During the fourth year, parents should begin to ask the students various questions about their futures—“Where do you plan to live?” “Will you have enough money?” or “Are you planning to move back home?”
Whatever the case may be, this stage requires parents to serve as encouragers and to give boosts of confidence and advice to help students transition into their own lives. Parents can also use friends or other family members as potential resources for helping students set up interviews and jobs.
Ginna Holmes, director of academic and career planning, strongly encourages the use of the Academic and Career Planning Office throughout a student’s time at Alma College, though she offers specific advice for how to have a successful senior year.
“Participating in workshops, individual appointments and opportunities will be key to having a direction to follow upon graduation,” says Holmes.
If graduate school is a possibility, be sure to encourage students early in the year to schedule a time to take their standardized tests.
However, Holmes says, it can be very easy for students to become overly stressed, so they should remember to enjoy the time here while still finding ways to prepare for life after graduation.
“It is important to not lose sight of the importance of being at college and enjoying the relationships that have been established,” she says.
For example, students should try to get recommendation letters and references completed before they graduate. If students ask faculty and staff before they leave campus, they are still fresh in the minds of these folks and likely will get a more detailed letter.