Taking the Stress Out of Senior Year

After almost 30 years I still inwardly cringe listening to high school seniors talk about how stressful senior year is while they try to navigate all steps of the college application process. I always think, it doesn’t have to be this way. By senior year you should have all your ducks in a row and have a plan.  Why not start earlier with this life-changing event?  Why didn’t you start this journey in 9th grade?

There are tools like Pathway that help you avoid the stress caused by waiting until the midnight hour.  Planning your future takes time. The more time you take to really understand who you are, what you want, and most important, what will make you happy, the better the outcome will be. The self-discovery journey can be compared to peeling back an onion, and can be an enjoyable, stress-free experience.  We all need guidance and support for major life decisions. Having a tool to collect lots of information about yourself that you can bring to your mentors with thoughtful, mindful questions is your first step to planning for success.

Grade 9 is not too early!  Start with the easy stuff to begin planning for your future. Have fun with some self-discovery. Take assessment tests in Pathway to find your core values and interests and see how they connect to possible future careers. Find different paths to get you there.  Don’t pick a college just because your friend is going there.  It is so important that the college is a good fit for YOU. I remember when I worked in College Admissions a student from Alaska was at orientation.  She was crying hysterically after the second day. She explained that she thought she wanted to go to college far away, but she didn’t do her research. She was miserable and scared.  Luckily, her parents were still there.  As my colleagues and I listened to her telling her parents how sorry she was, we wanted to cry with her. She withdrew that day, and they went home. That experience stayed with me over the years.  Within Pathway, she would have had the opportunity to apply her interests, her strengths, and her personality traits during her college search. I think the outcome of where she ultimately went to college would have been much different. I have used this story to try to help many students and my friends’ children to really understand the importance of starting this process much earlier, to talk about what you are feeling, and to talk to your parents. Show them the research you have done that supports your college and career selection. It will impress them!

Once you have narrowed your college list, it is time for college visits – in person or virtually! Most importantly – have fun!


Pamela Brennan, Executive Director of Client Success at FolderWave whose role is to be the voice of the customer, stated “I work very closely with educators and students that are using Pathway. Observing their excitement as they navigate through the platform confirms that our approach is working! We listen to the end users, which has resulted in a superior product.  I’ve walked away from many training sessions, focus groups, and Pathway roll-out events with affirmation that Pathway is tool of the future for college and career planning.”

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