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Senioritis: How to Nip it in the Bud

The fall semester has come to a close, and spring is quickly approaching. For most high school seniors, the final months of school can be a blessing or a curse: graduation is just around the corner; summer is in the air; college applications are complete. Eking through those last months of homework, exams, and college decisions can be grueling.

“Senioritis,” a terrible affliction that affects millions of high school students, hits around January and February when seniors lose motivation to finish homework and attend classes, and have a dismissive attitude towards school in general. Sound familiar, seniors?

Don’t let the end-of-school funk let your grades drop or spoil those last precious months. Giving in to senioritis can be a big mistake, and colleges notice as they keep track of your performance even after receiving your application. “Admission officers can ask a student to explain a drop in grades and can revoke an offer of admission if not satisfied with the response,” according to the College Board.

How can you combat this so-called malady? Here are four steps to nip senioritis in the bud and continue to impress not only your parents and teachers, but also your top college choices:

1. Enroll in engaging electives. By the last semester of senior year, you will have fulfilled the majority of the necessary classes to graduate. Why not take an elective or two that sparks your interest and could even help you choose a major? Electives can challenge you academically and impress college admissions on your transcript. Talk to your school counselor about your options.

2. Find an interesting internship or independent study opportunity. Boost your transcript while learning something new and exploring an area of study. You can learn valuable skills, such as time management, organization, and self-discipline before being released into the independent world of college. Do your research and talk to your school counselor before choosing an option.

3. Set achievable short- and long-term goals. Stay on track during your final months of high school. Short-term goals, such as earning a high grade on an essay, and long-term goals, like raising your GPA, will help you keep your head in the academic game. Keep a daily checklist of these goals.

4. Have fun and find time to relax. The end of high school, waiting to hear back from colleges, and saying goodbye to your friends and family can be a stressful time. Remember to take care of your body and mind by spending time with friends and family, attending sporting events and extracurricular activities, and looking for “me” time through self-reflection and goal planning.


A College Preparation Checklist for Parents

college-preparation-checklistWhile your child’s high school will likely have a huge role in planning and preparing your child for college, keep in mind that a parent’s role is just as critical to a child’s success. The sooner you start encouraging your child to put their college education at the top of their list of priorities, the more prepared they will feel when it comes time to narrow down their search and apply to college. However, this is all easier said than done, so we have complied a list of action items you need to keep your child motivated and on track:

College Preparation Checklist

1. Be Informed & Involved

For many students, applying to college can be a stressful time in their lives. However, you can help to alleviate some of that pressure. Start by fostering a supportive environment at home and doing some of your own hands-on research. By attending college fairs and introducing yourself to your child’s school counselor, you will have better insight into what your child needs in order to be considered for acceptance. You’ll also gain a better understanding of what you can do to help keep them on track. Once you have completed the initial research, encourage your child to do the following in order to meet college requirements and differentiate themselves from other candidates:

  • Enroll in challenging courses: advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate courses
  • If it’s early enough in the game, take the PSAT, if it’s junior or senior year take or retake the ACT or SAT
  • Tour college campuses: aim to talk to professors or other students to get a real sense of the campus community
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): to be considered for federal and school financial aid

2. Set Expectations

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the tasks you’re responsible for, it may be beneficial to create a parent and student action plan to delegate responsibilities. An action plan also helps to ensure that your child never forgets an important task or deadline while in the midst of balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars and college-prep. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of pieces to the college puzzle you both will need to remember and nothing says ‘stay on task’ more than delegated responsibilities and checking important things off your child’s plate.

Many students will be tempted to put their academics on hold once they have applied to college. While your child has worked diligently to prepare for their college career, one of the biggest mistakes they can make is to let ‘senioritis‘ get the best of them. Even if your child was an all-star student throughout their high school career, it could potentially hurt their chances of acceptance if they slip. Colleges pay close attention to performance even after they have received an application, making it critical for your child to stay on track long after they submit their applications. Setting this expectation will not only help your child get into a desired school and program, it will set them up for success all throughout their college career.

3. Earning College Credit in High School

If your child is preparing for college they should be looking for unique ways to challenge themselves academically. One of the benefits of applying to college today is having a realm of opportunities available to help your child feel more college-ready. Encourage your child to research ways in which they can earn college credit in high school such as, a pre-college program. A pre-college program may provide your child with an opportunity to earn college credit and demonstrate academic readiness to college admissions.

Speak with your child’s school counselor in their junior or senior year to see what options are available and open to high school students.

4. Making the Transition from High School to College

Fostering open communication with your child is not only essential for planning for college but can help open up discussions for any concerns such as moving away to college. You also want to ensure that your child enrolls in a college program that will be fulfilling both academically and socially. Opening an initial conversation about continuing education beyond high school, as well as your child’s goals and aspirations will help them to feel supported long after they begin their first year at college. During the transition it’s important to continue setting expectations and exploring opportunities for growth, like studying abroad. With these tips and adjustments in responsibility you should feel more confident supporting your child’s path to college.