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Considering a 5th year of high school


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Dd just turned 18 and is beginning her senior year. However next month, she is having double jaw surgery on her upper and lower jaws which has a very long recovery period (syringe feeding for weeks, no talking for at least 6 weeks). She is nervous enough about it and is worried how she will keep up with school. I'm beginning to think we should consider adding an extra year to get all her subjects in and add AP exams, which we would not be able to this year. Advice from those who have taken an extra year?

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My son took an extra year. It worked so well for him that I plan on doing it with my younger children.  It gave him extra time to get all required courses in as well as many cc classes/AP/CLEP.  He had time for all his extracurricular activities, and time to do some shadowing to  figure out what he wanted to study in college. He was not ready to go the previous year. 

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We will most likely be taking an extra year. Dd started getting sick at the beginning of 9th and got progressively sicker so that by the end of this summer, she was essentially bedridden. We staggered through a full load of 9th grade credits. But then at the beginning of 10th she was finally diagnosed with Lyme. We're treating, but it will probably take a year for her to get better. This year, we are taking it easy - she does no more than 10 hours a week of school and that's only to keep her brain from completely atrophying! So we may get a couple of credits worth of work done but nowhere near a full year's worth. Adding on a year of high school is definitely on the table.

 

The last thing they need when ill or recovering is school stress. Seriously. I am part of a Facebook POTS parents group and the majority of the posts are about how chronically ill students are missing school days, in trouble with teachers and school, and stressed about school. I'm so grateful we don't have that stress on top of everything else. 

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Sure!  I think this sounds like a great idea in her case.  You could consider doing dual enrollment next year if that's an option for you. 

 

I think there are a lot of good advantages being a little older and more mature graduating high school and starting college. 

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It sounds very reasonable in such a medical situation.

 

FWIW, I know a current junior who had jaw surgery over the summer, though I don't know whether it was both or just one.  She started the school year on time and is still a top student as far as I know.  She has been recovering very well, though perhaps more quickly than most, from what the mom said.  The first 2-3 weeks were the hardest.

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Poor thing!  Yes, take an extra year.  It will be a simple matter to explain in the Common App under Additional Information why you took an extra year.  No admissions officer would blink an eye at serious surgery.  Best of luck to her for a quick recovery.  

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Thank you - with the stress of the surgery, she is relieved to consider taking more time. If we do take can extra year, how do we approach things like taking the SAT, FAFSA, etc? It looks like she could take the November SAT if we sign up soon, before her surgery and then again in the Spring. Could she take it again next fall? What about FAFSA? Wait until next fall?

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I have nothing to say about taking an extra year or not, but I wanted to let you know that I had jaw surgery when I was 15, just before school started. I had bones removed from my upper jaw and they pulled my lower jaw forward. My teeth were wired shut for 6.5 weeks (because of Labor Day - it was only supposed to be 6 weeks, and every day counts when your teeth are wired shut!!!). I had the surgery, stayed in the hospital a few days, skipped pre-band camp the following week, then attended band camp the week after that. It was not a problem at all. I just couldn't play my trombone. ;) I didn't have any issues doing school and such. I drank Ensure from a cup and was able to talk as much as you normally could without opening your mouth.

 

The worst part for me was the day after surgery, when my nose got stuffy and that made it hard to breathe. :P They gave me some meds for that, but they were the kind that can be addictive, so it often started to wear off before I could get my next dose. That sucked. But when they removed something in the front (I don't remember what) before I left the hospital, I was able to breathe through my mouth easier. Just needed that air flow through my teeth!

 

So I'd tell her that if she needs an extra year, that's fine. But just know that you may not even need it. :) I wish her luck!

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