Envisioning Life after High-School

In addition to the curriculum-based content we provide at STUDIO, we also want to provide youth with access to resources that will aid them in achieving their post high-school plans. Here’s some lesser known information about high-school and beyond that might help youth in planning for their futures.

During High School

Using Extracurriculars

High-school is a great opportunity to participate in activities known as extracurriculars that will not only help you grow as a person but also make yourself more marketable for jobs ands colleges once you graduate.

Nearly every four-year school or scholarships you will want to apply to requires that you complete an activity log of the different activities and extracurriculars you have done while in high-school. If you want to apply to a job, even the most entry level position will want to see some kind of demonstration that you are a responsible individual.

When thinking about extracurriculars you want to do while in high-school, quality is better than quality. You don’t have to be involved in multiple clubs in different leadership positions, what matters is that you have a meaningful experience in the club or clubs you are a part of. It’s also important to show that you are a consistent person. It’s much better to have been a part of a one club for three years than been in three different clubs for less a year each. Schools want to see you are a dedicated, committed person.

There are activities that you might not consider relevant to an activity log but in fact are. Sports are an extracurricular worth noting. Participating in a sport shows you can balance school work and the extra work that goes into being a student athlete. Involvement with a church or place of worship is also something you can write about that you might not have considered. If you worked while in high-school, you can talk about this too. All you need to do is show that you are a responsible, hard-working person outside of the classroom. Schools want to see you didn’t spend all your free time partying or playing video-games!

Even though it might not be apparent, extracurriculars are an important part of your high-school experience. If you’re not currently a part of an extracurricular, try and sign up for one! It will not only look good for future job and school prospects but will give you opportunities to grow into a leader.

What is the PSAT?

If you’re currently in high-school, you might have heard of the PSAT. The PSAT is a practice SAT test designed to give you an idea of what kind of score you would get if you took it. (In case you didn’t know, the SAT is a test you normally take before you attend a four-year university, it is part of the admissions process.) While it might not seem important being a practice test, you should take the PSAT seriously and try your best. The reason for this is because the PSAT is a way for you to earn scholarship money!

If you take the PSAT during your junior year and you earn a high enough score on your PSAT (high enough to be in the top 16,000 test-takers) you can become what’s called a national merit semifinalist. When you’re at this status you complete an additional application, which includes documenting your grades so far in high-school. After this part of the application, you can become a national merit finalist and be eligible to receive scholarships up to $2,500! Being a semifinalist or finalist are great awards to list on a resume or college application. Even though it’s just a practice test, the PSAT has the potential to give you real cash for college.

Get a “Running Start” on College

If you’re a current high-school student, you can (as the name implies) get a head start on your college career by enrolling in running start. Running start is a program where you will attend a local community college to take classes that will fulfill high-school graduation requirements and can also be used to fulfill college course requirements.

There are some things to consider however if you’re thinking about doing Running Start though. Your classes in Running Start may be significantly more difficult than your high school classes. You might find yourself dedicating much more time to your studies than previously. You’ll need a focused and determined mindset to succeed in these classes (which you will need for college anyways). It is also important to understand that since these are college classes, they will follow you for your entire college career. Even if you transfer schools, all colleges will want to see transcripts from the schools you attended. So, if having a high GP is important for you, (for example you want to get into a specific competitive undergraduate or graduate program) keep this in mind.

Another difference for Running Start is that while you will not have to pay tuition, you will have to pay for books and other supplies. The cost can usually be mitigated by buying used and other creative means. As a running start student, you will also be responsible for getting yourself to the community college campus. Yu will need to coordinate with family, friends, or yourself via public transit to get to school when you have Running Start.

Overall, Running Start is a great program to get a feel for college level coursework and get a jump start on your future, (ambitious students can even end up with an associate degree out of high-school), but you should reflect thoroughly before deciding to sign up.


If you want to attend a four year university in the state of Washington, before you graduate high school you will needed to complete certain classes. These certain classes are called College Academic Distribution Requirements or CADRs for short. To fulfill your CADRS you’ll need a certain number of classes for certain subject areas. For example, for English you’ll need four credits or years. There are important caveats for certain subject areas however. In English you can only use one year of ELL credit as part of your four-year requirement. That means that if you’re a senior and have done two years of ELL English during freshman and sophomore year, you’ll need to double up on English for the last year.

Also, it’s important to note that CADRs will be different from your high-school graduation requirements. You might need more or less classes in order to graduate high-school.

If you don’t complete your CADRs don’t worry, they’re just for four-year universities. You can still attend community colleges and private universities in the state of Washington. Be aware that universities in other states might have different subject requirements to attend a university there.

You can get a full list of Washington state CADR requirements at http://www.wsac.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2014.CADRS.Detailed.pdf

After High School

Two Tuition Free Years of College

If you’re a student at Chief Sealth International high school, you’ll be able to attend two years at South Seattle community college tuition free. Mayor Jenny Durkan recently enacted the Seattle Promise Tuition Program which guarantees two years of paid tuition at a local community college. All students are eligible regardless of income, grades, or citizenship. You’ll be able to study whatever you like at the college, whether it’s a certification or working towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

This program only applies to community college at the moment, but if you’re interested in attending a four-year university at some point, you can always spend the first two years of your college career at a community college and then transfer to a university.

An Alternative to College: Apprenticeships

There are many pathways to finding a career and a lot of them do not involve the traditional four-year university track. One potential career pathway is working as an apprentice. Apprenticeships are programs offered by employers, unions, and other independent programs where you can receive training and education to build the skills needed to perform a certain task. Electricians, plumbers, welders, firefighters, and mechanics are all examples of jobs that you can receive an education in through an apprenticeship. Licenses, certifications, and even degrees are the result of apprenticeship programs.

While doing an apprenticeship, you might receive in-classroom teaching, mentorship, and on the job site training. You will have ample opportunities to learn about your trade and how to apply what you learn to their actual real-world context. A college degree might not necessarily prepare you for a job in your career field, but an apprenticeship certainly will!

So how do you get started on an apprenticeship? To pursue an apprenticeship, you’ll usually need a high-school diploma, be 18 years of age or old, after often, you will need to be in good physical condition. From there you will need to find programs that currently looking for people and then complete an application. An application will look at documents like your resume, work experience and even demonstration of knowledge like high-school math classes. Different apprenticeships programs have different requirements to apply and join.  apprenticeship.lni.wa.gov is a great resource for apprenticeship programs in Washington state. After you apply and get accepted into a program, from then on, it’s as simple as attending classes and completing a program.

Apprenticeships are a great career path if you’re not interested in a pursing a degree at a four-year college. King County plumbers and pipe fitters can earn around$77/hr!