This is it, your final year in high school! This year you will change and grow a great deal as you prepare yourself mentally for the next stage of your journey, whether that is college, an interim year, or another path that feels right to you. Remember that your state of mind in the fall is going to be different from your state of mind in the spring, so don’t worry if you don’t feel “ready” for what lies ahead.
Everyone gets ready for transition differently, and Vistamar promises to honor where you are even as we encourage you to look towards creating a future that will bring you happiness, fulfillment, and success.
Looking Towards College
Here are our most important pieces of advice for you if your plan is to go right on to college:
- YOU should be the driver. This is your future and your choice, within the financial parameters set by your parents. Your Life Planning team will ride shotgun, and we’ll ask your parents to be involved from the back seat, supporting you in the ways you tell them are most helpful to you.
- To make the above happen, communicate with your parents as much as you can during this process. It is particularly important that you discuss the cost of college and the amount your parents will be able to contribute. Do not rule any college out because of the cost since you do not know before you apply what kind of financial aid you will receive, but go into the process with your eyes open.
- Designing your college list requires RESEARCH and REFLECTION. We will help, but only you can assess whether a college feels right to you, whether it FITS who you are, what you want, and what you need. Approach the process with deep honesty.
- LOOK BEYOND BRAND. Rankings, prestige, or whether your next-door neighbor has heard of the school are all extremely poor indicators of the kind of education and experience the school will provide you. You want a place where you feel confident, where you feel that you can be your best self. You want a place where you know you can and will get involved. And you want a place that will give YOU opportunities—to stretch, to create, to connect, to push yourself, and to succeed.
- The college application process is an exercise in project management. Your ability to complete it successfully is one important indication of your college readiness. Understand the time line, stay organized, and you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be more than fine. You’ll be empowered, and will be the architect of your own future.
Looking Towards a Gap Year
Are you tired of school? Has learning lost its excitement for you and started to feel routine? A gap year can rejuvenate you, make learning exciting and relevant again, and make your college experience that much better. Here are our most important pieces of advice for you if your plan is to take a gap year:
- Like with college, you should take ownership of your gap year, and reflect on what will best fuel your interests and motivation.
- Determine your goals for your gap year, discuss a budget with your parents, and begin researching your options.
- Attend our Gap Year Fair, which usually happens in February
- Consider going through the college application process in the fall, then planning your gap year in the winter/spring. It is often easier to ask a school you like to hold a spot for you than it is to apply during your interim year.
- Be sure to keep in touch! We really want our students to come back to Vistamar and tell current students the story of their gap year.