Seniors prepare for life after high school

Joe Cross and Haley Kranz

Alexis Russell, Special to The Red Ledger

Spring semester can be a nerve-wracking but exciting time for seniors. Graduation is in a couple of months, and a lot of seniors are already preparing themselves for their first semester of their freshman year of college.

However, not all students are ready to transition into the next phase of their lives. While many have already been accepted into universities across the nation, others are scrambling to get their stuff together before it’s too late.

Randy Trevino, a college/career counselor, said that seniors who are struggling with the concept of going away to school in a couple of months should go in with an open mind.

“I would put it this way, college can be the best time in a person’s life,” Trevino said. “So, to emotionally prepare for college, understand that it is a fantastic time to really discover who you are and what you want to be.”

Other seniors who have already been accepted to college may not be taking the necessary steps to prepare themselves for that first semester in the fall, Trevino said.

“The first couple of days are easy, the professors are talking about their syllabus and how the semester is going to go and then all of the sudden BOOM. Here’s semester exams and it smacks you in the face,” Trevino said. “So, if you’re a senior who didn’t take the second half of your senior year seriously and you succumbed to senioritis, the first semester of college might be a shock to you.”

Trevino’s advice to these seniors would be to have fun, but stay the course and do not lose control of your senior year. Keep yourself focused and challenged and stay out of trouble. If you do this, you’ll find the rigor of college to be more manageable.

Avery Cordina, a senior, said her goal is to finish up her senior year strong.

“I’m still really focused on getting good grades,” Cordina said. “It still matters a lot to me so I am still going to focus on getting those good grades because colleges still look at your grades from this year.”

Cordina will be attending the University of Arkansas next fall, she said she is scared, but also excited to be transitioning from high school to college.

“I will miss the atmosphere [of high school] the most, just walking through the halls and seeing everybody I know,” Cordina said. “It’s going to be different going from a small school to a really big school.”

Cordina did early admission and applied to Arkansas over the summer, after she toured the campus with her family.

“Originally I wanted to go to UNT, but whenever I visited Arkansas, it just felt like that’s where I was meant to be,” Cordina said. “The campus is what made me choose the college, so I would recommend to anybody to visit the campus for sure when you are trying to decide between colleges.”

When deciding between schools, Trevino also stressed the importance of visiting campuses before making a final decision, especially after they’ve been accepted.

“The best thing a student [undecided on where to go] can do would be to go back to that college and actually visit,” Trevino said. “It’s at that point, you might be able to observe classes, you might be able to meet professors, meet folks in the honors college, meet people in your major, the door is wide open for you.

“The best thing you can do if you’re undecided, go back and visit that school, especially on one of those recruit weekends. Those types of programs are designed to show you the best of what the school is all about.”

Students who have already sent out their applications should be taking other steps to finalize their other arrangements for this upcoming fall.

“Any high school senior right now who has already submitted all their applications and has heard back from their designated school, should make sure that if they had definitively made their choice, they need to make sure they paid their enrollment deposit and housing department,” Trevino said. “By this time, [seniors] should already be starting to finalize their housing options. Spots on campus often times fill up. The earlier a student commits and signs up, the more likely they are to get their designated choices.”

For some students, transitioning to a traditional four-year college immediately after graduation may not be the right choice for them.

“[Community college] is a great option for a lot of students,” Trevino said. “For a number of different reasons, students may decide to go to Collin College for a year, could be academic or could be financial. There are a number of viable options across this region, and really the whole country, for transfer destinations for students who want to start at Collin.”

Trevino focused on the fact employers are not going to harp on where someone started. Instead, he said, they want to see the diploma from where they finished.

Allison Hubble, a senior, said she feels confident about taking the next step from high school to college because she in independent and can function on her own.

“I think I have good study habits and know the world for myself so I know how to get by with just me,” Hubble said.

Overall, Trevino stressed the importance for seniors to try and stay on track these last couple of months, as well as to not be scared or nervous entering their freshman year of college because they are not alone.

“College isn’t just about the education and degree you will receive. It’s also about personal growth,” Trevino said.  “College is a beautiful time in a student’s life. So take advantage of that opportunity by keeping an open mind.”