Five Tips For Supporting Seniors as They Process College Admission Outcomes

Five Tips For Supporting Seniors as They Process College Admission Outcomes
Director of College Counseling Joe Coletta

And How to Make the Most of the Remaining Months of Their High School Years

Our seniors have done it. They’ve graphed mathematical equations and inequalities. They’ve tackled college-level history thesis projects. They’ve also wowed us on the stage, thrilled us in athletics competitions, and completed community service that make a lasting difference. Through it all, they’ve forged lifelong friendships, developing into young adults who will surely shape and influence their communities beyond their lives at Governor’s.

But even in the midst of accomplishment and promise, many seniors are at an emotional and logistical crossroads. Indeed, whether your senior completed their college process in the early application round, or they’re waiting on regular decision returns, they are managing a complicated transition to life beyond The Governor’s Academy’s campus. And they are processing a range of emotions and responsibilities as they go.

So how can we celebrate seniors’ accomplishments while encouraging them to make the most of their remaining senior year? Read on for tips for guiding and supporting our seniors, even as we acknowledge the independence they both need and deserve.

1. Help Seniors Define and Measure Their Success

An important lesson high school students can learn is how to define and measure their own success. To this point, most seniors’ measures of success are objectively defined and arguably, rather narrow. From earning a higher GPA, to scoring a goal on the ice, to cinching the lead in the musical, students’ conceptions of success are often defined by objective goals and clearly identified tasks and roles.

This limited conception of success can also influence seniors’ sense of accomplishment in the college process. As adults, we know that our students are successful however their college process unfolds. And we know that their success in college depends significantly more on the opportunities they take and create than on the college they attend.  Learning how to broadly define success in all areas can serve seniors well beyond their high school and college years.

2. Listen to Appreciate and Understand Their Perspective

Our seniors have a lot to say– even if they're not saying it to us. They’re excited for graduation in May. But they’re sad knowing they’ll leave lifelong friends after high school graduation. They’re looking forward to their new level of independence. Yet they’re anxious about their new level of independence. They’re psyched to meet new and interesting people in college. Yet they wonder if they’ll ever develop meaningful friendships in college.

So, yes, even if they’re not saying it, our seniors have much to say. So how can we help? Sometimes, the most we can do is listen– and not just to formulate a response. Instead, we can  truly listen to appreciate and understand their perspective. Indeed, the simplest questions often yield the most interesting conversations. What’s one highlight of your day? What will you remember most from your time at Govs? If you could redo one decision from sophomore year, what would it be? Whatever you ask your senior, ask with a curious, open mind that does not elicit a specific answer. Then. Just. Listen.

3. Don’t Forget to Check the Boxes

Of course seniors have much to do before commencement in May. From checking college admissions portals, to ensuring their enrollment deposit is submitted by the May 1 deadline, to choosing the perfect prom attire, seniors are balancing a lot. And whether or not they admit it, they still need our guidance and advice– and even some prodding to get it all done.

4. Dedicate Time Each Week to Tasks and Conversation

Consider setting a day and time each week to review your senior’s evolving “to do” list. A dedicated time each week to discuss important issues gives you and your senior time to prioritize tasks and organize information. Limiting task-oriented conversations to a set time can free students for less stressful communication throughout the week.

5. Remember Your Important Role in the Process

However your senior’s college process unfolds, there is likely nothing more important to them than knowing you are proud of and believe in them. Indeed, as our students here at Govs articulate what is most important to their college search, they invariably note the perspective and affirmation of their parents.

In other words, when our students know that their parents are excited about their college plans, they are more likely to embrace their college experience and commit to making the most of it. In the end, our seniors know they could have never done it without you. And this is a terrific time to celebrate their accomplishments and affirm who they are, including the potential of who they will become.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

Author: Joe Coletta - Director of College Counseling

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