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From preparing for graduation to applying to colleges, your children have so many tasks and activities to do in their senior year of high school that it can be a challenge for them to balance their studies and other important aspects of their lives. To make sure their senior year will be successful, use a checklist of things you and your students need to do at different times of the year.
Things to Do Before Senior Year
Here are some items to check off your list before your children start their senior years:
- Help them choose their career paths and find out which majors can get them there.
- Assist them in creating a tentative list of colleges they want to attend.
- Tell them to collect information about those colleges by doing online research, attending college fairs and college nights (virtual or in-person), and speaking with representatives from colleges who come to their schools.
- Make sure they keep their resume current throughout their senior year.
- Find out about college scholarships and help your children apply for them.
- Explore financial aid options.
- Get your students to schedule appointments with their preferred colleges to arrange personal interviews and tour campuses.
- Encourage them to start writing their college application essays and showing them to their teachers for feedback.
- Remind them to request one or more letters of recommendation from their teachers, coaches, academic advisors, mentors, and/or employers.
- Ensure that they have already taken the SAT or ACT.
- Make sure they have their senior photographs taken. If your children haven’t done any of these by the end of their junior year, they should do so as early as possible in their senior year to stay on track.
Checklist for High School Senior Year
Below is a list of things your children need to do in different seasons of their senior year in high school:
- Help your children narrow down and finalize their college list by using all of the information they’ve gathered from their research, college visits, and interviews.
- Make sure they maintain good grades and stay actively involved in extracurricular activities.
- Encourage them to take the SAT or ACT again to try to improve their scores.
- Help them create a calendar that tracks the application deadlines for college admission, scholarships, and financial aid.
- Have them start writing the final draft of their resume.
- Work with your children to look for appropriate scholarship opportunities.
- Get them to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, preferably by the beginning of October.
- Order their yearbook and class ring so they have a way to treasure senior-year memories.
- Make sure your students complete the application forms for the colleges that interest them, preferably before winter break to leave enough time before the deadlines to gather materials and double-check each application.
- Tell them to check with the colleges to make sure the schools have received all of the materials they’ve submitted, including application forms, test scores, and letters of recommendation.
- Advise your kids to keep working hard to get good grades.
- Have them check in on the status of their college applications and find out if the colleges need any other information from them.
- Let them know it may be a good idea for them to take the SAT or ACT again if they can still submit a new, higher score to colleges.
- Encourage them to complete the remaining college applications as necessary.
- Discuss the costs of attending their preferred colleges with them.
- Ask your children to add their experiences and achievements in the fall semester to their resume.
- Remind them to continue looking for scholarships during the holiday break.
- Suggest they get a part-time job to save money and gain some professional experience.
- Encourage them to continue saving money for college if they’re working part-time.
- Make sure they’re getting good grades and preparing for their final exams, AP tests, etc.
- Regularly check your mailbox in March or April to see if there are notification letters and acceptance packages from colleges.
- Meet with your kids to talk about college finances and financial aid options and choose the right financial aid packages, preferably debt-free ones.
- Help them choose a college if they’re accepted to more than one college, and let all of the colleges know the decision by May 1.
- Have your students write a letter to the college’s admissions team to strengthen their case and request another interview if they’re wait-listed for college admission.
- Help them complete all of the enrollment paperwork for their chosen college, including housing arrangements and orientation session forms.
- Start doing research on private student loans from banks or credit unions in case your kids’ applications for scholarship and financial aid are rejected.
- Make sure they turn in all their assignments so that they can finish their classes strong.
- Advise them to do their best on their final exams.
- Remind them to send their final transcript to their chosen college to maintain admission status.
- Send graduation announcements to family members, relatives, and friends to let them know the good news.
- Help your children get their graduation cap and gown ready and consider personalizing them if possible.
- Congratulate them on receiving their official high school diploma.
- Advise your children to continue working and saving money to pay for their college expenses.
- Look out for college admission notifications if they haven’t arrived yet.
- Ask your kids to keep applying for scholarships as deadlines can go all the way to August.
- Continue researching student loans if necessary, and start narrowing down the options for your students.
- Help them shop for things they’ll need in college, such as books, supplies, dorm essentials, tech products, and clothes.
- Make sure your kids attend the summer orientation at their college to get to know the campus and their fellow students before school begins.
- Help them move into their student accommodation and meet their new roommate.
- Remind them to review their course options and schedule their classes with their advisor.
- Motivate your children to get ready for a new life in college.
As you can see, your children will be spending a large part of their senior year in high school applying to colleges and trying to get accepted. If you need advice and help to increase your students’ chances of getting accepted to their preferred college, get in touch with the knowledgeable and friendly team at Spark Admissions. Contact us today to get a free consultation.