Split blue image, woman with tablet, man at laptop, words Ask the Experts

How Can I Help Seniors Prep for the College Transition?

College can be a big transition, and counselors are the guide every student needs. Here's some expert advice on preparing high school seniors for college life.

Charlotte M. Klaar, PhDCharlotte M. Klaar, PhD
Director
Klaar College Consulting LLC
By the time the student is ready to leave for college, the student and counselor have developed a trusting relationship. Therefore, the student might be more likely to ask the counselor the questions about which they're having anxiety than might otherwise be the case. Students are often hesitant to share these questions with their parents because they don’t want the parents to worry or to think that the student is not ready to leave home. The counselor is an unbiased third party who can often help.

Ann HerbenerAnn Herbener
College Counselor
Papillion-La Vista High School
Toward the end of senior year, many students have concerns about the transition to college. Meal plans, social life, involvement, and roommates are just a few issues seniors have on their minds. College counselors, who visit campuses often, can help remedy some of those fears early. Through online resources and presentations, college counselors can help graduates prepare for the transition.

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Sandra E. Clifton
Educational Consultant for Social & Emotional Learning
Clifton Corner: An Academic Coaching Center
Part of the answer lies in how honest the student is during the college application process: this choice must be an individual decision, driven from personal motivations and not the desire to please family members or impress society. I find that the students who struggle the most at college are the ones who have made a particular choice based on how they thought it would make them appear to others, rather than reasons based on their own individual learning style, social needs, and geographical interests. The biggest consideration for transition into college life is: “Does being in this place make me happy?”

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Stuart Nachbar
President
EducatedQuest.com
Advise students to take on academic challenges during their senior year in the subjects that interest them the most. If a student loves science, for example, that student should take the hardest science courses as a high school senior. A student should also be encouraged to choose electives that are complementary, again if they spark interests. I have no quarrel, for instance, with encouraging a senior who wants to study mechanical engineering to take auto mechanics along with calculus and physics and skipping AP English or history.

If your students are still doubting themselves, try sharing our article How to Know If You're Ready for College to help them get a better handle on college readiness.

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