When should a student start to prepare for life after high school? As early as possible.  The process should start no later than middle school. The transition to high school can be a crucial time to putting students on a successful post-secondary education path; be it college, or other forms of education/training.

Guidelines, Tips and more…


When should a student start to prepare for life after high school? As early as possible.  The process should start no later than middle school. The transition to high school can be a crucial time to putting students on a successful post-secondary education path; be it college, or other forms of education/training.

Student shouldn’t wait until high school to see a guidance counselor.  They are key to helping students by encouraging them to look at their interests, strengths and academic habits, helping them to understand the basic concepts of post-secondary options available to them and encouraging students to understand how they can build a profile and network that will help them reach their post high school goals. 

Here are three steps to help you get started. CPAP (Comprehensive Preparation Assistance Program) is a step by step resource center that partners with students and parents to help make the process as seamless as possible.


Purpose:  CPAP will help students define who they are, prepare for life after graduating from high school, and shape how their current interests can relate to future careers and provide in-depth insight into the career(s) they are interested in.

Objectives:  Teach students to:

  • Share thoughts with peers who have similar interests
  • Learn how their interests can serve to help them in meeting their future goals
  • Find more about possible careers and how to search for more information on them.
  • Get a better idea of who they are.

SESSION II:  Should I Go to College?

Purpose:  CPAP helps students to examine whether the traditional college experience will be the best fit for them, and how it could make a difference in their lives – or whether community college (a shorter road) or technical (or trade) school is more suitable. They will learn how either option can help them meet their goals and achieve financial success.  They also get to discuss other options for reaching their goals.

OBJECTIVE:  Provide students with information:

  • A clear view of what a college experience is.
  • Learn many careers require a college degree.
  • Learn about the different types of colleges.
  • Learn about other options to reach their goals.
  • Learn the benefits of a college degree, an associate degree or certification.

What College is Best for Me?

PURPOSE:  CPAP provides a huge data base of information about careers after college that a full-time college degree, a community college associate/certification and a trade school certificate has to offer. It is designed to help students understand that there exists a vast array of possibilities. From middle school to high school, students are encouraged to begin thinking about what they value and what they may look for in a post-education environment. The STEM program presents an exciting opportunity to stimulate this train of preparation.

CPAP provides the resources available for assisting students and parents in processing their educational opportunities.

OBJECTIVE: Students will:

  • Have an understanding of the differences between full-time college, community college and the trade school experiences.
  • Gain an understanding of career opportunities they offer.
  • Be introduced to the CPAP resources available to help them make better choices about their future.

What colleges are still accepting applications?

Applications due dates vary from school to school. CPAP supports student’s searches and offers other preparation information.  

Note: Be sure to confirm the dates with the school(s) you select. Colleges vary in scheduling deadlines and submission of the applications and other qualifying information.

CPAP has a comprehensive update system to provide applicants with relevant information and support.

The pandemic has caused the educational systems to reset. But, students and athletes who are in their graduation season have to still abide by the deadlines, etc. schools adhere to.
CPAP is a free assistance to help you stay on track. 

Here are three practical suggestions:

First, consider the reasons why you’re behind schedule: The unsecure school environment has caused the regular routines to alter or either be cancelled. This can lead to procrastination and is suggested that it is rooted in fear more so than in laziness, so you’re determined,  you will have to adjust to change. Making the right choices require some preparation. it pays to start early.

1. The application process. Maybe you aren’t certain about the schools you have selected, or maybe you’re worried that you might not meet the qualifications, among other things.

Running out of time. Take a moment to reflect on how important it is to your future. Imagine finding yourself at home when your friends leave for college next year and use that feeling as motivation to make time for completing the applications.
Once you identify the issues that are holding you back, then you can begin looking for solutions.     

Consider college tours. If you’re not sure about your prospective schools, taking a tour will give you a chance to sample different campuses. If you’re nervous about your prospective schools not being the right fit, consider taking another campus visit if you are able to. If you can’t afford to take another tour, go online and do a virtual tour of several campuses and connect with current students through school forums or social media to get a personal perspective of the school.

2. Organize your personal Priorities: family obligations, school projects, volunteer work and college applications… what are your options… what is essential?

Testing. You may consider retaking the ACT or SAT. If your standardized test scores are in an acceptable range or the schools on your short list, consider spending time instead on the essential components of your applications, such as your applications or letters or recommendation.

Take a moment to reflect on how important college is to your future. If a full-time college is not feasible right now, consider your other options- community college (reduced cost and options to transfer to a 4-year college later) or a trade/technical school. Once you have defined the issues that are holding you back, begin looking for solutions. 

If you’re concerned about the strength of your resume, essays and other applications (funding, etc.), ask a parent, teacher or other trusted adult can review them for you and give honest feedback on areas you can improve to make it truly stand out.

3. Prioritize your remaining tasks: Take inventory of your other tasks, including family obligations, school projects, volunteer work and college applications. Which tasks are optional and which are essential?

CPAP (Comprehensive Preparatory Assistance Program) is your one stop resource center that help make this a seamless process.

(Brian Witte is a contributor to this article)

About Us

Black College Sports & Education Foundation – the gateway to
unlimited access to Historically
Black Colleges and Universities.
We offer a  free Comprehensive Preparatory Assistance Program .

Our Mission

Provide a seamless transition for prospective students and athletes who wish to attend an HBCU. 
Support the preservation of HBCUs through promotion and recruitment.

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