Most people would not expect to see the phrase “Senior Moment” in a column focused on young people. We have come to associate the phrase with temporary lapses in memory or judgment. If the title of this article caught your attention because you were hoping to be amused by an anecdotal reference to me embarrassing myself because I momentarily lost my mind, it’s not going to happen — not that I haven’t ever or will never lose my mind (temporary or otherwise). I’m just not writing about it in this column.
This column is dedicated to high school seniors all over the world. If you know a twelfth-grader, make sure they read this article. If you know someone who knows a high school senior, give them a copy. I’m sure you’re asking yourself “What makes this article so special?”
Seniors across America are switching gears for high school graduation. While some are gearing up, unfortunately, others are gearing down. This column is a call to preparation. It is a call to resolution. It may also be your call to re-dedication. At this point in the twelfth and final year of high school, students find themselves in one of five categories:
1. Already accepted into college
2. Awaiting responses from college applications
3. “Fixin” to apply to college
4. Not really sure if they want to go to college
5. Absolutely NOT going to college
For those seniors in category one or two, you are well on your way. All that remains for you is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to apply for as many scholarships as possible (apply like three weeks ago). If you choose not to apply for scholarships because you consider the essays too difficult or too time consuming, oh well – It’s only money!
For those seniors wavering in categories three and four, accept this as your call to action. Starting today, several decisions need to be made. Please do not let another day pass without giving careful thought to your plans beyond high school.
Consider your interests. Pick a career based on the things you like to do.
If that career requires education beyond high school, then take the courses necessary to eventually earn money doing something you actually like (parents, imagine that)! Making that decision is the first step in determining whether or not college is the next logical step for you.
If your thoughts and plans lead you to college, make sure you apply early enough to also be considered for scholarships, grants and other awards that you don’t have to pay back. In order to receive these awards, you must apply early. It’s not too late, YET. But too late is just a couple of weeks away. Apply early!!!
Every year millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed or get rewarded to students who were not in the top 30 percent academically of their graduating class. Scholarship funds can come from many unexpected sources. Do not let fear or laziness cost you the opportunity to earn thousands in scholarship dollars.
For some students in Category five, it’s not a poor decision or misinformation steering you away from college. Many students are fully aware of their career interest and recognize that college is not a necessary step in pursuing that career. If this truly is the case, I applaud your dedication.
I also applaud your ability to follow your interests and your efforts to make your dream a reality. To you I say, “Keep reaching for the stars”. To others in category five who have made the decision not to go to college simply because they didn’t like high school, please read this article again! And again!
Whatever your present category, the most important step you can take right now is to make an informed decision. Know why you want to go to that school. Know why you plan to pursue that major. Know why you’re going to work there. Proverbial words from the Bible say, “In all thy getting, get understanding.” Discuss your plans with someone who can help you get a clear understanding and help you make the right steps toward achieving your goal.
One final word of caution is: Do not yield to the temptation of “Senioritis,” Senior Letdown or Senior Privilege (some just call it Senior Laziness). Colleges are issuing conditional acceptance letters, with the final acceptance pending an official transcript to include your entire senior year.
Continue in your hard work. As a high school senior, it is okay to enjoy a moment. However, please don’t let the entire Spring semester become your Senior Moment. At some point you will notice that the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get. Be Young! Have Fun!