The transition period from high school to college is such an exciting time that it is no wonder Hollywood has doled out a steady stream of films about senior year, like the classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. With more and more students going to college, this important life event has become embedded in mainstream culture. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2001 – 2011, college matriculation rates rose from 15.9 million to 21 million, an increase of 32 percent.
Although there is a healthy trend to attend college, it is important for students not to simply get caught in the wave, but to diligently prepare for the changes in academic and personal life that college is sure to bring. Being smart about senior year can help ease the bumps in transitioning from high school to college.
Writing on the topic of “senioritis,” the College Board warns that students should take every measure to avoid a drop in grades as many colleges reserve the right to rescind admissions offers. The New York Times, reporting on the phenomenon of rescission of admission offers, noted that in 2006, the University of Michigan took serious action after learning of a decline in senior year grades of some admitted students. The university issued warning letters to some students, demanded others to provide written explanations, and even revoked admission of nine students.
Senior year remains every bit as important as the years leading up to it, and students would do well to protect their offers of admission and wrap up their high school career on solid footing. To help guarantee a successful senior year, students are well advised to:
- Maintain academic achievement. A challenging curriculum, like Advanced Placement (AP) courses, can help you lighten the load in college, graduate early, and complete a double major.
- Stay involved in extracurricular activities. Spending time after school on important projects such as volunteer work or paid employment can give you insight into the type of jobs or internships you would like during and after college.
- Speak with your high school counselor. Having a plan for senior year and running it by a counselor is a great way to stay on track.
- Request your final transcript. Speak with your school about forwarding your final transcript to your college, a necessary step before you matriculate.
- Have fun responsibly. Remember that there are plenty of ways to have fun without getting into trouble.
How Parents Can Help
Getting into college is often a family effort, and even after an admissions offer, parents can still be a great help in the transitioning process. Here are some useful things parents may want to keep in mind:
- Rewards are great but stick to the rules. While it may be a reward to bend the rules a little for seniors, like extending curfew, it remains important to respect the rules that helped get the student into college in the first place.
- Take steps to set the student up for a responsible freshman year. The transition period is a perfect time to take care of any outstanding matters, like setting the student up with a checking or savings account, teaching students how to be smart about credit card use, or explaining how to use any family health insurance.
- Smile, you’re the parent of a college student! This is a celebratory time for parents, enjoy it and be proud not only of the student but of yourself as well.
At SimpleTuition, we help students and their families with college planning and financing every step of the way. Our site provides numerous interactive tools and useful articles to help you with every facet of starting college, including getting past any feelings of senioritis.