So you have a high school senior, now what?
Well, it’s that time already. How did it get here so quickly? When our babies started kindergarten, it seemed like sending them off to college was a lifetime away, but here it is…their senior year.
Isn’t it stressful? So much to do to get ready for the next year. Finishing up those college visits, college applications, scholarship applications and that dreaded FAFSA – all while doing their regular school work! Everything that needs to be done is a full-time job in itself. Oh my goodness, could they make it any more stressful on a parent? And all at a time when we’re trying to figure out how on earth we’ll be able to say goodbye.
I think we could all use help navigating senior year and since I’ve been through it already, I thought I’d help you with some tips that I wish I had known my first time around.
First, if you haven’t already done so, sign-up for College Board
When you log in for the first time, bring your patience. There’s an insane amount of information that you need to fill out, but thankfully after it has been completed, you won’t have to fill it out again. On this site, you’ll be able to:
- Narrow down colleges that would be a good fit for your child.
- Sign-up for SATs and ACTs.
- Link over to Khan Academy to help your student study for the SATs and ACTs.
IMPORTANT TIP: Khan Academy is a powerful online tutoring source that I recommend for ALL students needing extra help at school.
Start on scholarship applications right away
We made the mistake of waiting until January of my son’s senior year and by that point, a lot of scholarship deadlines had already passed. By the end of every scholarship season, there are millions of dollars left untouched each and every year, so fill out those applications. Yes, they are time-consuming, but it’s FREE money.
- Check the guidance office at school for a list of scholarships available and their deadlines.
- scholarships.com is another great resource.
IMPORTANT TIP: Start on the last page and work backward. Most people begin on page 1 and then get tired after awhile so they don’t make it to the end of the list. (A big thanks to my friend, Amy, for that great tip!)
Start college applications
- Another tedious job, but clearly, it must be done.
- Watch deadlines as they do have to be in by a certain time.
- Most, if not all, schools have an application fee, so be prepared when applying.
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka FAFSA)
- You can begin filling this out on Oct 1 for the next school year.
- You’ll need your tax information available when you fill it out.
- I’m not going to lie, it can be tedious, so bring your patience.
- This is something that has to be filled out yearly.
IMPORTANT TIP: Fill it out as close to Oct 1 as possible. The sooner you apply, the more money that’s available.
Start a “senior fund”
- Start putting some extra money aside each week for all the “extras” needed throughout their senior year. Every time I turned around, my oldest was telling me he needed money for this and money for that.
- If you’re having a graduation party, you’ll also want to begin putting some money away for that. The cost of a party adds up quickly.
IMPORTANT TIP: You don’t have to purchase senior announcements through the school. By all means, if it’s important to you, then buy them. If not, make your own with the never ending supply of announcements available online. I saved over $75 by designing my own.
So there you have it….a list of important things to do during your child’s senior year of high school.
It can be daunting getting through this year, but broken down into bite size pieces makes it far less challenging. In fact, if you struggle with Time Management and working through your lists, check out my post on Time Blocking to help you get through it.
Do you have a helpful tip for senior year? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below.
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Until next time, my friend…..
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