What if I have no idea what to do after school?

The majority of us get to our final years of school and are confronted with the big question, what should I do after I graduate high school?

2 years ago   •   4 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Drew Beamer / Unsplash

From day one, some students have their hearts set on becoming doctors or actors and spend their whole lives trying to make their dreams a reality.

However, the majority of us get to our final years of school and are confronted with the big question, what should I do after I graduate high school?

You may feel pressured that your friend has been set on becoming a neurosurgeon since year 8 meanwhile university is going to commence in a few months and you still have no idea what you will be doing.

But don’t worry, most people are in the same boat!

I remember facing this immense dilemma a few years back. I wanted to do it all! I wanted to study law and learn about interesting cases but also wanted to treat patients and perform operations.

I didn’t end up doing either!

Although the decision requires a lot of thought, this guide provides a few tips to help you determine what to do the year after you graduate.

Identify your passions

Ultimately, you want to work a job you enjoy. Consequently, the biggest thing to help you determine which course to undertake after high school is identifying your favourite subject or field of study.

For instance, if you didn’t take any science or maths subjects for Year 12 as you don’t enjoy them, you can eliminate some of the STEM and health related courses such as engineering, health and science. The reason I say this is because you need to remember that completing a degree involves around 4 years, give or take, of vigorous study in your chosen field of study.

Personality traits

Whether you’re an organised person, persuader or highly creative, there are many career paths that can suit you just based upon your personality.

A good place to start would be to determine some of your key personality traits (or there are online tests that can determine it for you too!). From this, you can explore which career paths require such traits from their employees and can choose a course that would lead to a job in that field. For example, if you are a creative person who enjoys art and design, you could choose to become a graphic designer. Consequently, you can think about which universities or TAFEs offer graphic design courses and look into those.

Here are some more ideas:

Personality Trait

Career Options


Construction, carpenting, agricultural work


Scientist, researcher, consultant, psychologist, doctor


Musician, graphic designers, dancer, director


Counselling, teaching, nursing, therapist, aged care worker


CEO, sales, lawyer, politician 


Technician, accounting, analyst

Don’t stress

Even if you’re not sure what you want to do after high school, there are many alternative ways to enter a course you may decide on later on. Nowadays, if you start a degree in university and don’t like it or become interested in an alternative career, university makes it very easy to switch to almost any other degree.

There is plenty of time to explore different courses and post-school pathways. Figures range between 3 and 7 regarding the average number of times the average person changes careers. So, if you feel like the decision you make in year 12 regarding the course you will complete and the career that will follow after is set in stone, it most definitely isn’t! Clearly, many people change as they go as they stop enjoying their job, want a change or just find new interests. And lucky for you, career pathway options in Australia make it possible for anyone to achieve their dream career.

Gap Year

If you’re still not sure what you want to do after you finish school, it may also be a good idea to think about taking a gap year.

You’ve just finished 13 years of schooling and may start another 4 years of a degree, give or take. Maybe you want to take a break, go overseas and explore different countries. This could be a good option if you feel immensely drained from school and not ready to get back straight into studying. It can help you feel much more refreshed and focused when you commence studying later on and could help provide more time and clarity regarding how you want to spend the next few years of your life, whether that be studying or jumping straight into the workforce.

A gap year can also provide you with new important life skills, such as communication and leadership skills which can help strengthen your application for applying for jobs in the future. Notably, work experience or volunteering in your intended field of study may be highly beneficial in this respect.

If you are interested in completing a particular degree but still want to complete a gap year or even just have a semester off, you can always defer your acceptance into a university course so that you can commence it at a later date and have a secured place.

Reach Out

In the meantime, if you're having any trouble with determining a suitable career, it would be a good idea to book a free 30-minute study consultation with a tutor where we can help discuss possible options regarding your career paths and provide more details and ideas on choosing what to do after school based upon our personal experiences. We also sometimes do careers events like our "Med school exposed" event! After this, you can choose to kickstart working towards achieving your dream career by allowing a tutor to help you achieve the marks you need to enter your desired course. If you're in Queensland and are interested in Medicine, come take a look at how to create a career in Med here.

Written by KIS Academics Tutor Sandrine Maximous. Sandrine currently offers tutoring for maths, Legal Studies, Studies of Religion and Modern History. Sandrine is currently completing a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies and Information Technology (Majoring in Data Science) at Macquarie University. If you have any questions or require further assistance, feel free to reach out to her. You can view Sandrine’s profile here and request her as a tutor.

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