By Mary Hager

The thought of creating your future can be overwhelming one. With constant media messages that we are living through the worst economy in decades and the odds of “getting ahead” have never been greater, you may start to believe the negative messages. Don’t! Learning how to fully connect with people surrounding you, as well as maximizing resources available to you, will help you maximize opportunities to grow and use your talents as well as build a positive, fulfilling future. Below are just a few ideas to get you started on your way to creating a happy, productive life!

High School Faculty and Staff– Though virtual classes have presented students with many challenges this year, know you can still contact your school counselor to understand the resources he/she offers through your school’s career/counseling office. Most high schools have an in-depth counseling page containing resources for students, so be sure to check your school’s website for links to interest assessments, resume building, or opportunities to connect with colleges or military recruiters. As a former college counselor, I strongly advise you email or stop by the school’s counseling office and introduce yourself to your assigned counselor. He/she can assist in exploring post-graduate opportunities, whether it be college, vocational schools or military options. Also, be sure to get to know your teachers and school administration personnel such as the principal, teachers, and front office manager. Developing a professional relationship where they understand your current interests may prove helpful…they may be able to connect you with professionals in their life to provide job shadowing opportunities or informational interviewing opportunities, which could be invaluable experiences to help you determine what path you want to take after you graduate.

Websites– There are some great websites designed to help you explore various career  interests, as well as possible college majors. Check out as well as Both sites help students explore different post-graduate options, including discovering what a civil engineer or art curator does for a living. Reading descriptions of a number of jobs is a good start for you to get some idea of what field you would like to be in.

Social Media- I know I don’t have to tell you how powerful social media is in creating opportunities, launching and growing businesses, as well as providing so much useful information. It is also incredibly important for you to know that as a young woman, you are creating your digital footprint. It is important for you to be aware of the images and words you are posting online. Also, be sure your settings are on private…that funny meme or cute pic of you having a good time with your friends is visible to a potential college admissions officer or employer. Many high schoolers have already discovered the power of networking sites like LinkedIn in securing interesting internships or research opportunities. Making sure your picture is professional and following industry professionals in areas you are interested in will help you maximize professional opportunities.

Initiative/Grit– Finally, your initiative and your drive to succeed will be what propels you to take advantage of all the resources listed above. You are uniquely talented and positioned for success. Make sure to maximize all the resources available to you!


Mary Hager of Hager College Consulting has spent the last seven years helping high school students identify and apply to their “right fit” colleges. Prior to launching Hager College Consulting, Mary worked as a college counselor in Arizona’s highest performing charter schools. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from St Catherine University.