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Life after school

Leaving school is exciting but also confusing if you’re not sure what you want to do next. Don’t worry - we’re here to help!

P plater throwing school stuff out of car window

Dealing with the end of school is different for everyone

It might be scary, exciting, confusing or all of these things! 

  • You’ll probably be asked lots of questions about what you’ll do next
  • Lots of questions can be annoying or make you feel pressured if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do
  • There’s no right or wrong decision and you can always change your mind
  • A lot of young people we talk to don’t know what they want and that’s ok too

It’s a good time to think about things you enjoyed doing at school or what you find interesting or fun. This can guide your choices about what to do next.

Looking at your options

Avoid focusing on ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices. Instead, think about all the things you could do and how different options make you feel. You’ll be drawn to some options and not others.

Below are some common options but you can probably think of many more!

Travelling or taking a gap year
Studying at TAFE, college or at an institute
Studying at University
Doing another year of high school

You’re thinking about further study

A lot of young people think about going to TAFE, Uni or doing some kind of training course. Here are some things to help you take that first step:

Identify areas you’d like to learn more about or jobs you’d be interested in trying

Research different types of courses in your area of interest

Visit the place you’re thinking of studying at or talk to someone who goes there

Attend orientation or open days where you can ask questions

Look at the cost of the course and your eligibility for benefits from Centrelink

Find out who can help you on campus eg. counselling and health services and academic support

You want to get a job and start working

Sometimes young people decide that working and earning an income is the most important thing for them after leaving school.

If you’d like to get a job after leaving school, there are a few things you can do:   

  • Think about jobs or trades that you’d like to try
  • Learn about different kinds of organisations you’d like to work for
  • Make a list of your skills, what you’re good at and work experience
  • Learn how to write a resume and have someone check it over
  • Practice answering questions for an interview

Try and remember that the first job you’re offered may not be the job you ultimately want. And that’s ok! Just remind yourself that:

  • Trying different jobs gives you valuable work experience
  • Your first job may be a stepping stone to something else

You don’t need to decide what you’re doing forever, just what you’re doing next! - April, Kids Helpline Counsellor

If you’re still unsure…

Speaking to a careers counsellor or talking with friends can help you figure out the next step.

No matter if you’re finishing school now or in a couple of years… whatever stage you’re at we’re here to help!

Working through all the different choices can feel difficult.

If you need help, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email today.

If you would like individual online support to help you reach your work and study goals headspace Work and Study Online can help.

This content was last reviewed 13/07/2018

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