Aug 10, 2009

Going to College and Senior Year

Ahh, senior year- the top of the food chain, the peak of the high school pile. It’s a year when normal students are transformed into outbound travelers; ready to take the next step, wherever it may lead. For many, that next step is college, and even for the most ambitious student in the world, it can be quite tempting to take a little break. After all, you just went through three tough years of school, and now that it’s coming to a close, you deserve a vacation, right? The answer is a definitive yes. But if you want to go off to college, that vacation shouldn’t kick into high gear until the summer months start rolling around.

Teachers, parents, and councilors alike will lecture on and on about the dreaded “senioritis”- an awful affliction that stuns otherwise normal students into total academic paralysis. While some of these stories may be a bit exaggerated, the truth is most college-bound seniors are simply overwhelmed by the time consuming, energy expending, exhaustion inducing process that is the college application process. Standardized testing, credit transfers, financial aid… the list goes on and on. Pile on top of this the responsibility of choosing where you want to spend the next several years of your life studying, and it’s no wonder seniors are finding their normal course load coming second on the to do list.

Taking care of all these different requirements in the course of one academic school year comes down to one thing- planning. Thankfully, the same principles for regular time management apply. Get a big calendar and start writing down due dates, test dates, and any other important deadline you may have. This will help keep you on track and minimize last-minute stress sessions.

Another important tip is to apply to many schools, not just a few. There should be three tiers to consider- reach schools, ideal schools, and safety schools. These tiers coincide with your odds of gaining admittance, from low to high, respectively. This is where research becomes so important- every school you apply to must be a place you want to go to, otherwise, why apply?

One place to find a plethora of information on this subject comes from "Countdown to College" radio host Beth Pickett. In this timely interview, Beth picks the brain of Fred Zuker, President of Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, and covers just about everything there is to know about this crucial moment in a student's career.

As you work your way towards that high school diploma, don’t lose sight of your goals, both in the long and short term. Picking the right college is a tremendous opportunity for personal growth and independence. With just a little bit of planning and sustained effort, you won’t stumble with the next step.

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1 comment:

Beth said...

Great information, thank you!