Things to Do Before You Graduate High School

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For many high school students, getting a driver's license is the first step toward transitioning to adulthood. Older students may have the opportunity to register to vote. However, as graduation day nears, you will want to take other steps that hone your social skills and introduce you to the worlds of work and higher education. The waning days of high school are also the perfect time to reflect on your own identity, interests and goals.

Do Some Networking

  • You may want to visit with teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, employers and any other adults who have held a leadership role in your life. Inform them of your future plans after graduation. You never know when you might need a professional recommendation for a college activity or a job application. Thank your teachers for the time they invested in you, and ask if you could use them as references. Consider asking for contact information, such as e-mail addresses, of a select few teachers or coaches. Before you graduate, you want to solidify strong relationships with teachers and administrators who understand your strengths and are excited about your future.

Update Personal Profiles

  • Create or update your resume. You will need a current resume to apply for summer employment, internships, college work-study jobs and part- or full-time job positions. Change or get a new email address if your high-school email address sounds juvenile or unprofessional, suggests Home Room, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education. It's also a good idea to examine your social networking sites to make sure there aren't any unfavorable photos or messages that might make you look irresponsible or undisciplined.

Expand Work and Social Skills

  • Spend part of your senior year volunteering at nonprofit organizations, working part time, participating in drama or musical productions or taking public speaking classes, suggests writer and teen correspondent Kelsey Ichikawa, at the San Jose Mercury News. Step out of your comfort zone and join clubs or groups outside of your normal social circle. For example, you could join the math club or the French club or volunteer to help with the school yearbook. These types of social interactions help prepare you for future college and work experiences. The goal is to diversify your skills and interests and learn to socialize in unfamiliar situations.

Take on Adult Responsibilities

  • The last year of high school is a good time to practice adult responsibilities. That doesn't mean you won't get help from your parents, friends, family members and teachers after graduation, but you need to be able to take care of yourself as much as possible. One way to learn time-management skills is to use calendars and to-do lists to keep up with academic assignments, work and social obligations. It's also a good time to open your own bank account; learn to cook, clean and do laundry; create a weekly or monthly budget; and practice saving money, such as using coupons or watching for sales. Organize your belongings and get rid of items you no longer want or need.

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