I know my title sounds scary! My intent is NOT to scare, but rather to inform. I should give this disclaimer before I proceed: Please do NOT wake the kids up or demand they study all day and all weekend long! Let your teen be a teen, but they also must realize, they have business to tend to- their school work and college entrance exams!
Parents of multiple kids usually can tell which kids are hard workers, and the ones that kinda slide by life. They slack on their chores and barely do any homework. These are the kids that pass their state’s high school exit exams by the skins of their teeth, they don’t really don’t participate in extra curricular activities, but somehow, they are passing their courses (barely), and are always running late for the school bus. When this has been your teen’s track record from Freshman year to Senior year, it is easy for them to get lost in the crowd when it comes down to the counselor’s assisting with college prep.
Do not be surprised when it is time for the senior meeting that the counselor will pride your child on their stellar grades and how well they are doing. It may shock you to hear them encourage your child to compete in the most academic scholarship the state is offering. “You feel MY child can compete in one of two full-ride scholarships? My child that has maintained the minimum passing scores all term long?” Your student’s counselor will try their hardest to convince your child that even though they have a strong 2.0 GPA, that is good enough for the Ivy Leagues.
I can appreciate encouraging students to be positive so they can operate at their fullest and be their absolute best. But at the senior year, your child needs to see their reality for what it is. While graduating high school is one of the biggest accomplishments for your child, they must understand they will not have the same opportunities as their classmates that may have the 4.0 GPA. And there is nothing wrong with that! One thing adults in leadership roles at the school should understand is they need to not place false hopes into the students that have barely made it to graduation. The real world is near for them and they must be prepared for it. What good is it for the parents to drill in their child’s head to keep up with their homework, study in advance for test and get enough rest to be prepared for class the next morning if their counselor is telling them how excellent they did all year and they can pretty much write their own ticket for the future?
Would a guidance counselor give such false hope to a student that has maintained a consistent strong work ethic in the classroom all year long? I am convinced that at some point the guidance counselor feels the need to sugar coat reality for those that have barely made it to their senior year. I suppose in their minds they feel “why kick a dead horse? After all, if they didn’t care all year, why should we?”
I am well aware that a lot of parents put their all into enforcing study habits and taking school seriously, all for their teens to simply blow them off. Then in the 25th hour when graduation is near, the student has high hopes to attend their state’s flagship university. You want the best for your child, and you hurt because they did not take heed to all your warnings about school. There is still more involved than making good grades. The guidance counselor may not even go over how important it is to be active in the community or having a leadership role in extra curricular activities! I chose to write this article now rather than near graduation because I wanted to make sure that even if it is your child’s senior year and they blew off all 3 years of high school, they can do what it takes to make their very best grades and get out and volunteer! I would say it’s better late than never. But at this point, the guidance counselor may not be of great assistance if they feel your student has flown below the radar throughout their high school career.