Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Believe it or not, seniors in high school are already counting down until graduation! They've definitely started the year with the end in mind.

But seniors have unique challenges that the other grades don't, and it's important to be aware of what your almost 18 year old is facing this year.

Get a Clue!
A senior I know posted this on his Facebook today - "I don't know what to do for the future!" The pressure to know what you want to be when you grow up is strong. Some very talented kids don't have a clue about what they want to do with their lives. Those that do can't relate to those that don't and a separation happens this year as those friends begin to follow their own paths. This can leave the senior who "doesn't know what to do for the future" feeling a little left out. One thing to remember when encouraging the senior who is rudderless is that he doesn't have to make a decision about what he wants to do with the rest of his life - just make a decision about what he wants to do FIRST! God-willing there will be plenty of time to investigate different paths; what do you want to try first? Pursue that. Focus on that. Go to college or trade school for that.

Too Much to Do & Too Little Time
During the Fall semester especially, seniors are bombarded with getting ready to graduate and getting ready for college tasks: registering for and taking the SAT or ACT, applying to colleges for early acceptance, applying for scholarships, getting together letters of recommendations, checking and double checking that they have enough credits to graduate. For those who take this process seriously, it can feel like a full time job on top of school. It can be overwhelming and just the prospect of it makes some students turn tail and run! As parents it's important to set aside time to work with your child on these tasks. You may not be familiar with the processes but make yourself familiar! If you yourself did not go to college, you may not understand the mounds of paperwork required in order to just be considered. You may not understand the anxiety your child is feeling. Put your own experiences aside and meet your child where he is and offer your help and support.

Senioritis and Slumps
Even the most focused students may be vulnerable to senioritis and the senior year slump. Like a virus it zaps their energy and distracts them from what is most important. The desire to make this the 'best year ever' drives their choices, but they are not mature enough to make all their choices about how they spend their time for themselves, especially when they're tainted with senioritis. Let them have fun, but reign them in when necessary. If GPA's slip, they endanger scholarship opportunities, college acceptance chances, etc. The last semester of senior year is especially crucial. Even if your child was accepted to the college of his choice, that acceptance can be rescinded if their semester 8 (last semester of senior year) GPA drops below acceptable levels. They cannot blow that semester off.

These are just a few of things buzzing around the senior in high school's brain. They may be driving. They may be working. But they are not yet ready to be let go. Hold on long enough to make sure they're flying straight - but then let them fly.