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4 Tools to Help Your Student Avoid Senioritis and Prepare for College

Slacking off senior year means risking admission and scholarships. Here are tools your student can use to stay sharp and get ready for college-level work.

Each year, thousands of students across the nation get ready for the transition from high school to collegiate studies. As you regard your own college-bound student, there are several ways you can help ensure they’re the most academically prepared they could be. During senior year of high school, students find themselves anxiously checking their mailboxes for the long-awaited college acceptance letters. Many teens, upon receiving admission, will be tempted to simply coast and ease up on their studies until graduation.

Academic apathy can cause students to experience a downward educational spiral and GPA slides. Not only does this have the potential to jeopardize scholarship opportunities and the very college acceptance they worked so hard to achieve, but high school seniors who slack in their studying, homework, and test prep may find they enter their collegiate studies woefully unprepared. It’s important that they understand the consequences of letting “senioritis” affect a successful transition to college-level coursework as well as be given the tools for staying sharp over the summer.

1. Using SAT and ACT study materials after the test

During the final months of high school, seniors should continue their test review schedule to ensure they’re learning foundational knowledge for collegiate studies. In addition, students can benefit from DIY-ing or purchasing a set of ACT and SAT flashcards to refresh their skills once a week. Reading through 20 or more ACT or SAT flashcards helps students retain and remember more of the important high-school-level objectives that will be the foundation of their collegiate studies. In addition, students can choose the flashcards that quiz them on information they feel they have yet to master. Adding 15 minutes or more a day to review high school concepts can help give students a scholastic advantage when they begin their college-level studies.

2. Honing important skills

Students with an interest in writing, whether creative fiction, blogging, journaling, or journalism, should continue honing those skills throughout senior year and the summer before school starts. The same goes for art students in whatever medium they prefer. Athletes should practice their sports. Whatever their interests, encourage your student to participate in activities this summer that hone important soft skills, hard skills, and talents for their passions. Students should also read voraciously and for fun if they don’t do so already!

Related: Our Best Advice on Building Important Skills as a Student

3. Taking early college classes

If your high school senior has enough credits to graduate and takes one or more junior college general education courses, they may find themselves academically ahead of their peers in college—and perhaps financially ahead as well. High school seniors may opt to wait until the summer to enroll in a college course that will transfer to their college. Taking a college-level course before the fall semester may help your student’s transition from high school studies to the volume and complexity of college academics.

Students entering their first year of college with the experience of passing a college course will be better prepared to juggle the accelerating academic demands. Parents, when helping your teen select a general education course to take, please advise them to enroll in a course that will challenge them. It will be easier to handle with your student only having to concentrate on just one course.

4. Expanding their vocabulary

During the months leading up to college, students should make a list of 11–18 vocabulary words from the college entrance exams preparation book. Students can even call their campus bookstore to obtain the names and even copies of textbooks they’ll use in their first semester classes and get a head start on the reading, even by just perusing the glossary, initial chapters, or online learning sources. While doing so, they’ll generally find a list of words or terms they’re unfamiliar with.

Studying 11–18 of these words each week and learning how to use them correctly in sentences can be quite beneficial. Students should also write out the phonetic pronunciation next to the regular spelling if they’re unable to properly decode the word. The student should make sure they know the multiple ways the words can be used in sentences, including the part of speech. Developing a strong foundation of collegiate vocabulary, using the college entrance exams or collegiate upcoming courses in manageable chunks of words each week can help students do better at the beginning of college. These words can be effectively used in college-level essay questions, objective tests and exams, written reports, and creative writing.

Related: Fun SAT Vocab Prep With the Dictionary of Difficult Words

Senior year is an exciting time for students, but some of them get a little caught up and forget how important their academics are. Give them a gentle nudge every once and a while with some helpful ways to stay academically on track and ready for a bright college future.

If you’re looking for more general senioritis tips, check out our blog How Parents and Teachers Can Help Combat Senioritis.

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