High School Juniors: College Checklist Tips for your Upcoming Senior Year

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!


College Checklist

Just for Fun- Winter Senior Shoot

During the slower months of December, January and February I like to take time to rest, rejuvenate, and gain inspiration for the year ahead. This is the time of year that requires lots of desk work- building budgets and business plans for the year ahead, so it’s nice to take a break from all the paper, get my camera out and go try new things. I love shooting in the snow and wanted to try out some new locations, so I put out a Model Call and 2019 Senior, Olivia Harris was kind enough to come out and work with me a couple weeks ago.

What a gorgeous young woman Olivia is. She has a smile that will light up the room and a bright spirit that you can see in her eyes. She was so patient as we drove around to find just the right spot. This year there wasn’t much snow up at Crystal Mountain, so we had to get creative and move around quite a bit. She was a delight to work with and so go with the flow- I so appreciated her grace! She had the opportunity to bring an outfit of her choice, then I brought a fun, stylized outfit including a winter wrap and dress. Her look was perfected with professional hair and makeup by Joy Richardson and she looked absolutely stunning. Here are a few sneak peeks into our afternoon together. Enjoy!

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Tips for enjoying and staying motivated during the last months of your Senior Year

Can you believe it’s only 4 months until graduation? It seems like just yesterday you were a scared and insecure freshman entering the big unknown. Fast forward 4 years and now you’re in the homestretch. Your college applications are in and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After all the all-nighters you’ve pulled and all the studying you’ve done, it’s very tempting to loose focus and shut down at this point (and the weather doesn’t help, either, am I right?). But you’ve worked so hard and even though you’re almost done, you aren’t off the hook quite yet. Check out these tips to finishing off your senior year with a bang and enjoying those final memories before heading off to your next chapter.

    1. Do your assignments when you get them. A lot of times assignments really aren’t that hard. It’s only when you have to do the whole project in 2 hours, that it gets hard and overwhelming. Give yourself enough time to successfully finish it without unnecessary stress. If the assignment is a longer one, space it out so you only have to do a little bit of work each day. Make life easier on yourself and don’t procrastinate.
    2. Go to as many events as you can. This is your last chance to go to basketball games, pep rally’s, and dance competitions to scream with your friends in the student section. It’s your last chance to go to dances and make memories. Even if you typically don’t get involved, cheer as loud as you can and show your school spirit. Don’t take these opportunities for granted and make the most of the time you have left to be involved in school activities.
    3. Appreciate your friends. Before you know it, all your friends will be off in different places. You might not have thought of this yet but it’s inevitable. Some friends might stay near you but not all. Just imagine- next year, you won’t be able to see their faces everyday and hang out whenever you want. What??? Spend as much time as you can with them while you have the chance. Plan movie nights and coffee dates to make the most of your friendships.
    4. Study. Studying can be extremely boring and probably seems useless because you’ve already been accepted into college at this point but it’s incredibly important. Plan study groups and find fun ways to keep you motivated. Always put your studies first because colleges still look at grades senior year. It might not seem like it matters, but it can make a huge difference to your future.
    5. Stay Organized. School bags with pockets are an easy way to stay organized with little effort. Dedicate one pocket to books and one to pencils. Color-coating is also a super simple way to make it easy to find exactly what you need. Make each subject a different color and use tabs to easily spot which book you need.
    6. Invest in a planner. If you don’t have a planner in your life, what are you doing? Planners are perfect for busy students because not only can you write down your school assignments but you can also write down personal events as well. Anytime you plan a date with your friends or have a test coming up, write it down in a planner so you can easily see your week at a glance. Knowing when all your work and due dates are will prepare you for your weeks and take away a lot of stress.

There is so much coming in the next year for each of you and all the work you put in is sure to pay off. Take a step back to enjoy, observe and finish the year strong so you can walk away proud of yourself and have lasting memories. Enjoy the last 4 months- it’s going to go by quick!

Senior pictures in a coffee shop

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