High School and Beyond Plans: Necessary or Harmful to Students? 

Ava Wine, Staff Writer

In the Lake Washington School District, students must know what college they plan on going to as freshman and work towards that goal throughout the four years of high school. In the Issaquah School District, we use High school and beyond plans as more of a suggestion or as something to rely on, but it still like most schools in Washington, high school and beyond plans are a requirement to graduate.  Most schools use Xello or other apps like Career Cruiser to help their students create a high school and beyond plan. They do this by completing surveys about interests and strengths until the website ranks professions that match your experience and lifestyle. Xello also lets you know what learning style is best for you and what your personality is like. When asked, most if not all students said that they have completed this. While this may benefit students, it could also put a huge stress on freshmen and restrict them to a single pathway? 

Are these plans really necessary? Eastlake High School freshman Ella Saccone (which is in the Lake Washington School District) states, “Personally, I do not think they are very necessary because I already know what I want to do but I can see why it could be necessary for people that do not know what they want to do in life.” IHS junior Lillian Schaefer agrees, saying, “It depends on what you want to do with your life.” They both mentioned that it depends on the career, but that is not the only thing Xello is used for at our school.  

Elida Castellon, an IHS career counselor who specializes in high school and beyond plans, shares, “The nice thing about using Xello is it gives students the ability to figure out what they are good at, and I think it is super beneficial for [students] to discover that.”  

All underclassmen said they do not know what college they want to go to except for a freshman in the LWSD, Annika Shankara who replied,” I want to go to any Ivy League school in the U.S.” Is the LWSD’s way more stressful or beneficial? ISD sophomore Sophia Im says, “That sounds super stressful,” when she was told about the LWSD’s way of using school credit. Senior Jade Wimberly counters saying, “I would be more relaxed with a plan because you would have something to rely on.” Castellon states, “It could be beneficial for students that like more academic rigor but also it could lead to more stress for students who have not decided if they even want to go to college.” That leads to the question; should this be optional? 

Students and teachers have mixed feelings about the LWSD’s way of using Xello.   Most students think that Xello is only used for careers, but it can be used for a lot more than that. Many people use Xello to find out more about “backup” careers or looking into the pricing of specific schools. This program can be beneficial, not only because of its ranking of professions but also because of how the website shows you the salary, description, and what education you need to pursue it. By completing this program as a freshman, you can use the rest of high school to save up.  Along with those, it tells you the pricing of the college which is super beneficial for seniors who are needing to turn in applications soon. 

Overall Xello can be super useful and helpful, but students favor the ISD’s way over the LWSD’s way because ISD gives students more of a push to help with the hard decisions that eighth graders and freshmen must make. Meanwhile, The LWSD pushes their students more strictly and Xello is used twice as much as the ISD. If this program was optional, it could be very beneficial to people who are stressed out with having to make these decisions so young or those who do not want to take time. On the contrary, however, students who do not complete these workshops could stress over their senior year and bring unneeded stress into their lives. Not only will this affect them because of stress, but it will also make it more challenging to figure out what jobs they want to pursue or if they even want to continue their education.