For students who do not plan to attend college in the year immediately following their graduation from Beacon High School, an individualized transition plan is critical to their sustained access to future professional and academic opportunities.
The Beacon Guidance team meets with each student beginning in their junior year to begin post-Beacon transition planning. Working closely with Beacon teachers and clinicians, a plan is created to adequately address a student’s challenges and maximize their potential for success after graduation.
These planning sessions are augmented with informational seminars, workshops, and a Career Exploration course, comprising a broad set of resources for pursuing employment, internships, community service, and gap-year opportunities.
While at Beacon, students are offered opportunities to learn about trades, apprenticeships, and vocational training schools. There are several scheduled off-campus visits to businesses and professional settings where students can gain exposure to careers in a variety of industries and trades.
Beacon students are also offered work study credit and community service credit to encourage them to explore their professional interests and develop tangible work skills.
Students who are not interested in attending college but who are seeking advanced training for a specialized job often pursue technical-vocational training. Some of these careers require the student to complete a certificate program while others require an apprenticeship under the supervision of a master professional in the field. Professionals who pursue vocational training include: electricians, carpenters, plumbers, cosmeticians, and massage therapists.
Students at Beacon have recently explored vocational opportunities by visiting: Boston Massage Therapy School: Cortiva Institute • Kaplan Career Institute, Charlestown • Middlesex Community College • Minuteman Technical High School • North Bennet Street School
In coursework and in meetings with their guidance counselor, students at Beacon have many opportunities to prepare for the job search by exploring their interests, assessing their job readiness, creating a résumé and cover letters, and developing interview skills.
Some students may want to pursue a career immediately, launching a job search, expanding their current part-time job into a future full-time job, or perhaps even by starting their own business.
Some companies will provide paid on-the-job training to help an employee advance within the company. By choosing to work immediately after high school, a student retains the option of pursuing college or vocational training in the future.
A gap year is exactly what it sounds like: a year off between high school and college. A well spent gap year can provide an experience that will strengthen a student’s college application, essay, and admissions interview, and some programs provide students with an option to earn college credits.
But a gap year isn’t only for college-bound graduates. A gap year program can involve community service, professional internships, and the acquisition of valuable experience that can lead to employment. Some programs offer the opportunity for travel and adventure. With some careful planning, students can use a gap year to develop new skills, broaden their frame of reference, and acquire increased confidence and self-awareness.
Sometimes called a “13th year”, a post-graduate year is an additional academic year of high school at an independent private school. This year provides a student with an extra year of preparation for the transition from high school to college, where academic expectations are significantly more rigorous.
Attending a small school for a post-graduate year can help students to become better known by their professors, improve their study skills, and increase proficiency in a particular subject area. Post-graduate year programs can allow students to improve their academic standing for college admissions while further developing their confidence and social skills in a brand new environment.
There are several independent boarding schools in Massachusetts that offer a post-graduate-year program:
Berkshire School, Sheffield • Charlemont Academy, Charlemont • The Cambridge School of Weston, Weston • Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, Waltham • Cushing Academy, Ashburnham • Deerfield Academy, Deerfield • Northfield Mount Herman School, Northfield • Phillips Academy at Andover, Andover • Riverview School, East Sandwich • Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Greenfield* • Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Wilbraham • The Williston Northampton School, East Hampton • The Winchendon School, Winchendon • Worcester Academy, Worcester
* All-Girls School