Avoiding senioritis: CMS counselors share their tips

The holidays are over and another season has begun – the season of college admission decisions for many CMS seniors. School guidance counselors have been hard at work all year helping to prepare their students for this busy time of year.

Director of School Guidance Karen Thomas is celebrating National School Counseling Week (Feb. 5-9) by sharing her checklist seniors should follow when preparing for college:

•Avoid senioritis – stay focused on course work. Confirm with a guidance counselor that all graduation requirements will be fulfilled by June.

•Talk with a counselor to narrow down a “short list” of college choices.

•Notify colleges of your intent by no later than May 1.

•Apply for a residential hall, if planning on living on campus and make the required deposit.

•If college requires a mid-year transcript request that from a counselor.

•If applying for financial aid, complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov for assistance.

•Beware of scams that claim thousands of dollars in scholarship money for a small fee.

•Make sure to meet financial aid deadlines. Many have deadlines in March.

•Use the CMS online scholarship guide at www.scholarshipplus.com/charmeck.

•If scholarships require recommendations, ask your recommenders at least two weeks in advance to complete your forms.

·If you are preparing to play sports in college, follow the guidelines established by the NCAA Clearinghouse at www.ncaa.org.

·Celebrate your accomplishments! Thank your parents, teachers, counselors and others who helped you with your journey.

Joe Caraher, a guidance counselor at North Meck High, advises seniors to make sure they have their graduation items, including invitations, gap and gown taken care of well in advance.

“The biggest thing for seniors to remember is to make sure that they are on top of everything and follow a checklist so that they can enjoy their senior year experience and not be sweating bullets near the end of the school year,” Caraher added.