Life Kit: Resources for the High School Graduating Class of 2021

Congratulations to the high school class of 2021! We’ve gathered resources to address your most burning post-grad questions, so you can graduate feeling confident and prepared for life after high school!

By Hana Beach

We know we’re not the first to say it, but it’s true: the class of 2021 has experienced a high school journey that was challenging. It required resilience, hard work, and creativity. We want to make sure that we capture what this year has meant to young people across the nation and to honor your perseverance. For students, wishing to come together in community, join us and help us build the largest yearbook, ever.

Your class faced a totally unique set of challenges—but that makes you uniquely prepared to succeed in whatever your future holds! It’s with that big, uncertain, and exciting future in mind that we put together this collection of resources.

Below you’ll find everything from managing your money, to pursuing your dream career, to applying for student loans. We have artists, thinkers, and activists who will inspire you to use your creativity and drive to reshape the world. 

At XQ, we know that young people will lead and decide our future, so we work tirelessly to make sure high school students are prepared and empowered to change the world for the better. We want all students to be adept in five key areas: masters of all fundamental literacies, original thinkers for an uncertain world, learners for life, generous collaborators, and holders of fundamental knowledge. 

Whatever your path, we hope these resources can guide and support you along the way. 

Job Exploration Resources of High School Grads

Whether you’ve been planning for your dream job since kindergarten or are still searching for a career path that feels right, now is the time to seek out experiences and guidance to set yourself up for success. 

How to Find A Career in High School

Don’t let the title fool you—this article speaks to anyone trying to figure out what career is best for them, in high school or beyond. After reading, you may be inspired to give XQ’s CareerExplorer tool a try!

XQ’s “I Can Do That” Series

To see how different professionals shaped their career paths, check out these interviews with a commercial banker, poet, venture capitalist, industrial designer, and computer scientist

How to Find Internships in High School (Advice From a College Intern)

Internships are a great starting place to build your resume and learn more about a job or industry!

These High School Students Had Paid Internships This Summer. Here’s How.

Here, see how high school students advocated for themselves and connected with internships that not only trained them, but paid them for their work.

These “Tutor Teens” Launched a Business to Help Younger Students and Families Learn Remotely

When remote learning started, these high school students saw a chance to use their talents to fill a need in their community!

Financial Planning Resources for High School Grads

We know it can feel overwhelming, but now is the perfect time to get serious about setting financial goals and making decisions that will pave the way towards a healthy financial future—one where you feel confident in your money management!

Adulting 101: A Few Financial Basics of Adult Life

This article is your one-stop-shop for all things finance! Investing, paying taxes, budgeting, building a credit score—it’s all explained here. 

FAFSA: Everything you need to know to apply for federal student financial aid

FAFSA! Important, sometimes confusing, often under-utilized. Check out this article for guidance on applying and making sure you don’t miss out on all the federal aid opportunities. 

A Guide on How to Pay for College

We put together this guide to give you tips on how to pay for college at every stage—from applying for financial aid, to how to save money once you’re actually enrolled. 

Nervous about student loans? You’re not the only one

Learn about navigating student loans, and what to do if you feel in over your head. 

College Planning Resources for High School Grads

The transition from high school to college is a big one—even when the world isn’t recovering from a pandemic! This year, especially, preparing practically and mentally for college will help you hit the ground running. 

5 Resources for College Planning During COVID-19

We put together these resources so that you can feel confident and excited about each stage of college planning, even with the changes caused by COVID-19. 

Advice for College Freshmen: 10 Tips to Prepare for Remote Learning

This article will help you prepare to make your entrance into the academic and social community of college during remote learning. 

Creative Resources for High School Grads

The world after high school can feel exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Art can keep you grounded within yourself and what really matters to you, and is one of the most powerful tools you have to impact your community! 

Off-White Founder Virgil Abloh Interview on Education, Art, Culture, and Design 

If you need inspiration about the power of art and design, watch Virgil Abloh describe his career and speak directly to the next generation of makers—aka you!!

Upbeat Academy: Music Education that Transforms Lives

See how Upbeat Academy in New Orleans uses hands-on music instruction to unleash students’ creative energy and inspire them towards bold career paths. 

#Artivism: The Power of Art in Raising Student Activists

This article shows students using art to enact change and imagine a more just future. 

Submissions from XQ’s #MakeASongChallenge Reveal What Matters Most to Students Today

Listen to these songs from your peers to imagine how art can build community and reshape the future!

Activism and Identity Resources for High School Grads

Now more than ever, our world needs the voices and perspectives of young people like you! Take encouragement from these activists working for change in their communities, and know that you hold real power to reshape our world. 

How to Find Your Identity: Workshop and Framework with Ashanti Branch

Engage with Ashanti Branch, founder and executive director of the Ever Forward Club, to consider who you are, what you believe in, and why. 

Taking Up Space as a Black Woman Is a Revolutionary Act

Writer Amari Pollard reflects on her experience growing up as a Black woman in the United States, and offers the advice and encouragement she wishes she received as a girl.

8 Young Activists You Need to Hear From Today

Get inspired by what activists like Amanda Gorman had to say to the question, “What advice do you have for young people who want to get involved in activism but don’t know where to start?”

Class of 2021 Graduation Resources

Remember, at the end of the day you did something incredible! You got through a high school experience that required resiliency and determination. As you plan for the future, don’t forget to take this moment to reflect, congratulate yourself, and celebrate. You deserve it. 

This Student Went Through the Foster System. Now She’s Graduating.| XQ Students

Listen to Kia Reid describe her incredible journey through high school, and what graduation means to her. 

The Best #GraduateTogether Moments We All Want to Relive

#TBT to 2020, when President Obama, Lebron James, and Timothee Chalamet celebrated graduating seniors at XQ’s national Graduate Together event! 

These 5 High School Grads Named Winners of #GraduateTogether Speaker Awards

These powerful words from five 2020 graduates still feel incredibly relevant—listen to them addressing their peers with honesty, challenge, and love. 

Congratulations, You Did It Class of 2021

One more time—CONGRATULATIONS to the class of 2021! The creativity and resilience you’ve shown to meet this unprecedented moment is already incredible. We can’t wait to see where that talent and determination will take you.