Making the Most of Your Summer

By Kerri Coen

Tips for Rising Seniors & Their Parents

Rising seniors will be busy this fall exploring many different post-secondary options. Students and parents can work together over the summer to prepare for this process—and make it less stressful once school starts. Take a look at these tips that will give your student a jump-start on post-graduation planning.

Set aside time to talk:Post-secondary education and transition should be a conversation, but not the only conversation!

  • Make a plan to talk more in depth about the post-secondary planning process each week to make sure everyone is on the same page. Try to avoid discussing the topic up on a daily basis. Post-secondary education and transition should be a conversation, but not the only conversation!
  • Talk openly about your student’s interests, wants, and needs after high school. 

Set parameters that will help narrow the search:

  • Is there a distance that the student and family are comfortable with?
  • Does the student prefer an urban, suburban, or rural environment?
  • How will school be financed? Does this influence the options?

Visit a variety of schools (size, geography):

  • Together, come up with a list of questions that are important for the student.
  • Make sure to visit the office of disability services. Most likely, this will not be a stop on the official tour. Students should arrange to visit or set up a separate meeting with the office.

Encourage your student to work on a draft of a personal essay if they have not yet started one:

  • Look at the Common Application prompts (http://www.commonapp.org/) and see what one seems to fit. Try to return to school with a draft done so that you can begin the editing process.

Decide if ACT or SAT prep is right for the summer:

  • Are you applying to mostly test-optional schools?
  • Will test prep get in the way of other important opportunities?
  • Khan Academy is a great online resource that you can use for test prep on your own time: www.khanacademy.org

Think about scheduling cognitive and achievement testing:

  • This needs to be done within three years of post-secondary enrollment in order for students to get accommodations in higher education.

Students should reach out to non-school personnel to ask for letters of recommendations. 

  • Summer Program teacher or a former supervisor are options. The letters will be easier to get now as opposed to waiting until the fall.

Make sure to have a summer activity:

  • Whether it’s taking an art class, playing a sport, working, or traveling, students should spend some of their time in an activity that allows them to gain more independence and real-world experience.

Support your students through the process, but let them take the driver’s seat.  This is great practice for the transition from high school to post-secondary education.

The world of college admissions

Looking to make your application stand out in a creative way? Check out Zeemee: www.zeemee.com. Students can create their own personal profiles with pictures, videos, and bios. Some colleges will allow students to turn in their profiles with their applications.  

Scholarships

Check out Raise Me: www.raise.me. Students can earn micro-scholarships to certain schools based on their everyday activities.

These are optional components to applying to schools and are not for everyone.  If students want to pursue these options it will be up to them to manage them.

For more resources, please check out Landmark School’s Office of Guidance and Transition’s page on the Landmark Website: www.landmarkschool.org/high-school/academics/transition-and-guidance

Kerri Coen is a guidance counselor at Landmark High School.PICTURE 2