September: Plan Wisely for Application SeasonTo avoid admissions stress this fall, plan in advance. Locate scholarships and whittle your list of prospective schools well before the first deadline. It is much easier to complete your applications if you have already done the necessary research.
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December: Finish Your College PortfolioAdmissions season can get overwhelming. Ensure you stay current with your schoolwork, and as soon as you submit your college applications, start the financial aid process (i.e. fill out the FAFSA). It is very important to complete these documents as soon as possible, as financial support may dwindle the longer you delay.
All Year: Remain InvolvedAvoid senioritis by participating in the activities and classes you love. As a senior, you will likely have the opportunity to take on larger roles or more leadership. Use this opportunity not only to grow, but to also try a new experience. Extracurricular activities often drive where you devote your energy in college, so stay involved!
April: Respond to CollegesAs letters from your prospective schools flood in, it is all too easy to become nervous. Remember to breathe! Once you know where you have been accepted and wait-listed, it is important that you take proactive steps to make a decision. If you are wait-listed at your top choice, reach out to the college or university immediately. Many schools accept students off the wait-list for several months, and personal contact can only aid your case. Notify colleges that you have decided against, and keep in touch with those that are still a strong option.
May: Prepare for End-of-Year ExamsAfter a stressful year, it is easy to grow distracted in your final months. However, schools can rescind your acceptance if your grades plummet. Study hard, and reach out to a teacher or tutor if you need extra assistance. May is all about balance—avoid laziness and excessive stress.
June: Graduate StrongTake a moment to thank those individuals at your school who supported you, then celebrate your hard work! Submit your college deposit, if you have not yet done so, and begin to plan for the fall. Congratulations—you have come very far!
Andrea Deck is a professional GRE tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the class of 2015.