Mom’s Senior Year To-Do List for College-Bound Kids


Mom's Senior Year To-Do List for College-Bound KidsIf I’m honest, it still frustrates me to this day that all the older, experienced parents were right when they constantly told me (a frazzled toddler and baby mom who was getting 12 hours of sleep each week) how fast my kids would grow up.

I can’t believe it, but here I am, the mom of a high school junior.

I’m sitting here with fewer than five days left of this school year and the thought is hitting me like a truck: my oldest will be considered a SENIOR at the end of this week. I’ve watched for years as my social media feed was filled with so many touching “mom of a senior” moments where they oohed and aahed over every “last” moment. “Last” first day of school, “last” field trip, “last” football game, etc., and although I thought I could appreciate where they were coming from, it doesn’t really hit you…until it does. 

When pretty much anything hits me personally, I go into planning mode. Call it my own version of feeling in control when I really have no control over a situation, but it works. So, I am already in planning mode for my son’s Senior Year. 

Here are a few of the things that I recommend doing to prepare for the upcoming HUGE moment in motherhood: your child’s high school graduation and trek out into the real world!

  • When your child turns 18, no matter when, immediately see your lawyer to have these forms completed so that you can legally help manage your adult child’s health/life: a HIPAA waiver, medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney, FERPA, and a living will.

Summer (before Senior Year)

  • If your student has not taken the ACT or SAT, have them take it the earliest date possible to allow for a retake if desired. (Many high schools start offering these during Junior Year.)
  • Talk college or technical school with your rising senior and narrow the list down to 2-5 choices. You’ll want to visit these, which usually have prospective student days during the summer. 
  • Start scouring for scholarships. These can come from your local organizations, your intended colleges (if you know them), or many other places too. School counselors can get you started on this journey if you don’t have any in mind to start with.
  • Have your student apply to their top college choices.


  • Ask teachers, coaches, or mentors for letters of recommendation. These will be helpful for scholarships and some college applications too.
  • Have senior pictures taken. These early ones can be turned into the school for the yearbook. Plan to have more pictures taken in the spring when your student gets their cap and gown.
  • Starting October 1, you can fill out the FAFSA to help make financial planning for college a little easier.


  • Start thinking about graduation party venues and get yours booked ahead of the spring rush. Consider several weeks after graduation and not directly after, as these weekends are usually very full of grad parties.
  • If you are having a caterer and a cake, book these as well.


  • Order cap and gown based upon your school’s date given. At least six weeks prior to graduation, order the official graduation announcements.
  • Start gathering graduation party decorations, so you are not trying to do this last minute during all the awards ceremonies, etc. 
  • May 1 is considered the National College Decision Day, so your student should have their college or tech school chosen and politely decline any of those not chosen by this date.
  • About six weeks prior to the graduation party, order party invitations and send them out about a month in advance. More notice usually means more guests can make it to celebrate with you.
  • Cry happy tears as you realize your baby is all grown up and walking across the stage for their diploma. 


  • Party with your graduate and then go do some fun college prep shopping (if they are living in a dorm) to start feeling like it’s “real”!


  • Attend College Orientation with your student and meet up with the parent groups for the best information.
  • Finish dorm prep shopping.


  • Wave them off to the next exciting chapter of their life. 
  • Smile because you just raised an amazing human being and they are out there making the world a better place!

That’s all there is to it. As you stand here with me, staring this last “real” summer of your high school student’s life in the face, know that you’ve got this next chapter in the bag and you will rock it, mama!

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Audrey M.
Hey Ya'll! I’m Audrey, a middle of nowhere, East Tennessee transplant. My husband (and forever crush) Andy and I were born and raised in Ohio State Buckeye territory, where we met in junior high school and married halfway through college. We have 2 tweens here on Earth: Lucas-the sweetest jokester boy you will ever meet, and Alaina-a charismatic and responsible redhead. We were hoping for a bigger family, but it wasn’t in the cards for us. For years we vacationed here in and around Knoxville, and so when the opportunity came to move here, we took it! Prior to moving here, I was first and foremost a Wife and Mother, but filled my days at a special needs preschool, title company, and as a FT volunteer-a-holic. In my spare time, I love diy, crafting, reading and writing. And I will always be a barefoot farm girl at heart. We raise/grow our own food- and I occasionally even make dinner out of our homegrown goodness- but I hate cooking! I can’t wait to immerse myself in this sweet, southern community!


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