Are We Done Yet?

For Seniors:

The last semester of high school is a time when some students decide to check out. Either they are not going to college and have already clinched what they need for their diploma (so why keep working?), or they are going to college and have already been accepted at a school they are happy with (so why keep working?).

But wait, not so fast! If you plan to attend college next year, keep in mind that colleges do care – and pay attention to – final semester grades and attendance records. All college acceptance letters mention that a student’s final transcript will need to be sent in June and that their acceptance can be rescinded if there is a significant drop in grades (or if a student gets caught engaging in illegal activity). This does not occur often, but college Deans say it happens every year; they have plenty of eager students on their waiting lists ready to take those spots.

Accepted students who are settled on their choice for next year can let down their guard regarding any extracurricular activities they no longer wish to pursue.  And granted, grades don’t have to be as perfect as before. But keep in mind that you will likely be disappointed if you let your GPA slip too much after all your hard work throughout your high school years. 

For those on a wait list, keep working hard and let that school know that you will attend if moved into the accepted category. In rare instances, this can occur even after school gets out for the summer. (Your deposit at the first school is usually forfeited.)

How to stay motivated? I recommend creating a simple chart with the remaining school days and all the required projects, papers, tests, etc. As each one is accomplished, think of a small reward you can enjoy as a way of celebrating. Senior spring is a time to cherish before you and your friends go off in separate directions, so make sure you appreciate this time along the way.

Remember as well that you are “in training” for college, so this is the time to make sure that you are up to speed on your academics. If there are areas where you struggle, use this spring to ask for extra help from teachers and put in the time needed to improve your skills in any given area. It could be the factor that makes a big difference next year in your success as a college freshman.

Before you know it, you will be figuring out what to wear to your senior activities, signing yearbooks and posting group selfies. Enjoy it all!
For Juniors:

This spring can be stressful. Your grades are important for prospective colleges, as are your SATs or ACT exams that you are studying for. Not to mention trying to keep up with your job or activities outside of school.

It may be tempting to let things slip as you get into these last couple of months. But believe me, it will be worth it to hang in there until your finals are over – strong grades this year will give you more choices when you apply to colleges in the fall.

There are only so many hours in the day and you should not cut back on your sleep. Studies show that teens still need 8 hours of sleep each night and that your performance suffers with less. There may be some other area(s) where you can cut back for a couple of months until school is out, so that you can fit everything in and still have some time to unwind each week. Work on cutting out distractions (phones, internet, TV) so you can get your school work done in less time and then have some time for you!

We all have times of day when we are most efficient as well as routines that work best for us, so we get our work done in a timely manner.  This spring is a time to really zero in on being efficient, so you get the results you want without sacrificing your health or all your social time. Ask for help in setting up good routines and study habits if this is an area where you struggle. Of course, progress in this area will benefit you next year and in college as well.