Counselor’s Calendar | March Checklist for Seniors
By AMY WINTERMEYER and MARK MOODY
Amy Wintermeyer, the co-director of college counseling at The Athenian School in Danville, Calif., and Mark Moody, the co-director of college counseling at Colorado Academy in Denver provide some timely advice for seniors on what they should be doing in March to prepare for the transition to college. –Tanya Caldwell
Seniors, here is your college admissions checklist for March:
Nuts and Bolts
Make sure you have submitted all application materials and required financial aid forms. If corrections to the Fafsa (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) are required, be sure to file them.
Job No. 1: ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’
Your applications are probably submitted by now. The winter and spring months of your senior year are a time to move on from the flurry of the application process. Leave those applications in the hands of the colleges, and focus on what’s in front of you. Invest yourself in your activities, have some fun, enjoy your senior year and your friends in the time you have left.
It’s a powerful force and a natural reaction to the long haul between application work, the holidays and the end of the year. End high school on a high note, energized for the transition to your next step. And of course, your admission offers will be contingent upon your continued performance at the level you’ve demonstrated so far. Keep moving forward and doing your best. How will you be remembered at your high school and in your community? Think about the contributions you can make with your experience and influence. Be a positive force and leave a legacy you’ll be proud of.
Have Dinner With Your Parents
While you are enjoying the golden days of your senior year with friends, make time for your family. Talk to your parents about the transition ahead. Use them as a sounding board for your anxieties and aspirations. Be open to their own concerns for you, and understand that your impending departure stirs emotions for them, too — they know you’re ready to leave but they also know they’re going to miss you. (Hint: A little quality time and communication will make your life easier, and your folks happier.)
Follow Up on Deferrals
If you received a deferral notification from an early application, you should e-mail the college by early March with any new and interesting information about your activities or academics that could impact their next visit to your file. Honestly restate your continued interest level in the college.
Celebrate Every Acceptance
By April 1, most college decisions will be reported. As results come in, be mindful of other students in your community as you discuss (or choose not to discuss) your own news. Celebrate the successes, no matter where they rank on your list, and don’t mourn the losses for more than a day. If it didn’t work out, it wasn’t the best place for you; so shift your focus to the other options. Don’t let your excitement or disappointment lead you to be inconsiderate; you were evaluated on your own record and not in comparison with anyone else. (Parents: This goes for you, too — celebrate the good news and help your child see that life goes on when the bad news comes.)
Be Supportive of Your Peers
College decisions don’t always make sense and friendships can be strained when one student is admitted and the other is not. Also be mindful that one student’s “safety” might be another student’s “reach” — and that everyone has their own preferences. In a year, you’ll all be engaged in your own individual adventures. In your final months together, be supportive, generous and celebrate one another.
Keep Your Counselor Informed
Your counselor can help you process the outcomes and begin to think about the next step in April: final decision-making. Also, don’t forget to share your news with those teachers that took time out of their busy schedules to write recommendations for you — they are invested in you, too.