This past week was the first of many senior meetings for us. We were filled in on what our student needs to be doing to get ready for his time after high school and in selecting a college.
We have been through all this before, as we have an older son. However, it has been some years. Our oldest son has already finished college and is now a graduate student. He finished high school in a non-traditional way – via an online platform – due to needing more challenge than our resident district was able to provide. Still, as a student who was allowed to continue to play in the local high school band and participate in theatrical performances, we took advantage of attending the “get ready” meetings our resident district offered at the time, as well.
However, as most seasoned parents know, each student is different. And, in addition to the student differences, our guidance department has completely changed as well in the time that has elapsed since we attended these meetings with our oldest son. Even the name has been changed from Guidance Office to Student Services. Go Figure! I still am not sure of the reason for that. All of these reasons served as our impetus to attend this meeting.
So, Monday night, off we went. The meeting was short. References were made back to the “junior meeting” of last spring on a number of occasions. Of course, we attended that, too. However, it made me feel for those who had not. The meeting was poorly attended. This was something we did not understand. But, with a little more conversation, it was realized that no reminders were given to students about either the meeting date or time, and need to be there. It was only because I put the date on our calendar that I knew we needed to attend. The date was sent out with registration materials in the summer. Still, several parents, myself included, wondered why the students were not reminded about this important meeting. It was on the day’s announcements on the high school website, but other than that, there was no reminder of any kind.
We really did not need to attend. Even though my student is different from my first, the college application process has not changed all that much. The biggest difference is that the FAFSA applications should now be done in October, at your earliest convenience, rather than waiting until the spring prior to high school graduation. At our insistence, our senior is actually ahead of the curve, with two college applications completed – one offer of admission and one institutional academic scholarship being confirmed, as well. With the exception of his AP test scores needing to be sent to one of the institutions, he has little left to do. Except keep looking – or not. The decision is his. I do think there is a little pressure removed for him by having been accepted at one of his two top university choices.
But, again, the focus was on what has not been done by students and/or families, not who has been efficient and started this process already. I think this focus needs to change. I was secretly hoping the guidance counselors would ask if anyone had completed applications already or heard of acceptances from colleges. Of course, they did not. I have been careful to offer sincere and well deserved praise to my senior for having much of what he needs done, be done so early in the year. I wish his counselors knew of this expediency. Again, the focus is on those who are not as organized, leaving little room for time, praise, or recognition for those who are.
One thing is for sure, the year will go very fast. And, maybe that is a good thing for us all.