Senior Year Experience keeps all seniors updated on everything concerning senior year, from information about upcoming senior events to where to purchase a cap and gown and other graduation information.
Every college student faces at least two critical transitions.
- The transition into higher education where an abundance of attention is directed toward the orientation of new students into college.
- And the transition from college to life after graduation, where relatively little attention has been given to seniors.
The most basic needs of seniors are for:
- Opportunities for reflection on the meaning of the college experience
- Integration and closure, and
- Holistic facilitation and support of graduating students' transition to post college life
Source: Gardner & Van der Veer, 1998, p.7.
On most campuses, students do not receive sufficient support to help them meet these needs. Data collected from Saint Mary's College students indicate that this national trend is reflected on our campus quite precisely. Seniors express that they feel unprepared to face the many issues that arise during the senior year and desire assistance with the transition.
Source: Student Involvement and Leadership, Spring 2007.
Three Special Programs For Seniors
With this knowledge, a planning team composed of representatives from Alumni Relations, the Career Center, Mission and Ministry Center, and Student Involvement & Leadership has created three new programs aimed at assisting seniors:
- Senior Mentoring Groups (SMG)
- A website exclusively designed for seniors and their parents, and
- A a Life Skills series for graduating seniors at Saint Mary’s.
These programs promote proper reflection on the meaning of the college experience, as well as a more optimistic view and greater preparedness with which to transition to post college life.
According to Gardner’s (1998) Senior Year Experience, departing graduates who have a meaningful senior year experience are more likely to become loyal supporters of the College. Empirical research support provided by the University of Maryland (1998), suggest that increased attention to seniors results in their commitment to the college as an alum.