The Future for Seniors

Olivia Cooper and Heidi Schoenberg

After four years in high school, seniors are faced with the life decision of what’s next for their education and life plans. For some it might be heading off to college and studying for their dream job, or going straight into trade school and learning that trade, or going into one of the branches of the military. Depending on what comes next after receiving their diploma as a Comet, there are different steps for each student to go through while deciding, the counselors here at North Polk help guide each student through the final moments of high school. 

Jessica Allen, a North Polk High School Counselor, gave important statistics on how the senior class divides up in regards to what they will do after college. Allen states, “We typically have about 90% that go to college (4yr/2yr) and 10% that enter the workforce, a trade school/apprenticeship, or military.  Personally, I’ve seen more students interested in a trade school/apprenticeship this year.” 

Trade school is an option for students to learn practical skills in a career. Some students have decided on taking this pathway and diving straight into the working world. For Trent Culbertson trade school is his next path, wanting to study at the Cedar Rapids Electrical Training Center. 

“My step dad’s friend introduced it to me, and I found it exciting,” explained Culbertson. The overall goal for Culbertson is to become an electrician. Culbertson plans to go to trade school where he will get the material, knowledge, and hands on experience. 

Unlike Culbertson, a future Cyclone, Gabriel Basye plans on making his next chapter of his life studying to become an aerospace engineer. Bayse is excited to have more control over his schedule while still living on the campus. 

“Aerospace engineering because I want to do that for a living and maybe try to work on space projects or military projects,” stated Bayse. Studying on campus, with his own responsibilities and working closer to the end goal. 

For some trade schools and college is not the full plan, serving in the military is an outlet for many students. Here at North Polk there are a handful of students, males and females, that are taking their next step with the military. Janie Walter is planning to enter the Army.

Walter says, “One thing that has influenced my decision in joining the service is it helps with paying for college. Another influence is all the opportunities that will open up for me for my future, along with making new connections with people. Lastly, pushing myself as an individual mentally and physically.”  Between the experience and the different opportunities that surfaces from serving for our Country, Walter will still attend college but also serve. 

Counselors play a large role in helping seniors choose what path is right for them. Jory Houser, another North Polk High School Counselor, shared important steps that each student goes through to get them on the right path.

“The process starts back in middle school where we first give students career interest surveys,” Houser said. These career interest surveys help many students get an idea as to what they will want to do when they graduate. “Our requirements for highschool, in terms of classes, allows you to go into essentially any college.” 

As high school students near the end of their years at North Polk counselors, either Houser or Allen, will meet with them to see what the next year will look like in terms of getting ready for college. 

“In junior year, students will start taking “my majors” surveys, which starts to get students interested in majors they have always wanted to be in.” Other things that these counselors do to engage students in their future is send out lots of informational emails. “Whether it’s trades, schools or career fairs, jobs or anything else that relates to highschoolers future we make sure to send out.” North Polk and the counselors have been working hard on creating more and more opportunities for students seeking to expand their horizons even more. 

“Starting next semester, we are doing something called work based learning, which will be available to seniors and then hopefully juniors, this program will allow students to get college credit and also build a strong resume,” Houser said. This program should be very beneficial to anyone that knows what they want to do so they can go into their career with more knowledge and have more opportunities within those careers.