Senior year is undoubtedly the best year of high school. You’re not a freshman anymore. In fact, you’re the king of the jungle, and it’s time to let your hair down and celebrate having more freedom and fun.
But wait — what about college? Senior year is also about planning for the future, even if you’re not quite sure what it will be yet. With some forward thinking, you can have fun and make headway on your college plans, too. Here are a few tips for making the most out of your senior year so you can feel confident about what lies ahead by the time you walk the aisle for your diploma.
Senior year is when you must decide where to go to school. Will you attend a small liberal arts college or a big state university?
Do you want to stay close to home or get far away from the old homestead? You’ll have to answer these questions as you narrow down your list of schools to the ones you’ll actually apply to. Try to have this done by September or October at the beginning of senior year, since that is when most application sessions begin.
Amidst your decision-making, don’t forget about application fees and deadlines. As soon as you have a short list of four to five schools, you’ll need to know their fees and deadlines right away. App fees range from free to more than $100. Research the application fees of the schools on your list and total the amounts you’ll need. Make a savings plan based on the deadlines. If you plan to ask your parents for the money, tell them early on how much you’ll need and when.
Many a sorrowful senior has procrastinated on their applications only to miss the deadline for applying to their favorite school. Look up those deadlines, put them on your calendar, and review them frequently. Some schools have rolling admission; others have a single fixed deadline. Still others offer Early Action or Early Decision. Early birds often have a better chance of admission, so don’t miss the worm! Remember: if you want financial aid or scholarships, these have their own deadlines as well.
There is a scrappy disease that commonly afflicts senior-year students. It is called ‘senioritis,’ and can affect the best of us. Symptoms include an overwhelming urge to kick back, slack on homework, and spend a whole lot of time just hanging out rather than being productive. After all, graduation is just around the corner. Freedom is imminent.
The temptations may be great, but it’s vital to conquer them. You can still be rejected by schools that have accepted you if your grades nosedive, and your final GPA is still being calculated. So don’t drop the ball here at the end. End your high school career with a burst of accomplishment and motivation – there’s no better way to prep for the challenges of life as a college student.