According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 3.3 million kids are expected to graduate from high school after the 2015-16 school year. While the skills learned in high school are invaluable, there are gaps in the US educational system that leave some students unprepared for adult life. Here are several areas that may be lacking in a recent grad's knowledge.
Public Transportation Issues
While some kids are raised in huge cities and have been comfortable taking the train, bus or subway from the time they're in their early teens, negotiating these transportation systems can be baffling for public school graduates whose only experience has been with the school bus. The same can also be said for using long-distance public transportation, such as buying and using a plane ticket or successfully transferring on a long train ride. For grads without much experience, going with a parent or trusted friend a few times can help make sense of confusing, enormous public transportation systems.
How to do your own Taxes
One of the things all kids should be learning is how to do their own taxes. They need to know all the different forms and how to read their pay stubs and W-2 forms. Too many kids these days have no idea how any of this works. This will help kids know what to do when it comes time to buy a house or a car. It will also show them how important it is to budget their money.
Finding Good Prices and Discounts
Knowing the value of a dollar is important, but it's even more important to know how to save pennies. Learning how to use loyalty programs, find overstock coupons online and buy in bulk are all integral to becoming a frugal adult. It's also important for young people to understand where to find the best prices on common items and how to safely store surplus food. There are websites devoted to saving money that explain these processes in plain language. Recent grads who aren't quite money-savvy should read up on these issues to round out their senses of money awareness and fiscal responsibility.
Obtaining Proper Nutrition
With home economics courses being slashed, it's not uncommon for recent high school grads to be a bit clueless about healthy eating. While it may be obvious to an older adult that a diet without fiber will cause constipation and a diet heavy on caffeine will lead to sleep disturbances, younger adults often don't notice the effects and simply believe they are sick or out-of-shape. Good nutrition is important, and parents should make sure their kids understand how to structure a proper diet before they graduate. Many colleges also offer courses about health and fitness that can fill gaps in knowledge.
While public school teaches young adults some great skills, there are some gaps in education that recent grads may need help to negotiate at first. While these topics may seem obvious to older adults, mistakes and misunderstandings are common among the younger set.
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