All of us are familiar with the age-old feeling of “senioritis”—the desire to just be done with school, already! Whether it comes your senior year of high school or college makes no difference. It can still be a debilitating experience.

Trouble is, senioritis can lead some homeschool seniors to make a handful of common blunders that hurt their shot at success in college or career. Today’s blog post is dedicated to unearthing these missteps and showing you how to avoid them.

Here they are!

1. “Coasting” to graduation

Maybe the biggest mistake of all is not treating your senior year with the right level of respect. Even though you’re close to graduation, your grades still count—a lot. College admissions officers often look for a first semester “slump” in grades the senior year to identify whether a student is slacking off or not.

So, keep pace with serious coursework, and don’t go too crazy with electives!


2. Taking standardized tests only once

Consider the first time taking a standardized test as a practice round. The second is your actual score. This should be the case unless you’re one of the lucky few to hit your target score on the first try.

It’s true that SAT and ACT scores are only one factor that colleges use in admissions and for scholarships, but they are still super important.

One way to ensure a great score is to take practice tests before the actual exam. There are many available online for free—for both the ACT and SAT, as well as the PSAT/NMSQT.


3. Emphasizing academics too much

It goes without saying that impressive academics are key to getting into the college of your choice, but schools want to see a well-rounded student—and focusing too much on the academic side of things can ultimately cost you.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to ensure that your student’s homeschool transcript contains a wide variety of extracurricular activities. These demonstrate a well-rounded student for admissions departments.

Another side to this issue: Help your student avoid getting so wrapped up in academics and activities that he or she burns out. Slow and steady is the key.


4. Ignoring scholarships and financial aid

Budget a chunk of time during your senior year to apply for scholarships. Each year, nearly $50 billion in scholarships and grants are awarded to U.S. college students. Why not try to tap into some of those resources? Keep in mind that scholarships often have fall and spring deadlines, so plan accordingly.

In addition to merit-based scholarships, be sure to factor potential financial aid into the equation. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Check out these tips for homeschool students.


5. Not creating a prioritized list of colleges

Maybe you have an ideal “dream college.” If that’s the case, great! But be sure to have many other colleges on your list, too. Here, it’s a good idea to create a three-tiered list of colleges—safety, target, and reach schools—for the best mix possible.


6. Skipping the summer job or internship

While a summer job or internship isn’t right for every student, you should never rule it out. Whether it’s waiting tables, mowing lawns, lifeguarding, or delivering newspapers before the crack of dawn, a job helps your student gain real-world experience while (hopefully!) pocketing some cash.

Job history—or even better an internship in a field associated with your student’s eventual major—can be a big boost in the eyes of college admissions departments as well.


7. Procrastinating

We all know that procrastination is one of the biggest productivity killers out there. And during your student’s senior year of high school, a habit of procrastination can lead to all kinds of problems post-graduation. Here are some tips for your student to avoid this common problem:

  • Set short-term, achievable goals (and rewards for meeting them)
  • Break up large projects (like creating a transcript) into smaller chunks
  • Set deadlines
  • Develop a daily routine
  • Focus on one task at a time
  • Realize that you can’t do everything, so prioritize the most important to do’s


8. Not having a plan

If your student hasn’t already done some seriously thinking about plans for post-graduation, now is the time.

By having a plan, we’re not suggesting that you have everything mapped out in terms of college and career. In fact, the early college years can be a wonderful time of exploration and creativity. But you need to have a general direction and a set of blueprints to help you head in that direction. Having at least something on paper will increase the likelihood that your student will stick to it.


9. Not thinking about a homeschool transcript until it’s too late

In the best of all possible worlds, you and your student were planning and building a homeschool transcript early on in high school (or even doing some serious thinking about it in middle school). But by your student’s senior year, it’s definitely time to get serious about a transcript.

Here’s the thing: Making a transcript from scratch can be an intimidating, burdensome task for homeschool families. It’s hard to know where to start. And even if you finish one, how do you know it’s what college admissions departments are looking for?

That’s why having an app like Transcript Maker in your toolbox is so crucial. Transcript Maker does all the heavy lifting for you, so that you and your student can focus on what matters most heading into college or career. Try it free for 14 days.