Seniors, your high school career is nearing the end.  The finish line is in sight, but don’t hit cruise control just yet!  After all, you’ve got big plans to attend college and there’s much to do in order to stay on track.

In a recent interview with a school counselor from Grand Island Senior High, Melissa Luthi-Placke, I asked several questions regarding second-semester seniors and what she has experienced throughout the years.  She offered the following insight and advice.

What is the biggest issue seniors face after they return from winter break?

Getting organized!  Students need to set a realistic timeline for completing scholarships and other applications.  If decisions are still not made, perhaps students should think about visiting college campuses again.  Also, balancing time between keeping up with assignments and planning for their future, and staying motivated to attend classes are key!

What is the most common problem for college-bound seniors?

Students tend to take it too easy in that last semester, setting themselves up for a rough transition to the expectations of college – equally true for those going to the military or working full-time.  Seniors need to make sure to reply to emails, both from the high school and college(s), and get paperwork turned in on time!

Are there ways to combat “senioritis?”

Create a plan for balancing time and agree on it with parents or guardians so pressures, reminders, and expectations stay in balance. Determine how many hours per week you’ll devote to current responsibilities, as well as how many hours planning for college, self-care, rest, fun, healthy activities, etc.  With a plan or regimen in place, students stay more focused and don’t tend to fall behind on important tasks.

What things do you wish students knew or would do to help their cause?

Complete their FAFSA early, apply to colleges and apply for scholarships, even if they are uncertain about their plans.  Decisions made in May through July can be very costly and they don’t have to be! Begin planning early and keep your doors of opportunity open!

Are there any final words of advice for second-semester seniors?  Any do’s or don’ts?

DO:  Remember to write thank-you notes.  Be proactive by asking for what you need and advocating for yourself.  Follow through with appointments. Take time to enjoy what you have left of your senior year. READ YOUR EMAILS!!!

DON’T:  Don’t ever assume, no matter what the case!  Don’t ignore deadlines or surprise your parents with unexpected bills.  Don’t settle for so-so grades if you’re capable of doing better!  Don’t expect others to do for you what you should be doing for yourself.

Refer to our senior timeline to help you stay on track during your senior year.  The more organized you are, the happier you and your family will be.  This is sure to help you feel much more at ease when you start college.

As always, if you’re feeling unsure or would just like to check in with a college planning specialist, contact the EducationQuest location nearest you.