May 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Life (and Learning) After High School: Exploring the Options

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undecidedFor every young adult with clear career goals, there are many more still seeking a niche that fits. Others are certain college is the right choice, but opt to take a break from academics for a bit. No matter where your students are headed, Genevieve Morgan’s Undecided: Navigating Life and Learning after High School (Zest/HMH, 2014) will help them navigate the road ahead. Speaking directly to high school students, the author begins with a section that employs quizzes and checklists to foster self-awareness, and offers constructive tips on preparing a post-high school plan. Additional chapters cover the ins and outs of college and trade schools; voluntary service—military, civil, and foreign; full-time employment; and options for the gap year. Throughout, Morgan provides handy worksheets and informative sidebars, along with short profiles of successful adults whose paths weren’t always clear-cut.

Another title to have on hand for the student in doubt is They Teach That in College!?: A Resource Guide to More Than 100 Interesting College Majors, 3rd Edition (College & Career Press, 2015) by Andrew Morkes. Arranged alphabetically, from “Alternative Fuels” to “Zoo Science,” each entry contains a general overview of the major, a list of typical classes, likely employers and career options, schools that offer course work, and additional sources of information, such as professional associations. Many entries incorporate a Q&A with a professor in the field; these interviews generally include a more detailed description of the typical program, the types of students the program appeals to, and the employment outlook. Morkes points out that the type of information he provides can change quickly, so students are encouraged to check out each school’s website for up-to-date course offerings.

college poorFor students headed off to college, there’s no shortage of advice. College Poor No More!: 100 $avings Tips for College Students (New Year Publishing, 2015) by Michelle Perry Higgins, a financial planner and a Wall Street Journal contributor, is a numbered list of easy-to-apply suggestions for stretching a limited budget. The author shares simple, steady financial advice and offers creative ideas for cutting costs on dating, clothing, food, and other typical expenses. Plus, Higgins promises that “100 percent of my profits from this book will go to providing scholarships for deserving students.”

In College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year (Prufrock Press, 2014), Julie Zeilinger, founder and editor of, a feminist blog for teens and college-age adults, dispenses frank peer-to-peer advice about academics, dorm life, sexuality, money matters, partying, and much more in a lively, up-front style. Written while she was still in college, Zeilinger’s guide represents a contemporary, feminist perspective.

Halley Bondy’s 77 Things You Absolutely Have To Do Before You Finish College (Zest/HMH, 2014) reminds college students to make the most of a time that often flies by. Suggestions cover dorm and apartment living, taking advantage of academic opportunities, building a social life, maintaining a healthy life style, making time for small indulgences, and planning for life beyond college. Whether it’s learning to cook or studying abroad, students are bound to find something here that enriches their college experience.


Curriculum Connections

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Alicia Eames About Alicia Eames

A former Brooklyn Public Library children's librarian and NYC public school teacher/librarian, Alicia Eames is a freelance editor and a frequent contributor to the SLJ’s Curriculum Connections “Professional Shelf” column.