More research is needed that elucidates the mechanisms by which critical consciousness impacts marginalized youth’s academic and career development. To address this gap, this short-term longitudinal study (i.e., two waves) examined motivations for post-high school plans (i.e., career/personal motivation; humanitarian motivation; encouragement received from important individuals; pressure from parents/family to succeed) as mediators in the relationship between dimension of critical consciousness and academic and career activities. The sample consisted of low-income, Black and Latinx youth (N = 191; Mage = 16, SD = 0.80; 59% female) living in Chicago. The results from structural equation path models show that youth’s beliefs about their ability to engage politically (i.e., sociopolitical efficacy) predict motivations for post-secondary plans (e.g., encouragement; pressure from parents/family), which is subsequently related to engagement in academic and career activities, albeit in different directions. To continue fostering positive youth development, critical consciousness programming will need to integrate how youth understand their role in changing social inequality in relation to their perception of and interactions with parents and mentors.