Every parent wants the best for their child. You do what you can to prepare them for the next steps in life. Unfortunately, the world they will be entering is very different from the one you graduated into years ago. Gone are the days where companies were loyal to their companies. With layoffs occurring regularly, the rising costs of college, the massive amount of student loan debt, and a highly competitive job market, where does one start to prepare for the real world that awaits them.
This is where To The Next Step LLC comes in. We are an educational and coaching services company that is aimed at helping high school and college students prepare for the next steps in their lives, including preparing for college, entering the workforce and the real world. Our objective is to aid these students in understanding what life is like after college and how important of a role their careers will play in shaping their overall quality of life.
Our mission was born after our founder Kyle spent nearly ten years working in corporate America. He began to notice a disturbing trend that the majority of his coworkers seemed to dislike their jobs, and worse were dissatisfied with the type of person they had become. When he dug deeper and performed several rounds of research, he discovered that they felt this way because they were not prepared for the real world.
So many college graduates did not understand what working full time and being an adult entailed. They did not take the time when they were younger to understand how much time, energy, and resources went into your career. They had developed a “figure it out later” attitude when it came to preparing for the next steps in life. When later finally arrived, they were thrown into a world they knew nothing about, forced to take a job they did not want and ended up living a life they never intended on living.
Our company was founded to prevent this from happening to your child or student. Through our various services, we can help your student navigate through the various next steps in life. Based on our research, we have identified ten ways our services can help your students prepare for the real world and end up with a career and life they enjoy living.
1. Discover The Type of Person They Want To Become
Chances are you or someone you know has asked your child the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. You were most likely asked this question as well. It is here that we begin to understand the root of our issue. When we ask students to tell us what they want to be when they grow up, we are essentially asking them to answer a question without knowing all of the options. They do not know what types of careers are out there or what the ones they are aware of are actually like daily.
The first thing we do is change this question. Instead, we ask each student, “What type of person do you want to become?”. When you ask a student this question, the entire game changes. They are no longer beholden to one job or one career but instead opened up to a field of opportunity around the type of person they want to work towards becoming and the type of life they want to work towards building.
We help students get in touch with this “person” by identifying what it is in life that satisfies them. They may decide they want to be someone who helps other people, heals the sick, or protects the weak. They may discover there a world problem they want to help solve. They may end up deciding there is a specific group of people out there that you want to dedicate your time to help. Once they figure this out, they will make every choice with this person and this type of life in mind. When times get tough, it is this purpose and passion that will pull them through.
2. Understand The Part of Life They Do Not See Coming
At the beginning of every talk I have ever given, I always say the same thing. “I am here to tell you there is a part of life that you will not see coming.”. I know this to be true because it was something I personally went through. It also what I hear most from college graduates. They had an idea what was coming when they graduated college, got their first job, moved out and became an adult. If they had, they would approach the years leading up to this monumental life shift very differently.
It is crucial that students get a clear picture of what the real world is really like. If they can begin to understand how much of your life is impacted by your career, they are much more likely to care where they end up. We lay this out in straightforward terms by showing them how many hours of your week are taken up by work, commuting to and from work, adult responsibilities, and the sleep you need to function. This layout of hours shows the student that their career impacts nearly two-thirds of their week and therefore, two third of their life.
3. Help Them Understand The Importance of Preparing For The Future
I will figure it out later. That is something we have all said at some point in our lifetime. Most of us say it when we are forced with a tough choice we do not feel like dealing with. Unfortunately, this is also the attitude that most students take when it comes to making choices about school and education in general. They put off the tough decisions until they are forced too, and even then they tend to take the path of least resistance.
The reason for the indifference is because they are unaware of how their choices at such a young age can impact their lives well into their 20s, 30s, and 40s. We show students how decisions such as choosing to research several colleges, interviewing working professionals, studying to get better grades, and building your network can have a profound impact on the opportunities open to you in college and the workforce.
4. Develop A Learning and Growth Mindset
Growth mindset is a new, trendy term that can mean a lot of things. For us at TTNS, it is all about seeking out and identifying opportunities. When it comes to preparing for life events like college and adulthood, an opportunity is something that can make you a better student, a better person, or better equipped to handle what’s coming next in life. Now that a student has something to work towards and an understanding of its importance, they can focus on identifying and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.
For High School students, this means taking advantage of the various resources the school offers. Whether it be extra help for a challenging class, college prep courses, or guest speakers who come to talk about life in the real world. It is crucial to have the type of mindset where you are driven to get the most out of these chances. To be eager and hungry to learn about your options and learn about the parts of life that are fast approaching.
For college students, it means approaching college with intention. Attending each class to be attentive and learning, not because you are supposed to, but because you understand what is at stake and the importance of gaining a quality education. This approach includes taking advantage of the opportunities that college offers. We will cover them all in-depth later in this list.
5. Creating A Plan For Each Year Of School
One of my favorite things about my book, To The Next Step, is the goals we list out at the beginning of each school year. Each year of high school and college starts with the student reviewing and planning for specific goals. These goals are designed to motivate the student to make the most out of the upcoming year as well as learn critical skills they will need when they enter the real world.
The reason these goals are important is that it prevents students from drifting or floating from class to class, and year to year. According to our research, most students report not trying as hard as they could in class. They tended to do just enough to get by, never really thinking about how each year was a unique opportunity to build their skills and work towards a better future.
In addition to traditional academic goals, we work with students transitioning into becoming independent adults. As early as freshman year of high school, we encourage students to create a list of tasks and responsibilities that their parents currently do for them. Then, year by year, we plan to take over those responsibilities. The result is a full grown adult who can do there own laundry, go grocery shopping, and perform other adult tasks that tend to overwhelm there fellow
6. Guidance Through The College Selection Process
There is a lot of content and resources surrounding the college application process. How to apply, study for the SATs, write your essay, and apply for loans are topics that are covered in great detail by experts. What is not included in the college SELECTION process. We believe in doing the right research and asking the right questions to select the right college for you as an individual.
In our popular on-demand course, How To Select The Right College For You, we walk the student through what can be an overwhelming process to ensure they are getting the information they need. We cover topics such as understanding your needs, determining the right environment, what makes a college worth the money, student loans, questions to ask on campus tours, and so much more. We believe a college should earn students time and money and prove that they are the best choice for the student and their future plans.
7. Understanding Student Loans
The number one answer I get when I ask grads about past regrets is almost always centered around student loans. What surprised me the most was how many of them claim they did not know what they were signing up for. They did not understand how interest rates worked or how much debt they would be in after college. We find this to be unacceptable, and we are aiming to change it through practical education.
We start by educating students on how loans work and showing them how much they will owe after college graduation. Then we supply them with a list of ten questions. These questions are designed to understand everything you need to know before you sign your name to those loan papers. We tie this education into our lesson about what makes a particular college worth the money and the result is highly educated student choosing a loan and college that will not leave them in crippling debt for decades to come.
8. Creating Your Own College Experience
Society has done a terrible job when it comes to portraying what college is like. Every move or TV show that has ever been done about the college experience has included partying, drinking, and doing stupid stuff. No one shows the studying and hard work that goes into achieving a valuable and useful education.
As you can already tell, one of our core values is helping students figure out their individualism by creating a plan that works for them. If a student is going to truly make the most out of these four years, then they must create their own experience. An experience centered around taking advantage of opportunities, learning about their future careers, and doing whatever it takes to become the type of person and create the kind of life that will bring them satisfaction and fulfillment as the move forward in life.
Our college student coaching packages are designed to guide students through these four years and help them identify the type of experience that is right for them. We are there for them as they navigate tough courses, make new connections, and plan for the real world. We also help them avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of so many grads who have come before them.
9. How To Network and Make The Most Of Internships
This company was born out of a need to prepare students for the real world. That need was born out of the discovery that many college grads had no idea what the jobs they were studying for actually entailed. They did not understand what the roles and responsibilities were going to be and what was expected out of them. Deciding what type of person you want to be is only going to get us halfway to our goal of being prepared for the next step. A student must begin to build their networks and seek out the right internships that will set them up for success.
Building a network can start as early as High School. Once a student decides the type of person they want to become, they can create a list of jobs that align with that person. Then, they are encouraged to seek out those professionals who are currently working in those jobs. This allows them to understand what these positions are like and if they are something they would be interested in pursuing further. It is also the beginning of building a network of contacts who can be called on for advice, letters of recommendation, references, and job referrals.
The final piece of this puzzle is college internships. Some students look down on internships because they tend to be unpaid. We teach students about the various ways ones can be compensated outside of money. Internships can give a wealth of knowledge about corporate culture, office politics, navigating different personalities, and accepting criticism. It also allows someone to understand what the day to day happenings that come with that job and industry. Lastly, we teach what questions to ask, what skills to learn, and how to build relationships with the right people that will last for years after the internship has been completed.
10. Prepare for Entering The Workforce and The Real World
The previous 9 points have proven that this is precisely what we do here at To The Next Step. The last step of our services focuses on what to do after crossing that stage. We cover when to apply for positions, what makes up a great resume and how to stand out when applying for your first job. We also cover what to expect and how to continue building towards that type of person and type of life that has brought you to this point.
We believe in a world where younger generations are working towards solving the world’s issues and helping each other to lead better, more productive lives and careers. We believe that the information available today allows us to give your student the roadmap they need to fit their needs and set them up for long term growth and success. We would love to expand on any of the points above. Please feel free to e-mail our founder Kyle at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org, for a free consultation or visit our official website at www.ToTheNextStep.org. Thanks for talking!
Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life including college, entering the workforce and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.