Senior Year: On the Road to Success

Does the future seem more daunting now than ever before? There are so many questions of what this next stage in life will bring and even more questions about what college will look like during this time of national crisis. Students can use all the help they can get. Follow this advice along the road to success!

August: Ease into school

Get adjusted to your new classes and schedule. As far as college goes, you will need to narrow down your list of colleges (you can visit colleges through virtual campus tours!) and register for the SAT/ACT (there are now remote testing options).

September: Apply, apply, apply

Welcome to admissions season—it can get overwhelming. With the holidays quickly approaching, college applications are the last thing you want to think about, but many merit scholarship deadlines are in December. To be considered for those, you have to be admitted.

October: It’s FAFSA time!

The FASFA is October’s main priority and it opens on October 1 and closes in the spring. Aid is often dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis. You might receive more aid than you think; it’s definitely worth filling out—plus it’s free, so you have nothing to lose.

November: Decide early

If you’re applying for Early Action or *Early Decision, now’s the time to apply! Even if you aren’t applying for early action, you can begin work on your applications for colleges to lessen your load in December, but don’t send in your regular decision applications just yet.

*Early Decision is a binding application that can only be used at one college. If the student is accepted, he/
she removes themselves from all candidate pools. The risk of early decision is being accepted without knowing the final cost.

December: Merit Scholarship

This is the month for merit scholarships! After you are accepted to the school of your choice, you will be considered for academic merit-based scholarships and submit a separate application if your school requires you to do so (check with your institution). Most importantly, enjoy the holidays!

January: New year planning

Hopefully, by now, you’ve finished sending in your applications, and you can use this month to transition into focusing on scholarships. Find a way to organize your scholarship search and give yourself time to gather what you need (recommendations, transcripts, etc.) This way you’re ready to go when it’s time to apply!

February to March: Scholarships

Keep organizing and applying for as many scholarships as you can. You may also need to go ahead and send your grades to colleges, so take note of your college’s specific requirements— don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure. The last few months of senior year is jam-packed, so use this time to catch up and rest up!

April: Respond to colleges

If you haven’t already heard back from the colleges you’ve applied to, now’s that time. Letters from your prospective schools will soon flood in, and once you know where you are accepted and wait-listed*, you must take proactive steps to make a decision: evaluate each financial aid package, compare your award letters, and narrow down the best fit.

*If you are wait-listed at your first choice, reach out to the college or university immediately. Schools will accept off the wait-list for several months, and personal contact will help you keep track of your standing.

May: Final exams and decisions

May 1st is “decision day,” so be sure to send in your transcripts and deposits to secure your spot. However, before committing to a school, be sure you understand how much college will cost for all four years. Also, don’t lose focus, finish out your finals strong, and keep your GPA up!

June: You’re a graduate!

Your only task this month is to enjoy and celebrate your success.

All Year: Get involved!

Enjoy the activities and classes you love. As a senior, you will likely have so much opportunity for growth. Take on new roles and try new things.

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