For the class of 2021 there is much uncertainty. No matter how this senior year roles out, students should consider following these five guidelines. These strategies will help your child to be most prepared and have the best options for life after high school.
Sleep, movement and nutrition are key to maintaining good self-care habits. Teens have experienced a great deal of stress with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Stress and anxiety will be lessened If a good night’s rest, regular exercise and healthy eating habits are maintained. If sleep is difficult to obtain, remind your child the simple rule of shutting off screens at least an hour before bed and using calming music or meditation to relax the mind.
By sticking to a routine that is consistent and also, by keeping active, one is more likely to be able to relax at bed time. Drinking lots of water is also part of a nutritious diet. Little or no processed foods, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best base for a nourishing regime. Teens can add any self-care activities that fill their soul. Multiple studies have shown that gratitude helps increase happiness and positivity. Keeping a list of things one is grateful for is also a good daily habit.
2. Pursue new interests and improve existing ones
The high school years are a time of discovery and growth, as well as challenge. It is a time to pursue dreams and expand interests by experiencing new opportunities, even with the limits of self-distancing. Diverse online courses are now available for free. Taking a college class in an area of interest shows motivation and curiosity. Attend a virtual college fair. Learn a new language or instrument. Take self-assessments to discover more about interests, abilities, strengths. Think outside the box. Students can tutor online, teach a skill, begin a virtual business, even create a community service project virtually. Part-time jobs can also be obtained as long as there are good safety protocols. DoSomething.org is a youth led movement for good. Students can join a project on this site or start their own. There is a need for charity in these challenging times. It could be as simple as bringing groceries to the elderly or organizing a virtual campaign to acquire canned goods for food banks.
Every class matters. If a 4-year college is your child’s goal, they should check to see they have the courses they need for acceptance. Grades are important to colleges in the senior year. Teens should challenge themselves to develop the skills they will use after graduation. Reading for personal enjoyment is also a good habit to add, if your child hasn’t already.
4. Independence Skills
Some colleges are offering “adulting” classes. Students do not need to wait to learn “adulting” skills. Organization and independence are important for teens to acquire while still in high school. Teens can set their own timelines to maintain a well-balanced routine. Budgeting, time management, grocery shopping, laundry, meal planning and prep are all tasks that are crucial to be a successful adult. In the end, it will make your child’s transition much easier. Parents will feel more secure knowing that their child has the skills they need to succeed in all aspects of life.
5. Funding your education
During the senior year the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) opens for the fall of the next year. The FAFSA is the best way to receive grants, loans and work study. Individual college campuses, as well as high schools, are also a resource. Complete the FAFSA Forecaster to determine your family’s expected contribution. Even if it is uncertain if your child will attend a college in the fall, it is best to fill out the online application. Even if you think your family will not qualify, most colleges require the application be completed in order to offer scholarships and grants from their institution. Options will be greater after graduation if this has been checked off the list. This is also the year to look for scholarships. There are many scholarship websites. GoingMerry.com and FastWeb.com are two options. Beware of scams. You should never have to pay in order to apply for scholarships. High schools often have a data base for students to review. If your child has a college in mind, they also usually offer scholarships. Your child should inquire when to apply, as the times vary at each institution.