Dear Mom of a high school Junior,
I know the feeling. The feeling you get when you see your teen in a new way. The way that they are towering over you with their height and the way they are beginning to look more and more like an adult and less like a child. You know what it means. You begin to realize that the times are changing. That next year, it will be you sending out graduation invites.
The year that is right in front of you is one of the most monumental moments in your child's life so far. It will come with exciting times and times of uncertainty but you, mom, will be there to watch it all unfold. You will have a front row seat to the miracle. You will witness the transformation from childhood to adulthood right before your very eyes. It is a fabulous time of life.
You will witness the last firsts. The last, first day of school, the last first game of the season and the last, last day of school. It will go quicker than you realize and you won't be ready. How could you possibly be ready?
Towards the end of the junior year of high school, a strange thing often happens. That junior that you love and adore begins to wean themselves from you in their search for independence. In some strange way, your teen may begin to distance themselves from you. It is a natural part of them gaining their independence and in some ways makes the transition easier when they leave. They still want to know that you are close and there if they need you, but they also want to see what this "independence" looks like. They are trying to get comfortable with the realization that they are becoming adults. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.
The best response you can have at this time is to let them explore their world. When college discussions begin to happen, just listen. One day, they may show interest in moving across the country to go to school, the next day, they are considering the junior college down the street, just to stay close to home. Let them explore. Listen. What they say today, will probably change tomorrow.
In regards to helping them on their college quest, there are a few things you can encourage them to do during the junior year.
Take the Tests! What test? Have your student sign up for the SAT test here : https://www.collegeboard.org/ and the ACT test here: http://www.actstudent.org/ If you wondering which test is right for your student, then look at the blog here : http://www.imaginecollegecoaching.com/ for more information. If studying for the SAT test, I can't recommend highly enough the study materials here : https://www.khanacademy.org/ The positives of taking the test several times is that most schools "super score." This means they will take the highest score on each section and put them together for a combined score. This can mean great news for your student. The negatives of taking the test too many times is the stress that is puts on your student. My personal opinion is that it is not worth the money to spend thousands of dollars on test prep courses. Many would disagree, it is just my personal opinion.
Identify Strengths! I truly believe that if you find your student's passion, his major won't be far behind. Now, don't misunderstand me here....I am not saying if yours child's passion is playing video games, that he should expect to be paid for that, but rather, look close to the things he/she enjoys. The child who is truly passionate about video games might consider computer science or related field. Look at your student's natural strengths and talents and help them identify a career where they might incorporate those. Finding a college major doesn't have to be stressful if you and your teen explore.
Take a Road Trip. The junior year is the perfect time to go on college visits. Find schools that interest your student and go explore. This is a great way to spend time together as well as find out what your student is looking for in a school.
Ask for Recommendation letters. April and May of the junior year is the best time to ask for recommendation letters. Be sure to provide the teachers and people you ask with a current resume so they can be informed of the activities and events you have participated in. Be sure to request the letters politely and ALWAYS have your student write a hand written than you note when the letter is received. Be sure to make extra copies of the letters to use for multiple things throughout the college admissions process.
Hire a College Coach. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your student is the gift of a college coach. We hope that you will contact us at http://www.imaginecollegecoaching.com/We would love to help you and your student through this exciting time. In addition, we have an online library filled with helpful videos and articles to guide you through this exciting process. Having a college coach will ease the stress for both parents and students and open your eyes about opportunities, scholarships and schools that you may not know about otherwise.
Last but certainly not least. Enjoy every single day with this amazing teen you have. You will literally blink and they will be a thriving college student. Savor every drop of today.