College Prep for Parents

This post is dedicated to those parents who are knee deep in dealing with the effects of Senioritis.  In other words, you have a child who is a Senior in high school and you’re going through this last year, heading toward an extremely hectic end of an era with your soon-to-be graduate.  Before you know it, your baby (forever your baby no matter how old he or she gets) will be closing one chapter of life and opening up a new one.  So, enjoy every bit of this senior year with your child.  He or she, no doubt, will try to speed it up as much as possible; and understandably so, because your baby is going through the spin cycle right about now.  With all of the demands of senior year, such as more difficult academics, extracurriculars, work and volunteer opportunities, college and scholarship applications, scholarship competitions, campus visits, and financial aid informational sessions, it’s a wonder that your kiddo hasn’t already checked out for the year and blamed the early departure on an overwhelmingly acute case of Senioritis.

people sitting on desks inside well lit room

As the parent of a child who will soon wave the halls of high school “good-bye”, it’s up to you to help keep your child motivated to finish the end of the stretch as strong as possible.  I mean, you all are almost there.  I do somewhat empathize with those of you who take a strong stance on letting your child bear the primary responsibility for owning and managing all stages of the college admissions process.  My goal was to let Toodlez and Junior be the young adults they came to be that Senior year.  And, they took ownership of their next stage in life; but I was with them every step of the way, offering my assistance when needed and it was an effective method for both children.  I would highly recommend your parental involvement in such a monumental time in your child’s life.  There will be plenty of time for you to let your young adult be the adult, but don’t forget to provide your much-needed guidance along the way.

I’d like to share with you some proven strategies that I personally adopted for organizing myself and my children for the challenges of Senior year.  Even though it’s already early November, it’s not too late to implement these helpful suggestions that will hopefully result in smoother sailing throughout the rest of the school year.

  1. Tell your child to create a notebook, folder, or file system to keep all college-related materials in.  The following are some items that would be good to house in this location:  college applications; scholarship applications; copies of scholarship essays, scholarship requirements and competition info; college acceptance letters; copy of resume; copies of ACT/SAT scores and other college entry exams; copies of college and scholarship references from school faculty, community professionals, membership officers, and employers; financial aid information; information on college(s) in consideration; information on awards and honors received; certificates showing membership in clubs and organizations; and information on volunteer experiences and work opportunities held.  I’m going to stop because the list is pretty extensive and could get much longer.  But, I think you get the general idea of where I’m going with this.
  2. Tell your child to keep a calendar or yearly planner where all important events and deadlines can be recorded.  Don’t leave the high school graduation and college admissions requirements up to memory.  Jot down the things in which mandatory action needs to be taken.  Calendars provide a handy, at-a-glance location for those important dates (many of which are derived from the items listed in #1 above) and have been shown to keep many-a-person on track and out of unnecessary trouble.
  3. Make sure your child meets with the high school guidance counselor to confirm that all high school requirements are on track for completion by their deadlines in order to prevent any delays for graduation.  Also, students should be regularly engaging with the counselor to keep updated on college scholarship and work opportunities.  Guidance counselors are known for prepping their Seniors for life after high school; however, don’t have your child wait for the counselor to approach him/her.  Have your student be proactive and request needed guidance from a professional trained in preparing students for college acceptance and/or career readiness.
  4. At this point, your child should already have or be creating a resume with all the education, work and volunteer experience, extracurriculars, and honors and achievements noted.  And for organization’s sake, please have your student continuously update the resume as new information needs to be added.  Remembering to make those noteworthy updates before submitting the resume for college and scholarship applications can be the difference between your student or someone else’s receiving the desired recognition.

Lastly, let me leave a little nugget for those of you with high school-age children (grades Freshman through Junior): start working on items 1 through 4 before Senior year.  It’ll lighten the stress load and alleviate the symptoms of Senioritis.

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