As you sit down to read this article, you probably cannot believe your child is reaching the end of their homeschool journey. It is almost surreal to think that the time has come for your student to transition to adult life. You may feel as if they are not ready or they may be super prepared. Whatever the case may be, the best way to prepare for the year is with a senior year to-do list to keep everything on track and organized.
Remember that you may be nervous about your student’s senior year, but your senior may be even more nervous. There are so many decisions they need to make, and their transition may not be smooth. Modeling a calm and positive demeanor as your child progresses through the year, may help them more easily face any anxiety or insecurity that may arise.
If your student is college bound, there are some steps to take that are necessary. I want to share a senior year to-do list that can be useful along the way. Note: We understand that some students are not college bound, or some students intend on taking a gap year. In this case, glean from what you can to get your students through their last year and keep the list handy just in case.
This senior year to-do list will help guide your homeschooling student through their last year successfully.
1. Keep the grades up.
Many times students think they don’t have to do much their senior year. However, colleges still look at all course grades through senior year. Colleges have even been known to recant their acceptance letters if students are shown to slack off their senior year.
2. Develop a high school transcript.
You can find free high school transcript templates all over the internet. Choose a template, and ensure all courses, grades, and attendance are listed clearly. Make sure you have extra copies of transcripts as well.
3. Schedule any college entrance exams that need to be taken.
SATs, ACTs or other standardized entrance exams are required for your student to enter into most colleges. Senior year can be used to take exams that students may need to improve scores on.
4. Start researching colleges.
Have your student research some colleges online or in the local area. Be sure to look over admission requirements and use this year to pad transcripts with courses, extracurricular activities, or volunteer hours that may help an application stick out above the rest.
Are there certain things your student may want to look for in a college? Do they want to attend a local college or one that is far away? Does your family prefer Christian colleges? Would your student do better in a larger college or a smaller one? What academic programs and activities are available?
Have your student select a list of 5 colleges and list them in order of preference.
5. Begin writing entrance essay assignments and apply.
Senior year goes by fairly quickly. Some students really do not enjoy writing, and in turn leave college essays for the last minute. Working on college essays early on can relieve stress as the year goes by. It also leaves time for proofreading and editing. Make sure your students doesn’t procrastinate here.
6. Search for scholarships.
I cannot stress enough how many scholarships are out there for students to apply to. Many students don’t take advantage of scholarships, but they are extremely helpful in lightening the load on finances in the years to come. Filling out scholarship applications is time-consuming and discouraging when you don’t hear back, but they are worth the effort. My daughter must have filled out about 20 scholarship applications her senior year. It took her about two weeks. She only received 2 scholarships, but they were in the thousands!
7. Visit some colleges.
Many students don’t really know how the college environment really is aside from what they hear from others or watch on television. Visiting colleges makes the whole experience real for students. Schedule a tour and get a feel for what is out there.
8. Complete a FAFSA (January of senior year) and financial aid applications from colleges.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form that can help determine what assistance your student is eligible for once they select a college.
9. Review all your college options and make college decisions.
Sit down and discuss options with your student. What major and minor are they thinking of pursuing? Once the decision is made, your student can work towards that goal.
This senior year to-do list will help your homeschooling student appreciate their senior year:
1. Save money.
Senior year is the time to start cracking down on habits that will help them throughout their college years. Have your student open a savings account and save as much as possible. It may be tough to work freshman year of college. Having some extra money, as a cushion, will be extremely helpful in college life.
2. Use senior year to inventory life skills.
I received a phone call from my daughter maybe a year into college life with roommates. She just called to thank me for teaching her how to cook, clean, and do laundry. She said her roommates didn’t know how to do anything and she was so grateful that she could do these things for herself.
Evaluate any skills that have gotten missed somehow throughout the years. If your child will be taking a car to college, do they know how to change a flat or change the oil in a car? Does your child know how to iron a shirt for interviews or events? Does your child know how to protect themselves in case of an emergency? Do your students know preventative measures for illnesses? Do they know about credit card responsibility or how to pay bills?
All of these skills will equip them to make it in their adult life. They will thank you for it. There is nothing more frustrating for some than being in their twenties, on their own and trying to learn life skills then.
3. Stop, breath, and take it all in.
Senior year may be a time students can take a step back and do little things that they just can’t do much of in college. College can be full on, and if your student is going away to college, there are some things you want to do that you can’t readily do when they are away. Funds are also quite low in college, so going out to eat may just not be feasible.
So, make sure your students make memories as part of their senior year to-do list. Spend time with loved ones. Have lunch dates with the grandparents, go to the beach, make little day trips, and take the time to enjoy each other’s company.
4. Don’t forget to celebrate!
If there ever was a time to celebrate it is in senior year. Through years of struggle and hard work, a celebration is definitely in order. Have your student research some ideas for a graduation ceremony and party. It will be worth every effort to make this moment memorable for them.
If you are planning a graduation ceremony, you will need to order a diploma, cap, and gown. Family and friends would love to be a part of this celebration so make sure it is part of the senior year to-do list. It will give your child the best recognition of their labor.
If you have gone through this list, you could pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You did it parent. Your child made it and finished well.
Your student can make informed decisions and is ready for what life has to offer or the struggles that may possibly come.
Do you have any suggestions to add to this senior year to-do list for your homeschooler? Leave your additions to the senior year to-do list in the comments section and help out another family in finishing well.