Debunking Three Myths About Decision-Making After High School Graduation

Arrows going in different directions with people looking forward.

As high school graduation gets closer, it’s becoming more and more common to hear, “What are your plans after high school?” I know I heard it and almost every single person I know has been asked the same or similar question. So, if you haven’t been asked yet—just wait, unfortunately, it’s probably coming.

If you do not have an answer to that question, you are not alone! A New York Post article from 2022 revealed the results of a survey conducted for Colorado State University Global, which looked at 2,000 adult’s thoughts about entering adulthood. According to the data, 34% of respondents didn’t have a plan and 17% who attended college stated they had no plans after senior year. Meanwhile, 41% didn’t even have a job lined up.

That’s means one-third of Americans admit that they have no plan after graduating from school—college OR high school!

Is that a bad thing? That’s for you to decide. But we want to help you debunk three post-high school decision-making myths:

Myth 1: Everyone has it all figured out except for me!

Fact: You’re probably looking around and thinking your peers and everyone else has it all figured out—that you are probably the only one in the entire universe who doesn’t. Hate to break it to you, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. There are still adults (including me) that are still learning, growing, upskilling, and navigating life. It’s important to be intentional and take time to figure out who you are—your likes or dislikes, and priorities. Take some time to fully engage in career readiness activities. Taking this approach will help you have a stronger self-awareness, which will lead you to be at the right place at the right time, meet new people and gain perspective to help shape the direction of your life! Self-discovery is key.

Myth 2: I don’t think college is for me, so there must be something wrong with me.

 Fact: Your path is your own and will be different from others. Take time to explore all your options. What sparks your interest? As you look at all the career options you may find the one that interests you the most does not require a college degree and that is okay! Ultimately, your goal should be to find a career that fits you best. How can you figure that out? Start by thinking about the various 4-H projects you’ve taken and how those can help with exploring different career opportunities. Attend various 4-H events to discover areas that might interest you. Get involved with leadership opportunities to gain skills that will transfer into any career choice. Talk with your county 4-H professional or 4-H adult volunteer—they may have ways to connect you with adults who have a similar career that you’re looking for!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 60 percent of new jobs will be in occupations that don’t require a college degree. Think of it this way, six out of 10 of your friends could land a job in a career field that doesn’t require going to college! A 2022 Career Outlook article takes a look at fast-growing occupations that pay well and don’t require a college degree. Take a look here.

Myth 3: I’ve got to decide what I’m going to do now because I’ll be stuck with this path for a lifetime.

Fact: Thinking about life after high school is an ongoing process. No one is expecting you to only have one career or even job in your lifetime. Be in the mindset to answer the question, “What am I going to do first?” As you experience life, you may identify occupations and careers that will be available that you didn’t even know existed. Change is inevitable and it can be positive if you embrace it. You have choices and opportunities to learn, grow, be resilient, and resourceful. Your 4-H experience has taught you this!


Author: Margo Long, program manager, Ohio 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways

Peer reviewed by: Christy Milhouse, educator, Ohio 4-H STEM



Debunking career decision-making myths. Career Center | University of North Texas. (2022, November 10). Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

Farrell, R., & Lawhorn, W. (2022, June). Fast-growing occupations that pay well and don’t require a college degree : Career Outlook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

Kato, B. (2022, June 2). One-third of Americans admit they had no life plan after graduating school. New York Post. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from



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