Biggest Mistakes Made by High School Graduates

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Feature Story

By Sarah Bond
Contributing Writer

A stressed student

Their future seems bright. All they have to do is graduate high school, and then they're off to college, right? Well, yes, as long as your students don't get tripped up by some of the common senior-year mistakes. Students shouldn't let this stress them out, though. Knowledge is power, and knowing about the obstacles that can keep them from being college-bound can help students avoid them from the start.

Failing to research their college options

Picking a college requires more than throwing a dart at a map and going wherever the dart lands. Students should do lots of research before choosing a college. Going online or taking a trip to the library to learn more about the top five to 10 schools that suit their academic goals is a good idea. If they don't have any top choices, students should visit online search sites that allow them to search by major, program length and location. Researching what each school has to offer by way of programs, class structure, financial aid and employment placement assistance can help them make an informed choice when choosing a career college.

Ignoring the advice of guidance counselors and teachers

A student's relationships with high school teachers and guidance counselors are invaluable. (This will not come as a surprise to teachers and counselors across the country but may be surprising to some students.) High school teachers and guidance counselors often have connections to instructors and admissions representatives at colleges that can prove extremely helpful when students are trying to decide what school to attend. Students should use all the information counselors have at their disposal. Most counselors typically have volumes of books with in-depth details about colleges throughout the country. Teachers and counselors are also great resources for advice on scholarships, programs and admissions processes.

Doing what everyone else is doing

College is a great opportunity for students to get out on their own and spread their wings. Keeping their high school friends is important, but students shouldn't be afraid to meet new people and have new experiences on their own. The school their friends, boyfriend or girlfriend choose may not be the best school for them. And while it may be hard to do for some, this is an important time in their lives where they need to make their own decisions – not follow the crowd. They should remember that this is their education and their future.

Another stressed student

Skipping college because they can’t decide what to study

Some students think, "Why waste time and money going to college if I haven't figured out what I want to do yet?" Chances are if they postpone college now, they’ll probably continue to find more reasons to put off their education each time enrollment season comes around. It's OK if they're not sure what they want to study. Teachers and counselors can encourage students to set up campus visits at local career colleges so they can visit with admissions representatives. Representatives there will talk to students about their interests and hobbies and recommend a program that could be a good fit for them. And remember, students can always switch to another program if their initial choice wasn't the right one.