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We need to start imagining the future or it will get imagined for us, and the ways that it has been imagined thus far don't seem very attractive.


What are postsecondary future selves?

Postsecondary future selves is what youth conceptualize as possible, likely, and expected for their immediate postsecondary school lives given three domains:



i.e., postsecondary education, be it through advanced vocational training or 2- or 4-year colleges or universities



i.e., occupation and post-college employment trajectory


i.e., expected financial stability, relational and familial prospects, future living arrangements, happiness, and joy 

(Carey, 2021)

📄 Open Full Reference List


Meet the Three Cs:

Guide an Exploration

Before any actionable planning for college, careers, or life condition can begin, students need time, attention, and guidance in conceptualizing their future selves. Using our lesson plans, guide an activity in your classroom or program and help students dream big and articulate their goals.



Students will think broadly and boldly about their future 5 years from now.



Students will explore the powerful influences at work in their lives that can cause them to set limits, or defy them.



Students will determine how the three Cs of their imagined future selves work together to become a reality.

The Story of
Postsecondary Future Selves

Dr. Roderick L. Carey began his career as a high school English teacher in predominantly Black and Latinx schools in low-income communities in Washington, DC. He was an athletic coach, performing arts director, and mentored dozens of adolescents through the daunting college-going process. In these schools, he and his colleagues worked to ensure his students were provided the supports needed to gain access to 4-year colleges and universities. However, many students would eventually not complete their college degrees due to a variety of reasons, including issues related to family needs, financial aid challenges, and academic and social obstacles.

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