December Guide for Seniors

For those seniors who are putting off their applications till the last possible minute, The New York TImes Choice Blog has posted some wise words here offered by David Burke, the director of college counseling at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Mo.:

"Seniors: Let me start by saying, I feel your pain. Even though I tell myself every year that I won’t wait until the last minute to finish my tax returns, I just can’t make myself do them sooner. (Remind the adults in your life of this fact the next time they nag you about procrastinating on your college applications.)

But now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are in the past, it really is time to get serious about applying to college if you haven’t already."

For those seniors who are finished, make sure to be appreciative of all those who have helped you get to where you are, be considerate of others still struggling through the process, and keep in mind that you still need to do well in your senior year classes.

For seniors who are anxiously waiting to receive early notifications, make sure that you have a backup plan in case you don't get in early, and start preparing those other applications!

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The Season of Senior Slump Begins

You may want to avoid this type of behavior.

As we near spring, and the pressures of the college admission process relents, seniors may finally find themselves starting to relax, but how far should they let their responsibilities slide? In a recently posted New York Times Choice blog, Martha Merrill, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College, warns students not to enter a senior slump: "We expect the students we admit will continue to demonstrate the traits that distinguished them during the admission process — throughout senior year and during the years spent on our campus. If you can’t maintain that level of success during your senior year, you cast doubt on your ability to succeed in college."

Not only will lowered performance raise red flags among admissions officers, but offers of acceptance could also be revoked, and the dean herself has admitted to revoking several over her years with the university. While this can sound a bit harsh, especially to parents who see how hard their kids have been working, this is more about wanting students to make a successful transition to college, rather than encouraging students to maintain high levels of stress. As Merrill puts it, "With applications in, seniors should take time to savor their final months of high school and enjoy family and friends. But they should also be using this important time in their lives to practice balancing academics with other commitments, and not fall victim to the "senior slack.""