The survival guide after high school


Owen Mullen

A cap laying in the grass of the outside world

Congratulations, you have finally completed high school and are now ready to embark on adulthood. However, you may be wondering what to do next and what steps you should take. In this article, we will provide useful information on different topics and concerns that may be relevant after graduating high school.


Having a roof over your head
When starting out on your own, it’s important to decide where to live. Most high school students won’t have an apartment or house right after graduation, so they may need to stay with their parents for a while. It’s important to remember that once you turn 18, your parents are no longer legally obligated to care for you. If you choose to stay with them, it’s important to show respect by doing more household chores.

Once you have found a place to stay, whether it’s with your parents, in an apartment, or with friends, you will eventually be required to pay someone for living expenses. This means you will need to get a job.


Finding a job isn’t as difficult as some may think. One easy source for job openings is the internet, or you could ask around until you find job opportunities. It’s best to prepare for job interviews by seeking sources online or asking people you know who have worked in the past or are currently employed.

Creating a spreadsheet to track your earnings, expenses, bills, and taxes can help you manage your finances and give you an accurate picture of where your money is going. This way, you can ensure you have enough money for necessary expenses like water, electricity, internet, food, and laundry before spending on wants.

When it comes to payment methods, you have several options such as cash, debit or credit cards, and checks. The way you pay can affect how much you spend, save, owe, and how secure your money is.

Using cash can help you stick to a specific budget, which can be helpful if you have poor spending habits. Additionally, there are no interest charges when using cash.

However, the downside of using cash is that it is less secure. If you lose it, you won’t be able to get it back. Cash is also less convenient because it is not always accepted, and cash savings may not cover unexpected expenses.

A credit card is a card that allows you to borrow money with the agreement that you will pay it back. Some benefits of using credit cards include rewards such as cashback offers for purchases, and the ability to cover unexpected expenses.

One important benefit is the potential to build a good credit history. By using your credit card responsibly and paying your credit card bill on time, you can improve your credit score. This can help you qualify for better terms on loans in the future.

However, the downside of using credit cards is that it requires discipline. If you overspend, you could hurt your credit score and have worse loan terms. Additionally, if you do not pay what you owe on time, interest charges can accumulate and increase the amount you originally owed.

A debit card allows you to spend your money digitally from your bank account. The pros of using a debit card include avoiding accumulation of debt, little to no fees, no interest charges, and being able to manage your spending since you are using money you already have. However, the cons include limited fraud protection and no impact on your credit score.

It’s important to note that using a debit card may cause overdraft fees. If you accidentally spend more than you have in your account, it could cost you. You do have the option to opt out of overdraft consent, but this means your debit card will be declined for purchases you can’t afford.

Loans are borrowed money that banks, also known as lenders, can loan to borrowers. However, this money is not free. In fact, borrowers are required to pay back a certain amount of money each month, called interest. If a borrower fails to pay, the bank can seize their assets, such as their car. It is important to be aware that interest rates are not fixed and can be risky.

To calculate your total loan payment, you will need an online loan calculator and three numbers: the amount of money borrowed, the interest rate, and the term. The term refers to how long it will take to pay the loan back. The shorter the term, the larger the monthly loan payment will be. While having a short term may seem bad, it can lead to an easier time with interest rates and less interest charged over the life of the loan.


Seeking a higher level of education may seem straightforward, but there are nuances to consider. To clear up any confusion, colleges typically accept undergraduate students, are usually smaller than universities, and are mostly privately funded. In contrast, universities accept both undergraduate and postgraduate students, are typically larger than colleges, and are mostly publicly funded.

Before anything else, you should apply to as many schools as possible, even if you don’t think you would want to attend a particular school. This is because you won’t be 100% certain if you’ll be accepted or not most of the time. You should start applying around summertime before senior year until the end of November. You can still apply later, but it would make things a lot easier if you use school resources.

A good way to relieve stress is to plan where you will get the money to pay for your education, housing, and other expenses.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
The FAFSA is a form that you must fill out to receive financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college or university. The FAFSA if required for many other student aid opportunities, so it is the best place to start.

Filling out the FAFSA gives to opportunity to receive federal aid for college or university through the Pell Grant. This grant is awarded to undergraduate students to cover expenses such as tuition fees and housing. Since it is a grant, it does not need to be paid back. However, the amount of the grant will depend on other factors, such as the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), their status as a student, and the college or university they attend.

This might be the most common subject that comes up during a conversation about college. Scholarships come in different forms like private which are awarded by private sector organizations like foundations or businesses. Then there’s institutional, where they are awarded by your college. Now make sure you apply for FAFSA because lots of scholarships require FAFSA, but you may also be required to fill out a CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile, which involves more detailed financial information than the FAFSA.

Some benefits that come is that the FAFSA helps with education costs obviously, but it also can add to state and federal assistance, decrease need for loans and it can provide you more time to study since money won’t be as big of an issue. You should start applying for scholarships around the same time you apply for schools, so during the spring. If you need help finding or obtaining a scholarship you can ask help from the school’s scholarship center that you plan on going to, the U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool or your high school’s college/career advisor because they want to help you.


Now there are other things to consider and all of this may seem overwhelming and scary, but things aren’t always gonna be hard. Many people have the time of their lives after high school and after some time things will be easier and yes, there will be hard times, but everyone will have to deal with it. It is important to remember that we are in a generation that has more ways to ask for help than ever before, so be sure to be willing to ask for it.