Research has shown that three core factors are critical in transition. They are; the need to feel safe, the need for information and the need to feel connected. As our seniors move towards their next big adventure, we need to address all three areas.
We cannot control the setting that our seniors are transitioning to. But, we can make sure that we have resources in place for students to explore their options. Students need to establish a sense of trust and knowledge with their chosen destination. A dedicated College Center serves as a physical and emotional location for students. College counselors provide support, encouragement and follow up for students. As students narrow their choices and make their college selection, they need guidance. Seniors need to see how and where they can connect and find their place in the environment that they are transitioning to.
Clear lines of communication between the school and students need to be in place. Information should be accessible in a variety of ways to both seniors and their families. Resources should be available in a comprehensive state on a school's website or LMS. Communication should go out in chunks through social media, email, and individual announcements. Ask for feedback from families. Is there anything that is not clear or confusing that we have posted? Work to make it as simple as possible. Graphics are critical to simplifying information whenever possible.
Graduation is a celebration and an exciting event. Students walk away with their diploma and final paperwork at graduation. Schools have an opportunity within this paperwork to include personal letters and notes from faculty. When personal items are included with the documents that a senior takes away from that evening, it magnifies the connection, and those personal notes stay with their official paperwork for reflection years later.
This year we added a final communication to our senior families with links to social media postings along with good wishes after graduation. Going forward, this is something that we will continue to do.
Godin's state's in his blog post, "Humans remember the transitions, because it's moments of change and possibility and trepidation that light us up."
What tips do you have to share on transitioning seniors out of high school?