8 tips for starting senior year…


Shaina Woodward, Features Editor

As my senior year of high school is coming to a close, I have realized there are many things I have learned throughout the year that I wish I had known earlier. For the future upperclassmen, I have compiled a list of things I wish I had known when starting senior year, so here it goes…

1. Start Applications Early.



This is definitely the most important tip and cannot be said enough. Once you have submitted to all your colleges, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders, but don’t procrastinate about it. Plus, there were so many schools that I applied to later on that I didn’t expect to apply to, and if I hadn’t started somewhat early, I would’ve missed some of the school’s application deadlines.


Set aside time one weekend early on to fill out the Common Application and Coalition – it will help you significantly in the long run. Get your college essay done as soon as possible so that you can have teachers, friends and family revise it before you are pressed for time. In addition, ask teachers to write your recommendation letters before other students get to them so you will be on the top of the priority list (also be thankful that they are taking the time to write you one, they are doing you a favor!)


2. Make sure you aren’t stressing over your schedule because your going to want to enjoy senior year.


Although it’s important to push yourself and work to your full potential in your classes, I wouldn’t recommend overloading yourself. Everyone is different so you don’t need to be taking as many AP classes as other students, “just because.” Take classes that you are interested in and will hopefully place you out of college courses or help you determine what you might want to major in. It’s also important to check out the schools that you’re interested and see if they even take AP credits because that should definitely help in determining which AP classes and exams to take.


As a senior there are a lot of other things to do and there are plenty of lasts that you might miss out on if you are overwhelmed with school work – football games, senior bowling, pep rallies – they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but regardless one last time with your class is going to be something you won’t forget.


3. There will be a school out there for you, even if it seems like everyone else has found their perfect school . . . except you.


During most of my senior year, I had no clue where I wanted to go. I had been accepted to most of the schools I had applied to, all of which were great schools that I was lucky to be accepted into, yet they just weren’t “for me.” They all had characteristics I liked – big school, good at sports, the programs I wanted, beautiful campus – yet I hadn’t fallen in love. At this point, all of my friends had fallen in love with a school, so I felt like I would never find the “perfect college.” But I was wrong, and if you can’t find that perfect school, you just need to keep looking.


Right when I was on the verge of giving up and attending a school that I wasn’t fully satisfied with, I applied to some random school in the state where I had vacationed the past summer just because . . . well . . . I had fun on vacation there. I never thought I would end up attending that school, it was just another school to add to the list of schools to apply too. But the second I stepped foot on campus, I knew it was where I wanted to spend the next four years. And there will be somewhere like that for you, you just need to keep looking,


4. College is what you make of it and no matter where you are you can and will be happy, as long as you have a positive outlook.



On the other hand, it you cannot find a school that you absolutely love, or are on the border between two colleges, it can appear to be a life-or-death situation. And yes, it is a huge decision, but there is no right or wrong answer. There are so many amazing schools out there and no matter what you will end up at one you will love, as long as you are optimistic about it. College is what you make of it, if you want to have fun, make friends and get an education, you can and you will no matter what school you attend.


5. Ask questions, to previous students and tour guides.



This may seem like an extremely obvious tip, but just to put it out there, people love to talk about their college. If you are interested in a college, but want to hear about it from another students point of view, I highly recommend getting in contact with them. Whether it be going to guidance and finding out who is currently attending a certain college or sending an acquaintance a text with questions you have, most people would be happy to answer. Talking to a student that is currently attending gives you information that the college isn’t going to have on it’s website or show in a powerpoint presentation.


In addition, if you are somewhat friendly with someone who is attending a college you are interested in, I would highly suggest meeting up with them on your visit. Whether it’s hanging out, grabbing lunch or meeting for a coffee, there is no better way to get to know a school then based on what a student has to say about it. This experience can help show you how vigorous the courses are and what it’s like to live and breathe the college life there. Students know the best restaurants, the worst professors and the best locations on campus which can really give you a feel for what it’s like there. And if it wasn’t for experiences like this that I had when touring campuses, I may have not ended up attending the college that I’m going to today.


6. Explore the surrounding area.


Although a lot of college is going to be spent studying and in the classroom, there is always time for fun and socializing which is why I think this is such an important part of visiting a campus. Even just spending 10 minutes walking through a college town sets a tone for the vibe of the campus and life of the students. This is where you would likely spend a lot of your weekends – grabbing a coffee, getting dinner, shopping – so it’s important to know what places are available nearby.


7. It’s not over until it’s over. Don’t give up on classes even when senioritis kicks in.


You have probably heard this advice a million times, but hopefully reiterating it one more time will make you take it more seriously. Sure you want to take it easy when you get into college and are committed, however for students with AP tests it’s important to stay focused until they are over. It’s so easy to fall behind on preparations for your exam, so keep on trying until those are over and you will finally get a rest. Yes, it will be hard to keep studying while everyone is letting senioritis take over their lives, but it will be worth it and you won’t regret it. Plus you will get plenty of time to slack off once the exams are over and you will still get that opportunity to enjoy yourself.

8. Do not wish your time away in high school.



You might not be thriving in high school (please don’t let high school be your prime), however, that doesn’t mean you should wish it away. Enjoy the time with your friends, your last football game, all the senior events, the last pep rally, and anything else you might be interested in trying. These are experiences you won’t get to relive so enjoy them while you can. In the moment, you might want to move on and be sent off to college already, but there’s so much to do while still in high school so live those moments to the fullest and don’t just wish your time here away. When looking back on high school, you don’t want to regret not spending time with your class whom you may not see for years to come – so enjoy the last moments and have fun.