Options for High School Students with Uncertain Future Plans

Teen Girl with BackpackAcross Long Island, high school students are finalizing their college plans for the fall. Yet there are many students that, for a variety of reasons, have not yet applied or were not accepted into schools they had applied to. These students still have choices to make. The Long Island Mamas Network put together a list of options for high school students with uncertain future plans.



Paying the Bill

Sometimes students hesitate to apply to college because they fear the cost. While students will likely have to pay for a portion of their education, the total cost is determined by several factors. At this time financial aid is still available for students. The FAFSA is the gateway for students to receive financial aid for any accredited post-secondary program. While there is no deadline for FAFSA, funds at many schools are limited. Students that hope to attend any kind of post-secondary school should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Apply for Spring Term

Typically students will graduate high school in June and aim to start college in August/September. While most application deadlines have passed for the fall term, students may still apply for the spring. The process is identical, though students should be mindful that certain programs may only start in the fall.

Online Classes

Internet-based classes and degrees appeal to a motivated self-starter. Students with health issues, teen parents, full-time employees or anyone else that needs a flexible school schedule may opt to get their education online.

Apply to Schools with “Rolling Admissions”

Many colleges have specific application deadlines, usually closing several months before classes begin. Others have a policy called “rolling admissions.” There is no set application deadline. The school continues to admit students until every seat is filled. Students applying to colleges with rolling admissions policies should still register as soon as possible to ensure a seat in their preferred courses. For more information on Long Island options, visit the SUNY Suffolk and Nassau Community College websites.

Apply to Certificate Programs / “Trade Schools”

Some fields do not require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Certificate–granting programs (also known as “trade schools”) train a student for a specific job. Typically certificate programs take less time to attain and are less costly than an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Their deadlines and start times may be slightly different than a traditional school calendar. Some options on Long Island include Nassau BOCES, Wilson Tech and Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

Gap Year Programs

Students may opt out of going to any kind of post-secondary school. These students may be well suited to “gap year” programs, which allow students to travel internationally, learn another language and/or participate in community service activities. The program length and locations vary. In addition to the programs listed below, interested families are encouraged to contact their child’s guidance counselor for other opportunities.

USA Gap Year Fairs

AFS USA Study Abroad Programs



Many high school students choose to enter the workforce after graduation. They may not need a college degree for their future career or may not have an interest in continuing their education at this time. These students should contact their school counselor for assistance in formatting a resume. From there, students seeking meaningful employment are encouraged to visit local career fairs. Local job fairs are great resources.


New York Job Fair Recruitments

Choice Career Fairs on Long Island

Related Articles on Long Island Mamas Network

Resume Writing Job Hunting and Interview Skills for High School Students

Guide to College Applications and Financial Aid

College Entrance Exams FAQs

Interpreting College Financial Aid Packages 


By Rachel Minkowsky

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

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