Senior year can be beyond stressful. Juggling school, extracurricular activities, college planning, and maintaining your social life can get really overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. A way to ease your stress is to create a college checklist in the middle of your junior year so you can have something to help keep you on track and organized. Here are some college checklist tips as you approach your big Senior year.
1. In the middle of your junior year you should have a good idea of what colleges you are interested in attending. Begin to prioritize your choices and schedule college visits. Write down the required standardized tests and essays you will need to plan for at the colleges you have selected. Make sure you take note of the schedules and deadlines for the requirements and add them to your College Checklist.
2. Explore career opportunities in the areas you are interested in. Interview people that work in the areas that you are interested in and consider volunteer opportunities or job shadows to help you get a deeper level of understanding. Make a list of the areas you want to explore and add these events into your College Checklist.
3. Get to know your counselor and talk to them about how to prepare for college and what you need to focus on. Counselors can take a good look at your school records and extra-curricular activities and make recommendations on where you should focus your time. Add their suggestions to your college checklist and start to schedule those events.
4. Take the PSAT during your junior year and sign up for a ACT/SAT prep course to help you prepare. If you can’t attend a workshop, purchase some practice workbooks to help you study. Taking the SAT’s during the spring semester of your junior year will give you a transferrable score to start your Senior year as well as get you on school’s mailing lists.
5. When summer arrives add college application deadlines to your checklist and start tracking the work you need to do to meet those deadlines. Consider volunteer hours, leadership roles, and other extra-curricular activities that you should get involved in to help boost your application. Also take note of when FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens so you can apply for Federal Student Aid (if needed).
6. Start to research scholarships that you want to apply for and add their deadlines to your College Checklist. There are lots of resources available to help you search for scholarships as well as the colleges you are applying for will have resources to help you as well. Consider all types of scholarships including sports, merit, academic and minority scholarships. Any and all money that you can find to help with your education is a good thing, so get creative and do your research.
Taking the steps to plan and make a College Checklist will help you keep track of all the different activities that you are going to need to focus on during your Senior year. Starting early and following these tips will help reduce some stress and give you an advantage over your Senior Year. Don’t forget to focus on your health, eating right, keeping active and getting plenty of sleep as you move through the next year. Staying organized and healthy is the perfect combination to getting the most out of your upcoming Senior Year. Good Luck!