Best Advice for High School GradsBest Advice for High School Grads

Best Advice for High School Grads

Zip up those gowns and bobby-pin those mortarboards. You are graduating from high school! This is an amazing time of achievement—and uncertainty. What will the future hold now that you have to clean out your lockers for good? Some of you will go on to college or trade school, while others will go directly into the workforce. All of you will be making some exciting and scary choices in the next few years. has called on educators and New Jersey high school and college grads to offer you their best advice to navigate the years ahead. Take a moment to read what they have to say—these words of wisdom come from people who have been there, done that. And from all of us to all of you—Congratulations, graduates!

Best Advice

You will be spending many years in the work force. Find your passion and follow it. If you enjoy waking up each morning and look forward to taking on the challenge of the day at work, you have hit a home run! Jill Magidson, Director, Science Academy at Morristown High School

Challenge yourself to try something new; you will always learn from your experience. Get through your college classes/courses and take them for what they are. It's not until you have some more life experience that you will understand the true lessons learned. Katina M. Vassiliou, Events & Project Specialist, Ernst & Young 1998 Summit High School grad

Know that the process of making decisions is not always easy or fast. Take your time, think everything through and most importantly, make your decisions for yourself, not for others. In the end you are the only person accountable for the decisions you make. Angela Dipaolo, 2001 Howell High School grad, 2007 Rider University grad

Whatever you decide to do right after high school feels weighty, but it's really just the next step. If it turns out that you don't like whatever that is—majoring in accounting, going to a small school in Nebraska, selling jeans at the mall—you can do something else. You can take a step in another direction. Barbara Bretcko, English Professor, Raritan Valley Community College

A lot of scholarships are available to students. If you put your mind to it and work a little harder, it does a lot of help. Every single semester of school, I've had some kind of scholarship to help me pay my way. Siiri Julianus, 2007 New Jersey Institute of Technology grad

Continue your education in any way that works for you. Never stop learning. Dana Egreczky, President , Business Coalition for Educational Excellence, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Don't be afraid to transfer. I originally wanted to attend the University of Delaware, but ended up spending my freshman year at Fairfield University in Connecticut. I worked hard to get good grades and then transferred to Delaware my sophomore year. I'm really happy with my decision. Katy Drake, 2005 Montgomery High School grad

Every theory of learning that I have ever read always comes to the same conclusion: the best way to learn is by doing. Imagine trying to learn how to use a computer or drive a car by reading a book. You couldn't do it. Read, learn AND do through apprenticeships and hands-on experience. Henry Plotkin, Executive Director, New Jersey State Employment & Training Commission

Pursue a degree in something that you are passionate about. Success comes to those who are passionate and work hard when no one else wants to work. E. Colfax, Research Science Teacher, Morristown High School

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every single time we do fall-so that when we finally stand again, our colors are evermore clear and our desires are evermore reflective. Until we make peace with who we are, we will never be content with what we have. When making decisions you must consider what is always in your best interest, and your best interest should always be goal oriented and purpose driven. Hezekiah Griggs III, President HG3 Media, 2006 Passaic High School grad