Preparing High School Students for Life after Graduation

About the author : Stephen Dunmore

CEO North America Schools At Sodexo

Published on : 3/13/23
  • The lives of today’s high school students are vastly different than they were even just a few years ago. Lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led many teenagers to rethink their plans for life after high school graduation.

    In 2022, Sodexo surveyed college-bound high school students to learn about their thoughts, concerns and expectations regarding higher education. We published our findings in the 2022-2023 Student Lifestyle Survey – High School Digest. The report reveals a few key insights about what drives today’s students.

    One interesting finding is that many students are considering enrolling at a college closer to home. They’re also already thinking about their goals for the distant future, with nearly 70% of high school students saying their biggest concern is someday finding a job in an area that interests them. In addition, students continue grappling with stress and anxiety, with 59% already anticipating that they will feel anxious and overwhelmed once they start college.

    It’s clear that schools must do everything they can to help students prepare for life after high school. Sodexo continuously looks for ways to help school districts as they strive to provide the tools, environment and guidance that will ensure students’ success.


    Making the Transition Easier

    The move from high school to college can be one of the most exciting periods in a young person’s life, filled with new opportunities, new friends and a chance to forge one’s own path. However, it can also be overwhelming and scary for students who will be venturing out on their own for the first time, either to a local campus or a college far from home.

    One way to prepare students for that transition is to provide a warm, welcoming school environment that helps students feel secure and builds their confidence. It can also be beneficial to focus on areas such as social connection, which many high school students have struggled with since the start of the pandemic.

    One key finding of the High School Digest is the importance of dining as a tool for socialization. More than half of high school students expect the campus dining hall to be a hub of social interaction. To strengthen that connection, high schools can create cafeteria environments where students learn to feel comfortable interacting with their peers. Sodexo supports our partners by ensuring school cafeterias are friendly, inclusive and welcoming. We also offer diverse menus full of dishes that students enjoy, making them more likely to eat lunch in the cafeteria with their friends and build those all-important social skills.


    Focusing on Well-Being

    The past few years have taken a toll on us all, and our kids are no exception. Young people have struggled with isolation, mental health and physical well-being.

    Sodexo is proud to be a student well-being ally, helping our partner districts prioritize students’ overall health and wellness. We provide the nutrition students need to fuel their brains and bodies so they can perform their best in the classroom and beyond. Our efforts to pioneer new menu options and flavor profiles in public schools help ensure student participation and encourage kids to make healthy choices. And we serve everything in comfortable, welcoming cafeteria environments that help students feel comfortable and develop the social connections that are vital to mental and emotional well-being.

    Read the High School Digest