Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Decisions! Decisons! Decisions! 
By: Kali K. Brand
Now that the Five Pillars of Post-secondary have been identified, how do you know which of these post-secondary five pillars or the combinations of these are the best for you? Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! and Planning! Planning! Planning! In the decision-making process, you must identify the decision to be made, identify the options (the post-secondary pillars), gather information, evaluate and review the information and facts, select an option from the post-secondary pillars, and develop a plan to achieve. 

Take a look at the Post-Secondary Decision Making Model, it will provide an outlin to structure the information being identified and process the relevant information about your future goal. 
Step One: Identify the decision to be made. In step one, you must understand what it is you want to accomplish with your life. Once you have envisioned your future, then the dream needs to be stated as a goal. To establish a goal, some questions you may want to consider include: What do I want to do after I graduate from high school? Where do I begin to make the transistion from high school to post-secondary? Where do I want to be in five years, ten years, or even fifteen years? What are my best choices to achieve my goal? 
Step Two:
Identify the options. You, as a high school graduate have five options to achieve your future career. These options being- Pillar One: Post-Secondary Education, Pillar Two: Military, Pillar Three: Workforce, Pillar Four: Apprenticeship and Internship, and/or Pillar Five: Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship. Within these five pillars, you may choose more than one to obtain the future career of your dreams. 
Step Three:
Gather information and facts. This step is very important because it encompasses so much of the decision making process and assisting with identifying the ultimate choice for your future career. It is in this step that you begin a deeper exploration and the gathering of information about careers, colleges, military, workforce, and entrepreneur choices. There are several options you can utilize to collect the information and facts to make the post-secondary decisions. 

First, discover your interests by taking career interest inventories, skill inventories, values inventories, and even personality assessments. It is through these assessments you can acquire a sense of who you are. These inventories can be found at http://www.alcareerinfo.org/

Secondly, gather information from your parents, high school counselor, teachers, high school and college graduates, military recruiters, college career centers, and the internet. 

Thirdly, you may want to complete a learning experience opportunity through a career internship, work-based learning program, community service, or job shadowing opportunity in the career of your dreams. As you discover more about yourself, it is often here that you may change your mind about the original goal. 
Step Four:
Evaluate and review the gathered information. After gathering information from career interest inventories, self-assessments, skills inventories, and friends and family, it is time to evaluate your options to implement for a successful future. Upon identifying the options, you will create a chart to list the pros and cons of each options and evaluate the possibility of success for each option. While reviewing the option, you may ask yourself the following questions: What are the risks involved in each option? Am I willing to take such risks? Which options support my values and needs? Does the option support my goal? Are there any future consequences for a certain option? Will the option satisfy me and my lifestyle? How will I feel about this choice five years, ten years, or even fifteen years from now? How will my parents or significant people in my life feel about my decision?
Step Five:
Select an option and implement a plan of action. Based on the information and facts you have gathered and analyzed, you should now be able to choose one of the post-secondary pillar options. Once you have made a decision, put your decision into action by asking yourself these questions: What resources are available to complete each step and reach my goal of the post secondary option? What obstacles stand in my way of implementing my plan of action? Can these obstacles be removed and managed? Can I rise above the obstacles? What steps must I take to ensure my success? What is my frame of time to reach my goal? 
Begin now in search of these future accomplishments and review your plan along the way. Although plans will change many times between now and graduation; the important thing is to create a plan and be flexible on the journey.