Back to School Updates for Seniors

We will be posting periodic updates this fall with information relevant to senior families. Please stay tuned and contact your child’s counselor with questions about any messages in these updates!

Senior Seminar

Seniors participated in Junior Guidance Seminars last winter and spring in which they discussed researching options for life after high school. For those planning to apply to institutions of higher education (4-year colleges, 2-year colleges, vocational/technical colleges), most will have continued their search during the summer, many visiting colleges, interviewing where possible and appropriate, talking to current college students, reading catalogs, gathering information on- line, and narrowing down their lists to the schools to which they will definitely apply.

The primary focus of the senior guidance seminar this fall is on the practical aspects of the application process including: interviews and visits; suggestions for narrowing one’s list of colleges; the mechanics of completing applications; the importance of strong personal essays; the logistics of processing applications through the guidance department; as well as clarification of student, parent and counselor responsibilities. It is important to note that while not every student intends to apply to college following their high school graduation, there is a heavy emphasis in this seminar on applying to college. Students planning to pursue other pathways (vocational training, employment, gap year, military enlistment) should meet with their counselor (see below). This session is extremely important for every senior — whether s/he has investigated thoroughly enough to be applying early or is still trying to determine a final list of colleges to which to apply. Seniors should follow up on this seminar session with individual appointment with their counselor. Counselors will assist students with whatever they need as they work through the investigation and application process.

College representatives visit NSHS

When college admissions officers visit Newton South High School this fall, students are encouraged to meet with the representatives from the colleges to which they are applying. This is an excellent opportunity for students to make personal contacts with admissions personnel, which can be extremely helpful. However, students must secure their teacher’s permission in advance if they will miss a class. Visits predominantly occur during the school day.

It’s not too late

Students who are unsure of their future plans should see their counselor to follow up on the senior seminar. Rest assured that there is always a wide range of readiness among seniors. All students who are serious about attending college in the fall of 2019 will get there. Some students will apply now and defer enrollment until the fall of 2020, and others may not apply until later. Still others may decide to attend a post-graduate program for a year and then apply to college. (See Options below.)

Options other than college

If you and your child are considering technical schools/colleges or prep schools for a post-graduate year, s/he should meet with his or her counselor to discuss these options. For technical schools and prep schools, the application process is essentially the same as it is for colleges; therefore, students can rely upon information presented in guidance seminar along with their peers.

Some other students may be considering taking a year off before attending college, and it is important for them to know that they can apply to colleges at this time, be accepted and then defer their matriculation for a year at most colleges. In this way, the student completes the process now when they have all the resources around them and need not go through the application process next year. In addition, should they change their minds, they would have the option to attend college in September 2019. You should be aware that there are many positive options for students who take a year off before college — adventures such as travel, community service, foreign study, or work.

Joining one of the military services may be a good option for some students. They too should work closely with their counselor throughout the year in order for them to be as informed and prepared as possible for the transition to their post-high school experience. It is very important to help your child to consider what is really the best next step for him or her.