Life Beyond Graduation: Preparing for what’s next


Emery Watson

Students of GEHS working hard in their class to obtain information needed for after high school.

Madeline Clark, Reporter

After walking across the graduation stage in Kansas, about 65% of high school graduates go directly to college. However, other options are available.


The Career and Life Planning class at GEHS prepares students for a pathway to success. Mrs. Amanda Newburg is one of the current Career and Life Planning teachers. 

“We start with a lot of self-exploration, knowing what your personality is and what your interests are,” Mrs. Newburg said. “Then we move into career exploration, which really is aligning those interests with possible career paths out there.”

Newburg believes this sets up young students to figure out what they are interested in and filter out what they aren’t so interested in. 

“The purpose of this class for the students is not to determine what they are going to do for the rest of their lives, but think about, ‘What am I going to do or what classes am I enjoying right now that could possibly align with a career path?’” Mrs. Newburg said. 


Self-exploration can play a big part in career development and future plans. The first step to any strong plan is self-assessment.  

Options like trade schools such as Olathe Advanced Technical Center (offering courses for automotive, CNA, electricians, and more) and Kilo Charlie Aviation (to learn how to become a pilot) can be good technical pathways for students. 


The student loan debt statistics show that 43.2 million student borrowers are in debt of about $39,351 each. That’s about 30% of college attendees currently in debt. However, there are many student-action plans to achieve a low amount of debt, including scholarships. Although college is not for everyone, it is available to anyone who would want to attend. 

“After high school, I would like to go to a 4-year university and major in biology and hope to become a forensic analyst,” senior Cayla Peacher said. “Right now I’m interested in going to college in the Northeast, specifically the University of New Haven in Connecticut.” 

Peacher relied on her interest to choose her future path.

“Ever since I was younger I always watched like criminal justice shows, specifically Criminal Minds,” Peacher said. “And I always thought it was super interesting getting to solve something.”

With her college of choice being far away, Peacher gave advice for younger students having to make this type of decision in the future. 

“Don’t let anyone else influence your choices directly, do the thing that will make you happy,” Peacher said.

Colleges such as Johnson County Community College and Fort Scott Community College can be great ways for students to further their education, earning an associate’s degree in two years.  A four-year university can also be a good choice for more education and a specialized degree. Seniors interested in learning more about specific colleges can talk with the reps from the following schools as they visit GEHS:

  • 10/6/21 – University of Northern Iowa
  • 10/8/21 – Lindenwood University
  • 10/21/21 – University of Kansas
  • 10/21/21 – Donnelly College
  • 10/26/21 – University of Central Missouri
  • 11/09/21 – Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • 11/10/21 – Fort Hays State University


Those looking for scholarships can rely on the counseling department’s Senior Scoop email that goes out each month. In the latest newsletter, the following scholarships were posted:

  • The Kansas Buffalo Association is offering a $1000 scholarship to a high school senior or first-year college freshman who is involved in raising bison and/or is planning to pursue a career in an agriculturally related field. Go to to find the scholarship application. The deadline to apply is 10/15/21.
  • The Kansas Promise Scholarship Act is available at all Kansas Community Colleges. Go to Kansas Promise Scholarship | KACCT to learn more about this new scholarship.
  • Wichita State University has many scholarships and financial aid information for you. Just go to [email protected] or for more information.
  • Here is a link to a great list of scholarships. It is organized by the popularity in web searches.
  • Butler Community College is offering Fine Arts and Communications scholarships. Anyone interested in music, mass communication, theatre, and visual art needs to go to to learn more.
  • Neosho County Community College is having a Panther Preview Day on Nov. 10th in Chanute and Nov. 9th in Ottawa. You can go to or for more information.
  • Washburn University is has several academic scholarship opportunities and several days to visit the campus. You can go to [email protected] and for more information.
  • K-State Alumni Association and the Wabash CannonBall Committee have teamed up to award 55 $2,500 scholarships to incoming freshmen. Please go to for more information.
  • Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus is holding several events on their campus. Go to for more information.
  • Haskell Indian Nations University is a historical Indigenous university in Lawrence, KS. It is a federally operated tribal university. Students who are enrolled members of a federally recognized Nation may attend tuition free. For more information, go to
  • McPherson College is offering a new scholarship just for Kansas students called The Kansas Commitment Scholarship. It will cover the cost of tuition. They also offer other scholarships, plus a Student Debt Project. For more information go to
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is test-optional for both admissions and scholarships. Go to and