As a junior in high school, I’m shocked at how quickly my senior year is approaching. It feels like just yesterday I was entering the first day of my freshman year! As the second semester progresses, I’m finding myself getting ready for senior year; currently, I’m signing up for my senior classes. It’s pretty stressful trying to figure out how to end your high school journey on the right note, but hopefully this guide can help you prep for your senior year!
Plan Your Schedule Accordingly
Let’s face it: it’s tempting to take easy classes senior year and relax after an exhausting three years of school, but my advice to you is to try to take somewhat challenging courses that you’re interested in. However, do keep in mind that you’re likely going to be filling out college applications, writing essays, and visiting colleges during the school year; so you’ll need to make sure your course load isn’t too terribly difficult so that you still have free time.
I’d recommend definitely taking core classes (math, English, science, social studies, possibly a language class) and a couple of electives you find interesting. Aim for having a few honors and/or AP courses in your schedule. Don’t forget to make sure that you stay on top of your grades even during senior year because universities do look at your senior year transcript!
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Make a College List and Start Visiting
With your senior year comes college applications! Once the applications open up in August, the time is going to fly by and you’re going to have to be on top of your impending applications. To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, start making a college list now if you don’t have one already! An ideal college list would have about 8-10 colleges, broken down in the following:
• Safety Schools: “Safety schools” consist of colleges that you think you’re likely to get admitted to. This typically means that your grades and testing scores are usually above the college’s average. It’s a good idea to have 2-3 of these!
• Target Schools: “Target schools” simply means schools that you may have a relatively decent chance of acceptance but there is no guarantee. Your grades may be just at the college’s average. Have a few of these on your list!
• Reach Schools: The name says it all! “Reach schools” are basically your dream schools that are a bit out of a reach in terms of getting in. Typically, these are top-tier schools. I’d definitely have a few dream schools that you’d love to go to on your list.
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Once you’ve made a list, you should start visiting! Visiting colleges is a truly important step in the college application journey because you can get a feel for the atmosphere and what life would be like on campus. You want to make sure your college would be somewhere you could call home for four years, and touring campus is the best way to decide that!
With a college list that you’ve perfected by visiting campuses and conducting other research, you’ll hopefully know exactly what colleges to apply to come August.
Ask for Recommendation Letters
Another important aspect of college applications are the recommendation letters from your teachers. As junior year comes to an end, try identifying teachers to ask for your recommendations and make sure to ask them before the end of the school year. By asking early, your teachers have more time to formulate an outstanding letter! For more information on recommendation letters, check out my article, How to Get Fantastic Recommendation Letters
Take the SAT/ACT
Yet another factor that most colleges require is the SAT or ACT, and hopefully, you’re familiar with one or both of these tests by now. If you haven’t already, sign up for a testing date (May or June are good testing dates, as well as in the fall!) and start preparing a studying plan!
Create a Resume
As senior year comes closer and closer, make sure you have an updated resume to send in to colleges, job applications, or internships! If you don’t have a resume currently, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to make one and they usually aren’t terribly difficult to make.
Apply for Scholarships/Get a Job
The unfortunate reality is that college tuition is not cheap. But there are some ways for you to combat this problem while you are still in high school, if you choose to! First and foremost, apply for scholarships! You’re likely already doing that because you’re here, on Fastweb.com
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In addition, you could also look for a job or paid internship. Many places hire high school students for a job or internship; you just have to look!
Despite the stresses that come with your senior year of high school, there’s no doubt that there are still many fun aspects to it! End your junior year off strong and come back in the fall ready for a new year! Go on vacations over the summer to relax your mind. Go to sports games and school events with friends and just have fun!