January has already disappeared in a blur of back-to-school homework and slushy snow, and with February comes a whole new list of things to do (and, as a special bonus, More Pressure! Because your senior year is that much closer to being over). But hey! Look on the bright side: senior year is that much closer to being over. Now, here's a breakdown of what you should be working on this month:If you're not headed to college...
By now, you probably know what you want to do when you graduate. Whatever it is, now is a good time to touch base with whoever is in charge of where you're headed. If you're going straight into the work force, talk to your future employer and make sure you're on the same page for scheduling and payment. If you're headed to trade school, make sure you've got all the necessary paperwork done. If you're planning on taking a year off to sail around the world...well, we're kind of jealous.
If you're going to community college...
You still have a bunch of paperwork to handle before you're all set.
- Fill out FAFSA. Your parents should have their tax documents by now, so get started with FAFSA if you haven't already. Most community colleges still require this.
- Submit the necessary documents: your community or junior college still needs transcripts, immunization records, and your SAT/ACT scores, so make sure you've taken care of this with the office.
- Take placement tests. Like four-year institutions, a lot of community colleges require placement tests. Check with the school and see if your SAT/ACT scores or AP/CLEP scores will count for this.
If you're headed to a four-year college...
Now is your busy season. Now is when you must prove your worth!*
- Rank your colleges. If you're not yet sure where you're headed, start making pro/con lists for all the colleges you're considering. And don't panic: despite what everyone says, you almost certainly will have an at least okay experience wherever you go. And if you don't like a college, transferring isn't a big deal. Pinky promise, 'kay?
- Make sure you're on top of scholarship info. If you're applying for school-related scholarships, make sure you're keeping in touch with their offices and that everything you send them is received.
- Complete FAFSA. Your parents should have their tax documents by now, so get started with FAFSA if you haven't already. (Honestly, it's not as scary as it sounds. For most people, it won't take too long to finish.)
- Schedule any leftover tests. AP exams? CLEP tests? Final SAT/ACT? If you're taking them, it's time to start researching and/or scheduling. If it's something a teacher or guidance counselor has to register for you, make sure you contact them just to be clear.
- Send your mid-year transcripts. Most colleges want a mid-year transcript just to be sure you're not slacking off during your senior year (especially if you're early decision). Make sure you send one in to all colleges you're considering!
- Call schools and make sure you're not missing anything. Just to be safe. Worst-case scenario, you'll have wasted a few minutes making an unnecessary phone call. But at least you'll know you have nothing to worry about.
- Auditions? If you're headed to schools with an audition process or portfolio requirement, this month is probably when that's happening. We think. If that's you, now's the time to a) double-check your date/time slot, and b) practice giving your presentation/audition. Hire friends and relatives to be an audience, if necessary!
Now get out there and enjoy your senior year, Sparklers! You can do it!
*This is a lie. Senior year does not actually determine your value as a human being. But you will be hellishly busy.