuable advice about professionalism, constructive criticism, and getting the most out of every job. “The grass isn’t always greener,” Carolina Moquete explained. “Always seek to learn more and go the extra mile. And if you are truly unhappy, be intentional about your next move.”

Noah, a graduate of CAS

Traditionally, close to 90% of graduates from the High School for Health Professions and Human Services enroll in college. CYD has created guides and checklists for the students as they finalize their financial aid and prepare for course registration. HPHS Advisors also organized alumni panels for students to get advice from those in their shoes just a few years ago. Lesset, a nursing student at LIU Brooklyn Campus shared that one of her biggest learnings was that “college is not like high school where teachers help you through everything. You have to advocate for yourself.” Students also got advice about the challenges of attending predominantly white institutions. Symphony, now attending Syracuse University, advised students that, “sometimes you’ll be the only person of color in a class, but once you’re in social settings and join clubs, you’ll find more people who look like you.”

Across all of our schools, one of CYD’s primary goals is to help students and families plan for the financial realities of college. “We aim to have no student take out a single dollar in loans,” Advisor Sebastian Munn explained. “We help with financial aid applications, scholarships – whatever it takes so a young person isn’t burdened with debt.”

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