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P&K How To: How to Help Your Senior Prepare for College

Senior year is something most kids wait their entire school career for—they’re at the top of the high school “food chain!” But it’s no time to slack off or fall victim to senioritis. There are still steps your child should be taking to ensure he is prepared to attend college next fall. Read on for a few reminders to be ready for this next exciting chapter of life.

Your child should have already narrowed down his top schools and begun submitting college applications. Most application deadlines for fall admission are in January. If your child still can’t decide where to apply, virtual tours are a great way to get a feel for each school even if you are unable to visit in person. If visiting schools in person is an option, try to make trips to your child’s top schools. Not only may this help your child make a final decision, it’s also a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your child before he heads off to college. 

If your senior has not taken the ACT or is hoping to improve his score, check to see how long your child’s schools of choice will accept scores. If possible, sign up for the December 12th test. It’s the last test of the year, and with more coursework since your child’s last test, he may be able to improve his score.

If reference letters are something your child needs to submit as part of his applications, encourage him to ask teachers, coaches, and past or present employers. Provide your references with a stamped, addressed envelope so they’ll be able to submit your letters easily and quickly.

Have your child research and apply for financial aid available at each school. He may be eligible for scholarships or grants in addition to student loans (which you’ll likely have to co-sign for). Don’t forget to help your child complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and ask a school counselor for help if needed. Make sure your school counselor sends your child’s transcript to each of the schools he applies to.

This spring, encourage your senior to stay motivated and keep his grades up. Don’t let him fall into a “senior slump.” Instead, help him finish strong and show him you’re proud of all he has accomplished in high school. Best of luck to your and your child—enjoy this exciting season of life!

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