That last summer before senior year is a great one–full of excitement, expectation, and possibility. It’s the summer before your last year of high school, and your last “real” summer before college.
Even though it’s a magical time, though, you still need to be planning ahead, particularly if applying to college is on the horizon. Don’t let senior year sneak up on you without having a plan! Here are five steps you need to take before senior year starts, to make sure it (and your college applications) go smoothly:
Decide when you’ll take the SAT or ACT(and how you’ll prep).
If you haven’t taken your standardized tests already, now is the time to decide when you’ll take them, and what you’ll do to get ready. The SAT is administered twice in the fall and early winter (once in October and once in November), as is the ACT (which is given once in September, and once in October). Ideally, you should take the tests in September or October–that will give you the opportunity of getting your scores back and submitting your completed applications long before most schools’ end-of-year application deadlines.
There are many ways you can prepare for the tests: You can take an SAT class or an ACT class, you can use books, or you can get a tutor. Take some time to think about how you’d like to prep for the test, and what you believe will be most effective, and then put a study plan into action. Your SAT and ACT scores are an important part of your application, and can make a big difference in the eyes of admissions officers.
Get ready for senior year.
Avoid senioritis! Don’t let senior year sneak up on you. Meet your high school counselor and talk about the classes you’ll take, plan on taking leadership roles in your extracurriculars, and make sure you keep your grades up. Don’t see senior year as your last year of high school–see it as the launching pad to college. Here are ten steps you can take to prepare for your senior year.
Narrow down your college list.
Now is the time to pick colleges and get your list down to the 5, 10, or 15 institutions to which you’ll be submitting applications. Not sure on how to start? The College Board website has a great College Search that can help you get started!
Create an application action plan.
Once you’ve picked schools, take some time to go to each of their websites and make some quick notes regarding deadlines, requirements, and paperwork. This will help you in the coming months–you’ll know what you need to complete, and when you need to submit it.
Start working on your applications.
Although you might not be able to complete the applications themselves, there are things you can do: starting thinking about who you’d like to have recommendation letters from, start putting together your résumé, and brainstorming potential application essay topics (keep in mind that many schools ask for the same essays in the same general categories–adversity, heroes, life-changing moments, etc.–so a quick brainstorm on potential topics can be a good thing). Getting your ducks in a row now will save you valuable time later.
Taking steps to make your senior year more organized and streamlined will help you both academically and logistically as you embark on that whirlwind final year. Before long, all your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be in college–make this last year count!