It's September of your senior year of high school. You're settled into your new school routine and way, way ready to be out of high school. And don't worry! Freedom will come sooner than you know it...but what should you be doing before you get that diploma?By now, you should know what you want to do after high school. Not, you know, the specifics, but the basics: are you headed for a four-year institute? Community college? Gap year? Straight into the work force? You should have those generalities down now so you can start brainstorming for the specifics, like...
- Which college are you going to?
- What job are you going to get after high school?
- Where are you going to live? On campus, at home, or neither?
If you're not headed straight to college, you've got a bit more leeway with your deadlines. But if you're planning on college in the fall, there are a lot of specific deadlines to keep up with. Here's what you should do:
- Collect the applications you're planning on filling out. You've got the common app, but now is the time to start keeping a folder full of all the scholarships and colleges your applying for. (Tip: get the hard copies, because they're harder to lose and harder to ignore.)
- Make a list of all the deadlines you need to make. Include all of those college applications, scholarship due dates, test dates, and anything else your future is hinging on. Then post this list somewhere you'll see it (not to freak you out, but to keep you from waking up sometime in January and realizing you've forgotten to apply to anything).
- Talk to your parents. Maybe your parents are super-involved, maybe they're not. Either way, you should make sure they know what you're planning on so they can help and plan along with you.
- Talk to your guidance counselor. If your school has a guidance counselor, you probably need to meet with him or her before you graduate. The sooner you do this, the better. Why? Two reasons: 1) it's best to get annoying things out of the way quickly, and 2) you might be missing something important that he/she can help with.
- Register for the SAT or ACT. Even if you're not planning on college, it's still a good idea to take the SAT and ACT. You want to take these test by the October or November of senior year so you can put your best scores on your December/January applications.
- Narrow down your playing field. You don't need to apply to 10 colleges. It's time to narrow your scope a little: which ones would you most like to focus on? This could mean a few more college visits or internet stalking, but it will save you a lot of extra work and stress.
Are you stressed out about your senior year?