The Keys to Senior Year Success

A UNHS Staff Article Collaboration

Your senior year of high school is a very exciting time. Whether you’re in the classroom or schooling from home, the finish line is in sight! Soon you’ll be starting a new and very important chapter in life. Before you get too carried away though, it’s important to remember that you’re not done yet. Your final year of high school is the most crucial time in the college planning process. This fall there are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth transition if you have plans to attend college next year:

Retake the ACT/SAT

Many seniors retake the ACT and/or SAT at least once during the fall. Make sure to sign up early and create a calendar of dates to keep yourself on track. This is your last opportunity to increase your scores – make it count!

Complete the FAFSA

The FAFSA is key if you’re looking to apply for student financial aid, whether in the form of scholarships or student loans. It only takes a few minutes to fill out. Learn more about the  FAFSA application process at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid

Narrow down your list of colleges

You’ve probably been looking at a number of colleges, trying to decide which ones are right for you. Now is the time to narrow the list of 3-5 potential colleges of choice. Narrowing down your options helps you find which colleges meet your criteria and makes it easier to manage your application materials. During this time of social distancing due to a global pandemic, consider exploring whether your schools of choice offer virtual options to help you learn more about the institution, such as a virtual campus tour or a video conference with a college ambassador.

Ask for letters of recommendation

Some college applications require letters of recommendation. These can come from advisers, teachers, coaches, or other adult figures in your life. Make sure to check if the college you’re applying to requires this! Don’t wait until the last minute and scramble to find someone willing to write a letter for you. Ask for letters early and remember to send a thank you when completed.

Apply for scholarships

College is an investment, and it can be expensive! Scholarships are a great way to help you finance your education. Check with your college’s financial aid office, talk with your high school advisers, and search scholarship databases to find which scholarships you are eligible for. The U.S. Department of Education scholarship page is a great resource to start with.

Start applications early

Most colleges have deadlines when applications must be completed by, with most regular decision deadlines falling sometime in January. Don’t wait until December to start working on your applications. Take the time this fall to start completing your applications, well before the deadlines. Make sure to check if your school accepts the Common App – it could save you countless hours!

At first glance it can seem overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time you will be on track for success. And remember to reach out to teachers, advisers, parents, and other trusted adults for support if you need any advice or help. You’ve got this!

The Gifts of Wisdom & Common Sense

Debby Bartz, UNHS Adviser

Every day I hear from parents who worry about the safety, health, happiness, and confidence of their children and teens, as well as the quality of their education. I completely understand these feelings not only from the perspective of a parent, but as a grandmother too. I have worked as a University of Nebraska High School academic adviser for eleven years and one important skill I have learned is that it is important to apply wisdom over worry for the most difficult situations and planning for the future.

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”
– Commonly attributed to Winston Churchill

Our life experiences have taught us as parents to use our strengths and common sense to make the best decisions. As we are currently facing unprecedented times, we have had to use common sense to make decisions for the health and safety of our families. We have discovered our talents for making masks, exercising wisely in our neighborhoods, socializing with distance and precautions, all the while rediscovering the gifts of having more time with immediate family members. We, as parents and grandparents, can teach the same principles of lifelong wisdom and rationality to our children and teens. COVID-19 has reminded us to lead with examples in self-care, self-motivation, self-regulation, self-organization, and self-confidence.

Schooling at home is not for everyone, but if it feels right for your family, the opportunity for your children to study independently with a well-written curriculum can help to reinforce their strengths and talents. Advance thinking and planning allows the University of Nebraska High School diploma program to affirm that students are successful now and will continue to be in the future. They will take the life experiences of living through a worldwide pandemic and come out stronger. They will know how to be resilient, how to use their independent-thinking skills to make good decisions, will hang onto the memories of having more time with family, and take this with them to someday be our future leaders.

Productive Study Strategies for Homeschool Families

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A UNHS Staff Article Collaboration

Whether you’re a seasoned homeschooler or got your first experience with homeschool through the COVID-19 pandemic, you can always create a more productive home study environment for your family.

At the University of Nebraska High School, we have been developing distance learning curriculum for over 90 years. The academic success of each student is our top priority, and an important part of that success is productive, healthy home study strategies.

Read on to give your study routine a boost before the new school year.

1. Establish a schedule and stick with it.

One of the nice things about homeschooling high school is the flexibility you can have with your child’s schedule. You can build in time for extracurricular activities, rehearsals, and practices beyond the regular curriculum with a lower risk of burnout. UNHS courses can be completed at your student’s pace and at any time of day, so you have plenty of freedom to build the ideal schedule.

Once you find a schedule that works, develop it into a routine for optimal results. A reliable schedule makes it easier to consistently study, and regular, predictable studying habits help students retain information better than occasional bursts of studying.

2. Rely on your teachers and advisers.

Just because your family has chosen to homeschool, doesn’t mean you have to manage your child’s entire education alone. UNHS teachers, advisers and customer support staff can be contacted during weekdays and are happy to help you and your student solve problems.

By the time a student reaches high school, he or she should be equipped to independently study for periods of time. However, during independent study, it can be useful for your student to have an expert resource like a teacher to briefly discuss a problem with. UNHS staff members are friendly and passionate about elevating students to new levels of success.

3. Create concrete goals.

Measurable goals with reasonable benchmarks are a simple and fun way to motivate students to achieve more. You and your child can set an overarching goal for each course, then break down that goal into smaller objectives that he or she can accomplish in each unit or lesson.

Be sure to write down each goal and the steps your student needs to take to achieve them, then display the list in a visible place. A physical reminder of a goal makes it easier to reach. Work with your student to monitor progress and feel free to adjust goals to better fit your student’s learning needs. Developing productive study strategies is an evolving process, so don’t be afraid to change direction and try something else.

UNHS is an accredited online high school that prepares students for college and beyond with a wide variety of challenging courses. Visit our website, browse our courses, or contact us today to learn more!