Posted by Christy Williams on August 18th, 2015
With every end comes a new beginning. Earning a high school equivalency certificate is just the beginning of a journey for most students. As an instructional leader, part of your responsibility is to prepare learners for what comes after the GED® test. The task requires identifying potential obstacles, harnessing resources to help your students stay the course and meeting individually with students to help them determine a plan for success.
Determining Next Steps
Help your students identify what their options are based on their desires, goals and personal strengths. Upon passing the GED exam some students will choose to immediately join the work force, some may want to enroll in college and others will decide to pursue a specific trade. A future that is wide open can feel overwhelming and too complicated to obtain. Help quell fears and eliminate ambiguity by meeting with your students individually to discuss specific plans and create an outline of steps to achieve each goal.
Obstacles on the Journey
Even with a clear plan, obstacles will arise. Identifying potential hurdles early on will equip students with the tools to cushion negative impacts. Discuss potential obstacles:
1) Lack of Discipline
Success in academic study requires discipline. Help students develop important habits of discipline:
- Prepare for and attend class regularly
- Complete all assignments
- Keep materials organized
- Manage time effectively
2) Poor Study Habits
Poor study habits can prevent students from reaching the next level of academic success. Teach your students the importance of prioritizing studying while introducing the proper habits to make it happen.
3) Overactive Social Life
One of the allures of adult life is the freedom and flexibility to be socially active. Learning how to balance academics, personal responsibilities and social activities is a necessity for students after completing high school equivalency certification. Recommendations include:
- Setting a Schedule – A clear schedule allows students to strengthen time management skills. The schedule should include regular study time and additional time for assignments and projects.
- Using a Calendar – Calendars provide a visual of all commitments in a given period of time. Students should use a calendar to keep track of class schedules, assignment due dates, social activities and family commitments to avoid scheduling activities that conflict with major assignments and exams.
- Knowing Personal Limits – What works for one person may be a total disaster for another. Helping students understand their personal limits allows them to adopt effective habits. Some pertinent areas to consider include social activity, sleep/rest requirements, stress boundaries, and propensity for over-commitment.
4) Lack of Academic Preparation
All students do not sit upon the same academic foundation as they pursue post-secondary education. You have an opportunity to help close the gaps. Help your students focus on:
- Effective listening and accurate note-taking skills
- Test taking tips
- Memory improvement strategies
- Content organization skills
Staying the Course
While study skills and a clear plan are important components of student success, perhaps the most crucial aspect is determination. A student with the drive to succeed will typically overcome any obstacle in her way. Key relationships can provide the support necessary when the going gets rough. Encourage your students to establish relationships with peers, mentors and friends to create a support network to fall back on when in need of support and encouragement throughout the journey.