The Beginning of the End: Combating Senioritis
Cass High Senior Guidance Counselor Ricky Silver gives golden advice to seniors and their parents on preparations they should be making throughout their final year of high school.
It’s the beginning of the school year, and students of all ages are in full academic swing by now. Finally accustomed to their new lockers, new schedules, after-school activities and maybe even homework.
But for high school seniors this is a particularly special time. This is the beginning of the end of their high school careers, a year that will pass by faster than a quarterback on homecoming night. The strategy these students employ during this pivotal year will hold a lot of bearing on their future successes.
Whether their focus lies on continuing education at a university, or learning a marketable skill at a technical school, preparation and forethought must be employed early to glean the greatest benefit from the multitudes of opportunity available to future high school graduates.
There are certain topics parents and students need to be mutually aware of, according to Cass High School Senior Guidance Counselor Ricky Silver.
“Of course, right now the primary goal is getting the diploma,” said Silver. “We’re making sure everyone is in the right place and has satisfied all the right requirements to graduate in May. But soon we’ll begin the process of guidance activities, talking about post-secondary options and the process of filling out college applications and taking college entrance tests.”
Most high schools conduct college entry tests and aptitude tests early in the school year, around October.
Silver says thinking about the future and planning courses of action months in advance is definitely a good idea.
“It’s not too early at this point to start the exploration process through the Internet or campus visits,” said Silver. “However, in most cases students don’t need to worry about sending out applications until closer to February or March. We also allow our students two senior visit days which are excused days to go visit a campus and look around. Now is a good to time to start thinking and planning.”
There are also many college and nonprofit sponsored events that high school seniors can choose to take advantage of when trying to find the right college or technical school for them.
Sept. 15 students from each of the five high schools will participate in a college fair sponsored by the Etowah Foundation at the Clarence Brown Conference Center. An anticipated 80 colleges will be in attendance giving out informational brochures.
For students who feel like the college or university route might not be right for them, Silver urges that they look into attending a technical school.
“The benefit of the technical schools is the method of instruction is more hands on and a lot of the instruction is learning in labs,” said Silver. “There is a lot of practical instruction and many of our kids learn better that way instead of in the traditional classroom environments. Many technical schools are also beginning to offer the opportunity to transfer to colleges from the tech school. This combination can be very valuable for students who are having a hard time deciding between the two.”
Silver says now is the time for parents to be having conversations with their seniors to prepare them for the upcoming crossroads. Conversations that include emphasis on the student’s interests and where they can get training to compliment those interests in a career-minded fashion.
Often times the excitement of the final year of high school can result in an inability to focus in even the most dedicated of students, a condition many jokingly refer to as senioritis. But there are resources available to parents that help to curb the potentially negative effects of senior anxiety.
“Our school system has a parent portal where, with a password, parents can log in and check their student’s grades, see if they’re missing homework assignments and monitor attendance,” said Silver. “It’s up to the students to perform, but the portal gives parents the opportunity to check up.”
So what is the single most positive thing students can do for themselves during their senior year of high school?
According to Silver, it’s get involved.
“Students who are involved in volunteer activities, leadership positions, youth groups and clubs stand out to colleges,” said Silver. “They need to expand their resume by being active in the community because it goes a really long way and anything they can do to make themselves look better in a leadership role is big deal.”