Graduating High School University Prep
It wasn’t long ago my bright blue-eyed girl was eagerly awaiting the bell on her very first day of kindergarten and now, we’re in the final year of high school. With my eldest daughter off to University and another in grade 12, here is my list for Graduating High School University Prep.
First, a word of advice, there will be many moments of stress or mini-meltdowns over the final year of high school. It’s an emotional time for both you and your child. Recognize that you are going to learn to let go, that your child will need a little nudge to become more independent and to trust in his or her decisions.
Graduating High School University Prep Tips:
- Prepare Ahead.
- Really, High School University Prep begins before the grade 12 graduation year but it’s not too late with hard work. Transcripts will be required and marks from specific classes over grades 11 and 12 will be considered towards University requirements and admission.
- Get off to a Good Start.
- Aim High. Your son or daughter should go into each class giving it their all, not just trying to drift by. Aim for the highest marks in every class. It’s unlikely to achieve 100% but the goal-setting mentality of that will naturally encourage the child to do better, study hard and gain higher marks than normal. Each child is different and doing their best is the goal here.
- Get Involved. If your child hasn’t been involved in sports or clubs over the high school years, it’s not too late. Many kids choose to try all-the-things in their final year of high school mostly for fun but also because it can look good on a resume. And, why not. These kids have worked hard to get to their graduation, they should enjoy what time they have left.
- Speak to the School Guidance Counselor.
- It’s a good idea for your child to be prepared before walking into an appointment but if he or she doesn’t know quite what they want to do for a career plan after high school, it’s ok to have a couple of ideas in mind.
- The Guidance Counselor can help determine if your child has enough credits to graduate and where that leaves his or her average percentage. It’s a good idea to do this sooner than later to allow time for changing classes/upgrading to meet requirements. Depending on the college of application, maths, and sciences are key in university enrollment requirements.
- Meet with the Guidance Counselor more than once over the graduation year to keep on track and possibly change classes before the second semester.
- Explore Career Options.
- Career Plan. With various apps and test available to students, there are plenty of options to find what your son or daughter may be interested in for a career path; often these are available on the schools or school districts website.
- University open houses begin in September. If the university is close enough, highs schools participate in sending interested grade 12 students. You can also book tours throughout the year at universities your child is interested in with your own arrangements.
- Career Fairs are also a great way for your child to learn about different career paths. High School can only teach about so many career options but there are so many more career paths that branch off. Finding an area of interest will narrow down the direction.
- Volunteering can open possibilities to your son or daughter and light a passion for a cause they never knew they had.
- Deciding on a University.
- After steps 1 – 4, your son or daughter should have a better idea of what they want to pursue in university. Each university has its career path strengths. Students can get general studies credits at all but transferring universities to pursue a college-specific program may be a hassle so maybe better to rule out these universities from the start.
- Have your child make a list of pros/cons/strengths/weaknesses for the universities that have sparked their interest. This will also rule out some universities.
- Transportation and distance to home may be a factor in university consideration. If it’s a larger university, city transit may be provided with student cards/fees and personal transportation may be more of a hassle and a cost than necessary with parking and time.
- Budget Planning.
- Whether a program or university is in mind, the money will need to be saved ahead. Applications, deposits and setup fees will apply before other funding may be available. A part-time job is a great way for students to save and be part of their High School University Prep process.
- Once the University/program is selected you will have a better idea of the exact costs involved and can budget accordingly. You should guesstimate early based on the average tuition, housing and meal costs from the university website and save accordingly.
- Scholarships and Funding.
- Apply for all scholarships even if the student doesn’t meet the scholorship requirements. The scholarship has to be awarded to a student for that graduating year and they don’t always receive a lot of applications.
- Apply for a student loan, even if your child doesn’t think they qualify. For example, parental income is considered before student loan approval if the student has lived with you the previous year. However, funding may be granted in full or partial if the student has a disability, is of minority or has a parental absence.
- Any scholarship money is usually awarded at graduation which should be considered bonus money. This money should be set aside for extra fees, textbooks, parking or monthly living costs.
- A student line of credit comes at a higher interest rate and has harder payment terms but maybe a stepping stone into the first year of university when nothing else is available.
- University Applications.
- For every application, there is a nonrefundable fee. This fee may vary per university so you may want to limit applications to the top two or three.
- Apply for early admission. If your son or daughter is decided on a university, then apply early for a better chance to be selected into their program of choice. There may also be added scholarships to early admissions. Check with the university admissions department or on the website.
- Finals Exams and Graduation.
- Working up to final exams is stressful on the graduating student. Everything they do matters from here. With building anxiety, some students start to fail or self-sabotage; be strong and guide your child with empowerment and positivity to the end goal.
- Spend the time to have fun, shop for that special graduation dress, go on a day trip or just a special treat here and there to celebrate. They’ve earned the chance to celebrate; graduation day is their day.
- Moving Out.
- Prepare to be emotional. You’ve been working hard to help your son or daughter prepare for this day. It’s an emotional rollercoaster once the realization sets in that adult life begins after high school. The days go quickly. Before you know it, the final summer you have together as parent and child living under your roof is a blur of family moments squeezed in with friend time.
- Start packing. Depending on where the new university student will be living, he or she will need more than just their bedroom belongings. University provides a move-in guide and checklist to make an easier transition.
- Allow yourself time to set up your child’s new university residence space; take pride in the independence your child has earned. Be emotional but don’t put your anxieties on your son or daughter. They can do this without you.
Graduating High School University Prep comes quicker than you think but these 10 tips will hopefully help make the preparations easier and help you and your son or daughter ease into the transition.