So many of our teens and young adults that are getting ready to go from high school out into the world are wondering if they are ready for the next phase of their lives. The big question is, “what to do next?” A few already know that they want to go to college. But what if you are not ready to go to college or don’t have the funds to afford college? What alternatives are out there for you? How do you go from being in your parent’s home to being an independent young adult? What basic life skills do you need to make it? So many teens are faced with the decision of getting a job, going to college, or joining the military. You don’t become an adult just by turning 18.

Below are a few suggestions of things you can consider:

Check with your School Guidance Counselor

While still in school, check with the counselor to see what you need to get into college. Ask for information on community colleges, in addition to four-year colleges. Find out if your counselor knows about apprenticeship programs that you may be eligible to attend. Check to see what scholarships you can get by filling out the FAFSA form. If you are in a situation where you cannot get your parent’s financial information, you may still be able to fill out the FAFSA form. Check out this article from Federal Student Aid to find out what options are available when your parents are unwilling to provide their financial information.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

There are different apprenticeship programs that you can take advantage of. Some are even offered at your local community college or high school. Some of the programs will pay you as you train for your position. The Charles County Public Schools website will give you information on the Apprenticeship in Maryland Program. The Maryland Department of Labor has information about the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Program (MATP), and the College of Southern Maryland participates in the MATP program. The minimum age for the apprenticeship program is 16 years old.

Basic Life Skills 

Can I live on my own once I turn 18 years old? That is a really important question. Do you know basic life skills that will help you to transition out of your parent’s home? The following questions will help you determine if you are ready. Some of this information can be found in books that your library will carry. Some libraries may even offer programs on basic life skills.

  1. Do I have a bank account? Both checking and savings accounts?
  2. Do I know how to rent an apartment or room in a home?
  3. How do I safely find a roommate?
  4. Do I know how to budget for my necessities (i.e., rent, food, insurance, gas, etc.)?
  5. Do I know how to cook nutritious meals?
  6. Do I know how to do laundry and clean my apartment?
  7. Do I know how to file my taxes?
  8. Can I afford a car?
  9. Do I know how to manage my time? 
  10. Can I afford to go out for entertainment?
  11. Do I understand how credit and debit cards work? 

For Further Information

Check out our College Bound Series, where Tamara Baptiste-Wallace (The College Application Specialist) demystifies the college application process, including financial aid and the Common App, presented on Crowdcast!

Search CCPL’s COSMOS Catalog for more resources for Emerging Adults on preparing for your next steps.  Here are a few titles to get you started.

Life Skills 101 by Tina Pestalozzi