3 Fun and Engaging Ways to Celebrate Students’ Post-Secondary Plans

By this point, seniors have spent so many years of their life in school, done lots of soul searching, and decided what is next for their post-secondary plans. Whether a student is pursuing a certificate/training, two-year college, four-year college, or military, we can provide a space to celebrate and encourage them as they launch into “the real world.”

School counselors play this cheerleader role so easily! It’s in our blood. We are always rooting for students, so let’s not get tired at the end of the school year or when we see the finish line right in front of them!

Here are 3 fun and engaging ways to celebrate your students’ post-secondary plans.

1- Use an exit ticket at your College Application Day to celebrate post-secondary plans.

For those of your students who choose to take part in a College Application Day as they apply for certificate programs, two-year college, or four-year college, you can incorporate an “exit ticket” and doubly use that to celebrate your students!

Prep some cut-outs ahead of time and have a table full of markers, colored pencils, and pens at your event. Once students have wrapped up their applications, direct them to this area to write down their name and some of the colleges that they applied to. They can decorate and color their pennant, football, graduation cap, or whatever you’ve chosen to be the sheet that they write on. Have them place in a basket as their “exit ticket,” and use these later by hanging them on a bulletin board for other students to see. (Here are some ideas for College Application Day Bulletin Board Pennants!)

Other students in your school will get excited to see where their schoolmates have applied to school making applying to college more accessible! Everyone can apply to college if they choose to and find somewhere that’s a good fit for them. We want to celebrate the confidence that this builds!

2- Use a Google Map to drop pins and show off students’ post-secondary plans.

This is one of my favorite ways to celebrate seniors’ plans for after high school. It’s very easy to do; it serves two purposes: it celebrates and educates. Google Maps are easy to put together and easy to share with others. It is a visual and tangible representation of your graduating class’ plans with clickable links to learn more.

I usually would pull the information for this Google Map from an end-of-year senior survey where seniors indicated their plans. I added a pin on a map whether it was college, career, or military. In the pin’s description, you can add a link. I LOVE this because once you broadcast the map with the class’ plans, others can explore different post-secondary options. It normalizes all sorts of different plans from working to college to military!

Once you’ve created your Google Map, share it with the world! Email it to your staff, your students, and your parents. Post a link on social media. Send it to your district’s PR department. Get some virality behind the celebration!

3- Create and share a slideshow of your students’ post-secondary plans.

After facilitating a big event in the fall (College Application Day), I am usually ready to play it a little lower key in the spring especially with all of the other high stakes deadlines around graduation.

I try to start this project early in order to catch as many seniors as possible. Here are a few of the ways I gather pictures of students for a video:

I make a few announcements about turning in pictures for a “senior slideshow.” Sometimes their parents will email me pictures or sometimes they’ll tag us or message us on social media.

I’ll also plan a few times to be set up in the hallway where I know a lot of seniors walk in and out of school. I’ll have a table set up with a dry-erase marker board, markers, and maybe some photo booth props if I’m feeling fancy.

Another way I gather (the majority of) pictures is by bringing a white marker board and some markers to my heavily populated senior classes like English, government, and some math classes. As students are working on individual projects in class, I ask the teacher if I can borrow one at a time anyone who wants to take a picture of their plans for the video. This eliminates having to chase down kids to send me their own pictures by the deadline.

Once I’ve collected pictures, I put them together in a slideshow on my phone using an app like iMovie, VLLO, or InShot. You can add your own music or use one of the standard music clips that comes with the app.

You can save this video to your phone and then export it to YouTube or Google Drive and share on your school’s social media platforms or email. This is such a fun way to help your seniors feel special about their plans no matter what direction they’re headed after high school!

As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate fun, meaningful celebrations into the end of your school year to celebrate your seniors’ accomplishments. Don’t miss out on using this time to celebrate them and be excited for them! Even small acknowledgements can go a long way in celebrating your students’ hard earned successes.

Want a free resource to make your Decision Day or senior celebrations bigger and better? Download this free College Application Day Spotify playlist to bring the fun to your event! When you download, you’ll join my Clique… my email list where you’ll receive other freebies, tips, and updates from my Counselor Clique!

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