Your Child’s Senior Year: How to Stay Organized
It Goes By So Fast!
I remember my daughter’s first day of preschool like it was yesterday. She had to pick out the perfect outfit. I’ll never forget, it was a jean and floral long skirt with a pink and brown sweater and dark pink cowgirl boots! She is my middle daughter and quite shy so naturally, I was expecting her to struggle to say goodbye when I dropped her off for her first day of class.
She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and quietly said: “You can go now.”
It was bittersweet because we had prepped for this moment with mommy promising to come back to get her, but really? She was totally okay with me leaving. This is what we planned for right? Naturally, I cried in the car after leaving my sweet shy little 4-year-old! But I was proud because she was confident and off on her own. And so her journey began…
Throughout my daughter’s school years, she has always kept a quiet presence while being diplomatic and confident. I have saved all of her accolades and special artwork along with her writings. I have photo albums and bins full of photos that I have captured along the way from pre-K to senior year.
I am that mom that likes to document each moment in time. She is an aspiring Graphic Designer so my current project is to showcase all of her artwork at her upcoming graduation party this summer.
Mark Your Calendars!
Senior year hits a little different in that you have to adhere to strict deadlines for turning things in and stay cognizant of what is due next. In years past there may have been a bit of flexibility for getting that last minute, signed permission slip turned it, but senior year doesn’t really offer that luxury.
Our calendar is filled with due dates.
Some of the deadlines include:
- Submitting scholarship applications
- Getting essays for college applications completed
- Applying to colleges by the deadline
- Touring colleges before commitment day
- Purchasing yearbooks
- Buying prom tickets
- Ordering announcements and cap & gown
- Securing a venue or vendors for graduation party and planning
From September to May, there are so many deadlines your student will have to meet which seems to make the year fly by. Two years ago we first experienced this with our oldest daughter graduating high school and going off to college. It seemed like every week there was a new deadline we had to meet. I feel more prepared for our second daughter this time around, but it still takes a lot of focus and planning to be certain we don’t miss any windows.
Here is a list I have complied that has kept us organized during senior year:
Create a senior year folder
I have the most basic manila file folders that I label the outside with the following information:
- Top College Choices including dates applied and toured
- Dues dates
- Honors night and Graduation dates including who we need to secure commencement tickets for and plan accordingly for a luncheon after
- Graduation party date along with vendors secured and any balances due
- Guestlist and RSVP list inside the folder to help me plan for food and seating
- User ID’s and Passwords- there are so many!! I can barely remember my own! From FAFSA to college board, your student will have many logins to keep track of. I’m a momager and like to help my girls stay on task so I keep a record of everything!
- Scholarships and Financial Aid info- 3 words: College.Is.Expensive. Get all the money you can to pay for a college education!
- A basic notebook for notes and ideas- I keep a thin notebook inside my folder for anything I need to write down or plan for.
Start a Pinterest Board
You do not have to make it a public board. There is an option to keep the board secret if you want to surprise your graduate. You can load food ideas, grad party table set up ideas, memorabilia display ideas, special party favors you want to create, photo board ideas and much more.
I cannot stress this enough…create or use a checklist for your child’s graduation party. I will link the PDF that I have been using here. Working off that checklist has helped keep me organized from when to secure dates, to creating picture boards and when to send invites.
Create something unique!
We had a signature drink at my oldest daughter’s graduation party and it was a big hit! We created a photo booth from tree branches and even had a geofilter from Snapchat to commemorate the day.
We had a beautiful dessert table for my oldest daughter’s graduation party and we are planning on doing it again. We have ordered a special cake from ELM Cakes in Westland, Michigan. You only graduate high school once so we want to celebrate our upcoming grad with a custom cake that she designed herself! We trust the artistry of Elm Cakes and cannot think of a better shop to help us celebrate her big day.
We are ordering gourmet cake pops as well from the infamous House of Cake Pops! We love to support small businesses as a small business owner myself.
Have the thank you cards ready
people take the time from their lives to come and celebrate with you so it’s important to me that my kids take the time to send a thank you card to each guest in attendance.
Senior year is a whirlwind. Last week my daughter secured her prom dress. We had a great time shopping together and I know that is a moment she will never forget. We have secured her party date in July and vendors are booked.
It is such an exciting time but it can also be overwhelming. Staying organized has been a key factor for me to accomplish everything my daughter needs but also, staying on task has really helped me to be able to take a moment to breathe and soak it all in before it’s over.
I still see that sweet little preschoolers face when I look at the beautiful young woman my daughter has turned into. I know soon enough she will be off to college this fall and we will do all of this once more in two more years when our youngest graduates high school!
Nothing is perfect and no checklist or amount of planning is foolproof, but at least trying to stay organized allows me more precious time to enjoy each moment instead of allowing stress to overcome me.
To all the parents planning for their child’s senior year, it is an exciting yet busy time. Hopefully, a few of these tips will help you enjoy every moment!