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How to Help Your High School Senior Move on During Coronavirus

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How Your High School Senior Can Make the Most of Their Year Cut Short

Senior year of high school is full of milestones. They let us see progress as students inch closer to leaving the nest. The coronavirus has made recognizing those milestones more difficult. Still, it's important to find creative ways to acknowledge them, whether that's graduating or going to prom.

Celebrate the Milestones

While your high school senior is entitled to a mourning period, it is essential to move on. One way to do that is to celebrate the milestones that come with senior year. That includes, but is not limited to, graduation, prom, commencement, and senior night for spring sports.

More likely than not, high schools will postpone graduation or hold the ceremony online. Some students are taking prom digital while others are taking to social media to celebrate senior night. Even if these moments aren’t how students envisioned them, they still give your teen a moment in the spotlight.

Helping your senior celebrate these milestones will require some creativity. Large gatherings, extensive catering, and over-the-top decorations are likely out of the question. That said, here are some fun ways to make the most of each milestone.

  • Graduation Ceremony: set up some chairs, a podium, and even a stage in your backyard. Give your senior a personalized ceremony without all the crowds or drawn-out speeches.
  • Graduation Party: have friends and relatives join the digital gathering. You can also postpone the festivities until August or September before they leave for college.
  • Prom: even if prom is virtual, you can still pick a theme and send invitations. Platforms like Zoom let up to 100 people join a group as students enjoy a night of online activities, like charades, trivia, and karaoke.
  • Senior Night for Spring Sports: make a photo or video montage of their athletic highlights. As a bonus, have coaches and teammates send a short clip of why they enjoyed coaching or playing with your senior.

Family and friends can come together to show appreciation and reflect on the path to graduation. The celebrations validate your senior’s effort and hard work, too. You may even sweeten the ceremonies by giving your kid some or all of the $500 stimulus check.

Make a College Checklist

The odds are your high schooler already knows where they’re attending college. Hopefully, things will return to semi-normal by the time orientation rolls around in the fall. In the meantime, double-check for changes to the academic calendar and stay tuned for updates from the school.

You should also discuss financial aid packages, including potential scholarships. Generally speaking, people accept scholarships and grants before taking out a loan. Other ways to make the transition to college easier is to have your high schooler check out the course catalog and plan their housing arrangement.

Strategize a Summer Job


Waiters. Lifeguards. Cashiers. These are a few of the traditional opportunities for your high schooler to make some extra money. The coronavirus has changed that. Today, high school seniors have one of two options: find a booming sector of the gig economy or work from home.

Currently, shipping and delivery companies are trying to keep up with online demand. Amazon alone is hiring 100,000 for fulfillment and delivery. Grocery stores of all sizes are also hiring as people stock up on food, drinks, and essential supplies.

Your teen may prefer to work remotely. This option will depend, in part, on their skill set. There is a surge in demand for online tutors at Chegg and Other summer jobs may include:


With the US unemployment rate trending upwards, many of the jobs typically available to high school seniors have disappeared. Your kid may naturally gravitate to a booming industry or work remotely. An alternative is to volunteer.

For starters, volunteering is a great thing to do, especially with so many people in need. It also stands out on a resume. According to researchers, 82 percent of companies prefer an applicant with 82 experience, and 92 percent believe volunteering builds leadership skills.

Get Creative

The adage is that when one door closes, another one opens. The sentiment applies here. While the stay-at-home orders may feel stifling, they present an opportunity to pursue interests that your high school senior might not choose otherwise.

For example, they can take free online courses. There are plenty of resources available, regardless of their interests. Duolingo offers 94 language courses. Codecademy has taught 45 million people to code. Meanwhile, Coursera has classes on everything from self-driving cars to digital marketing.

Of course, every learning opportunity doesn’t have to tie neatly into career exploration. Maybe your high schooler wants to learn how to cook brisket. Perhaps they want to practice interior design or be more self-confident. For all those things and more, there’s Masterclass.

The Bottom Line

The COVID-19 outbreak is unfortunate, to say the least. There are plenty of other students and families in the same situation, wondering what to do. No matter what, don’t let the outbreak stop you and your high schooler for celebrating the milestones along the way.

Meanwhile, remember that there is a future. At some point, parents are going to return to work, and students will go back to school. Take this moment as an opportunity to prepare for that future and whatever it has in store.