Although at the moment, the most important thing on your child’s mind is passing their matric exams – the final and largest hurdle of their school careers – what to do after matric, is an essential question that all matriculants need help in deciding.

“Not only are young matriculants having to make tough decisions about what to do with their lives, but the obvious answers are not as simple as they used to be”, says High School Principal at Riverside College, Dave Swart.  

In the last few years we have seen South Africa’s tertiary education systems rattled – deciding to go to university is not the no brainer that it used to be. “It is more important now than ever that we provide necessary guidance when helping our children to decide what to do next in figuring out their futures.”

Mr. Swart’s tips for figuring out what to do after school:

  1. Brainstorm – help your teen to think about where they would like to be in two, five, even ten year’s time. Sit down and create a plan of how they might get there.
  2. Get inspiration – why not take inspiration from the people your child admires. Look at how they got to where they are?
  3. Seek advice – mentors can be really useful in helping your teen discover and decide on their next steps.
  4. Use what you have – help your teen to identify their existing skills and talents and what they can do with these after school.
  5. Don’t worry – deciding on what to do after school is something that we all have had to go through – remember, every journey is different so encourage your child to focus on what feels right for them. 

Expert background: Dave Swart has been the principal of Riverside College, which is based in Cape Town’s Burgundy Estate, since 2014. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology and a postgraduate certificate in education. Swart is passionate about social work, youth counselling and life coaching. He has completed a number of Life Line courses and runs a counselling service called Introspect Life Coaching.

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