2016 seniors, it’s not over yet…

Do all high school seniors earn their diploma?

You are probably counting down the hours to the grand procession of one of the most celebrated events of your life. You’ve participated in many senior festivities; such as, your senior breakfast, banquet, prom, and maybe you even took advantage of “senior skip day.”  Early May is the month when seniors get a little crazy and decide to toot horns and light up the sky with fireworks; but hold on, not yet.


You are probably thinking, “Why not?”  Sorry to take the air out of your balloon, but you are not a high school graduate until you receive the document known as the high school diploma. The diploma certifies that you have met the graduation requirements established by your state department of education, school district, and/or education council.


If you are not careful, several minor or careless mistakes could affect the outcome of your highly anticipated day.  Not only will you be disappointed on graduation day, and your parents, but you could also receive an unfortunate letter from the college of your choice. If your grades drop, your matriculation plans for August/September could change.


Be wise, seniors, during the final weeks of school and heed this advice.  Continue to be a student until your exams are over and your class officially ends.  Devote serious effort to exam preparation and performance, especially if your final quarter grades are low.


Use all available resources for academic help and keep open communication with your teachers.  They need to see you every day in class.  Show concern about your grades and let them observe conscientious effort.


Be an advocate and confirm with your counselor that you are on track for a 2016 graduation.  Verify that you have earned, or will earn, all necessary credits, passed all required assessments, completed community service hours, and fulfilled everything mandated for your 2016 diploma.


This is not the time for funny antics, immature behavior, and poor judgment.  I’ve known seniors who could not participate in the graduation ceremony due to inappropriate behavior immediately before the event, unfulfilled detentions, and other careless mistakes.  The students had to pick up their diploma, after graduation, from the registrar.  Sad, but true.


Do not jeopardize your college plans with indiscretions.  When you are admitted to college, it is a provisional acceptance until they receive your final transcript.  They will review the transcript to confirm you graduated and they will check your second semester performance.  The college of your choice wants to be sure you have remained engaged in your studies from the time you applied for admission continuing until  graduation.  Many will also view poor attendance and detentions/suspensions during second semester as negative behavior, or attributes undesirable for a prospective college freshman.


Many seniors ask, “Do colleges really rescind decisions?”  And the answer is, yes, they do.  I’ve had students who not only had admissions decisions rescinded, but they also had scholarships withdrawn, due to a decline in second semester performance.


Be aware that many colleges are announcing a larger than normal yield for their next freshman class; therefore, expecting a “healthy” college matriculation for August/September.  If this prediction is true, some colleges can afford to be “picky” if they don’t like what they see on your final transcript.


And lastly, senioritis, is this a real disease?  Beware of this “senior itch” that is not a true medical diagnosis in any textbook.  However, it can be a negative temptation that might present unfortunate consequences for the end of your senior year.  Just remember, you have worked too hard to get a dismissive attitude so remain a student until the very end, then celebrate your high school graduation.


P.S.  Don’t forget about your May 1st obligation, if you have not notified your college of your intent to matriculate.  Remember, you can only deposit at one college!  If you were accepted at colleges that you do not plan to attend, you must also notify them by May 1st so they can offer decisions to wait-list candidates.

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