It is the time of year when seniors and their families start to stress- again. Many have not heard back from their top school. Many start to worry that no news is bad news. Others start to apply to every college they can think of because they wonder if all of their schools were too far a reach. To those to whom this rings familiar, relax, it will work out. But then there are the students on the other side of the coin, those who were accepted early or decided that college was a “lock” and they take their foot off the gas, drop or fail a class, or their GPA tanks senior year. “It’s the online learning.” “The IB program is impossible senior year.” Maybe they are burnt out?
There are times when these students argue with me about why it’s”not a big deal” to not get the IB diploma or skip to the AP exams. Why should they finish strong? I’ll tell you why. If high school is stressful and hard, you have not seen anything yet. Colleges are looking for students serious about learning and willing to go out of their way for their education and to achieve their learning goals. It is important to your self esteem to continue to do you best. There have been situations where offers are rescinded and, if you were deferred, it will be those senior year grades and exams that may be just what you need to be accepted at the last hour. It is important to know, at a deep level, that you put forth your BEST effort at all things “college application” and more. But, I have come to realize that, if these students had the mentality of always going out of their way to do their best, they would not be having these conversations with me, their parents, or themselves.
Regardless of where you are in the college admissions process, here is some advice: Good things come to people who work hard. If you plan to always do your best, you will always get the best of whatever life has to offer or come pretty close to it (or, at the minimum, you will have the personal satisfaction that gave it all you had). Minimal effort will give you that exact return on your investment.
At the end of the day you have to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. I do not make the final decisions on admitting or denying students. What I do, is seek to bring a students best effort to the forefront and differentiate them in the admissions process. I can not motivate a student, that comes from within and is not teachable. So seniors, keep on truckin’, it means something. Juniors, get ready for an amazing ride filled with opportunities that only YOU can choose to take. You are now driving the car. Your parents are in the stands watching. And we, the counselors, are here to put the wheels back on and add some gas. The driving is up to you and the destination will be reached with determination, planning, and using all of your senses.
Remember that the choices you make in high school (academic or otherwise) will likely have long-term impact on your college plans. Best efforts today will translate to best possible results tomorrow, and mediocre efforts … may leave you in the pit or on the shoulder. Drivers ready? Set? Let’s go. Keep your foot on the gas until the very end.