Good ol’ adulthood… When you’re a teenager, it never comes soon enough, but when you’re an adult, you find yourself wondering why in the world your teachers never taught you how to actually prepare for it.
I remember my senior year of high school. I was taking a precalculus class that was kicking my butt… I mean REALLY kicking my butt. You see, I was never super great with all the advanced math stuff to begin with, but I had an even harder time grasping concepts that were so far from what I wanted to do with my life. I began to think to myself, “Why in the world don’t they teach me something that is actually relevant?”
If I sat in my precalculus class today, I can tell you that I would probably bomb any test that was given to me because I have absolutely no need for all those variables and formulas in my current profession. Thinking back to all of this made me start to think about all the things they don’t teach you in high school, but really should.
After you read through this list, I’d love to hear what things you would add to it!
Things They Don’t Teach You in High School
1. Anything That Has to Do with Banking
Oh my goodness, I am so thankful that I actually took an elective life skills class because I at least learned some of these basic things before I had a bank account of my own. Now, I do hope there are at least some schools out there who are teaching these things, but I would say that a majority of them don’t have this type of stuff in their curriculum. Some of the banking things they don’t teach you in high school are:
- Creating a basic budget (My free college budget printable for students is a good starting place)
- Opening a checking and savings account
- Understanding interest rates
- Filling out checks and deposit slips
- Obtaining money orders
- Comparing services from bank to bank and/or credit unions
2. How to Fill Out the FAFSA
Sweet jiminy Christmas, I am so glad that the process for filling out the FAFSA has gotten easier over the years, but it’s still not a fun time. I’ve been working with some high school seniors on filling theirs out and it’s just bringing back nightmares from when I did mine. Not only do you have to worry about filling out all the information correctly, but you may even have to gather documentation for verification later on!
To help you with the entire college financial aid process, I’ve created these posts:
- College Financial Aid: 10 Free Websites You Need to Use
- College Financial Aid Advice: Must-Know Tips
- Financial Aid Tips from a Former College Student
- Financial Aid for College: What You Need to Know
- College Financial Aid Problems: Tips and Solutions for Students
3. How to Complete Your Taxes
I’m surprised that this is one of the things they don’t teach you in high school, especially since pretty much everyone has complete their taxes every year. Although there are free online programs like TurboTax, it can still be a traumatizing experience if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Along with knowing how to complete your taxes, schools should start educating students on what they need in order to complete their taxes. Forms like the W2, 1098-T, 1099, etc. should all be briefly explained.
4. How to Prepare for a Job Interview
I will give credit and say that some schools are stepping up to the plate and teaching high school students how to create resumes and cover letters, but one of the things that they don’t teach you along with all of those things is how to conduct yourself in a job interview. Here are some of the points I’m talking about:
- Dressing the part (what clothes are appropriate, inappropriate)
- Creating a portfolio of work, if applicable
- Answering questions with examples
- Researching the company beforehand
- Coming up with questions to ask the employer regarding the position
This is another one of the big items on my list of things they don’t teach you in high school because the job interview is often the selling point to get the position. If you don’t have the right skills, then you may struggle greatly to find employment.
Here are some Interview Tips You Should Always Follow.
5. How to Appropriately Post on Social Media
I didn’t have to worry about this when I was in high school, but I guarantee you that this is one of the biggest things that needs to be addressed to students. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen students post profile pictures of themselves smoking, drinking, or doing something else that isn’t very appropriate.
I think one of the main issues here is that students often don’t realize the negative implications that come along with posting inappropriate things. I’m not just talking about pictures here. There are plenty of statuses that can give outsiders the wrong impressions as well.
Some Other Things They Don’t Teach You in High School (But Should)
6. How to understand investments
7. Planning for retirement
8. Where to find resources in case of an emergency
9. How to get access to public records (e.g. health, education, motor)
11. Appropriate public speaking skills (not just reading a paper in front of the class)
12. How to write according to grading rubrics
- How to Make Your College Paper Stand Out (in a Good Way)
- How Not to Write a College Paper (So You Get Better Grades)
- My Secrets for Getting A’s in College (And How You Can Too)
13. Email etiquette
What are some of the other things they don’t teach you in high school (but should) that you can think of?