Once seniors have mailed their college applications they often get a bit unfocused as the stress of waiting for acceptances or rejections builds. “Senioritis" is a common problem in the second half of the year. Students start to get anxious about college and they sometimes allow that fear to take over their concentration. They let their work slide and often require a reminder that colleges do expect the grades of seniors to be consistent with prior grades earned.
Teachers have to help students stay focused on their current work, handle the anxiety of awaiting news about which college they will attend, and also get seniors to focus on practicing the skills that will ensure success in college.
Help Them Be Prepared
Students in Grade 12 are eager to learn about college life. One interesting activity is to have members of the town who have a college degree and outstanding career success to come in as guest speakers to discuss college and careers with the seniors.
Have speakers discuss how they succeeded in college. If possible, hand out articles about the career of the speaker a few days before his or her visit. Students like to hear real-life strategies about college and careers. This is also a good way for students to learn to “network" with community leaders. Ask the guest speaker what their biggest challenge was in college and how they handled it. Have them describe how they chose their major and what they liked or disliked about that course of study. Allow students to ask questions of the speaker.
Create a Goal List for College
Writing down goals often helps the student become motivated to achieve their goals. Set aside time for seniors to write a goal list for their four years of college. Give them an envelope to store it in. Ask volunteers to share some of their goals if they wish.
Talk About Resources Available to College Students
Inform students that most colleges have tutoring available as well as psychological counseling, career counseling, a health clinic, a gym (often including a pool), a library, and jobs on campus. Often once students have a feel for what college will be like they calm down a bit and are better able to focus on their grade 12 class work.For students who are the first in their family to attend college it too often seems like a scary venture.
The Guidance Department Will Explain Financial Aid
Figuring out how to pay for college is often a daunting task for students. They spend a lot of time talking and worrying about this topic. So inform them that the Guidance Department is available to help with finding scholarships and loans. Tell them that their first step should be to talk to the Guidance Department and obtain the FAFSA form. Remind them that they should not pay an outside company to do searches for financial aid. The Guidance Department staff will provide that service to students for free.
Assign Research Papers
Help students get ready for the increased load of independent work and larger scale projects in college. Assigning research papers helps high school seniors use their analytical skills and learn to organize their time to succeed on large-scale projects.
Inform your students about helpful websites that provide information about college life. Some interesting websites about college academics and other college related issues include: www.zencollegelife.com, www.campusgrotto.com, and www.gearfire.net.