10 things to do your senior year

by Sue Corner, senior associate director of admission,

  • 10 things to do your senior year

You’re in the final stretch and it’s going fast. While it’s hard not to get swept up in the “This is the last time we’ll ever...” of senior year, don’t lose focus yet. 

  1. Stay on top of scholarships. Search for and complete scholarship applications. Some of them go unclaimed because people miss the deadlines.
  2. Refresh your calendar. Update your calendar with dates related to standardized tests, college applications, financial aid and scholarships. 
  3. Register or retake ACT/SAT. If you're still hoping to squeeze in one final sitting of the SAT or ACT, make sure you register right away to get space at the test center nearest you. If you've received scores from an exam you took this fall, make certain new scores have been received by the schools to which you are applying.
  4. Fill out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opened Oct. 1. Make sure your parents/guardians have time to submit it in plenty of time for your financial aid package to be as complete as possible. Know the deadline for FAFSA submission for the schools to which you are applying.
  5. Identify who will recommend you. Request letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors and others (mentor, bosses, coaches, etc.) in plenty of time for them to meet application deadlines. Choose carefully the number and mix of recommendation letters you seek. 
  6. Send transcripts. Request through your high school registrar that complete high school transcripts be sent to the colleges to which you are applying. If you have taken courses for college credit, find out if you need those sent as well for credit consideration.  
  7. Review your initial applications. Put the final touches on college applications you hope to submit in November or December. Make sure every section is complete and no grammar or punctuation errors remain. Be sure to have someone else — a teacher, peer, counselor, or mentor — proofread the essay portion of your application before you submit it.
  8. Schedule college visits. Start thinking about any campus visits you haven't yet done or follow-up visits you think are necessary. Plan ahead so these don't fall through the cracks.
  9. Prepare for residence hall life. Even if you haven’t been accepted to a college yet, it’s never too early to think about what it means to be a good roommate and how to find one (keep your expectations realistic.) Also, living with someone else means you can’t bring a U-Haul of stuff. Clear out half of everything you own and bring one-third of what’s left.
  10. Don’t slack. Work incredibly hard to maintain your academic fitness and finish your senior year strong.
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