I know I’m a week late for this post, but I was in a rut. That’s no excuse, but I will tell you that the only reason you are getting this post today and not later is that today is the first day of school in my county. College doesn’t start for two more weeks (Thank God!), but I knew I had to pop out this post for all the high school seniors out there stressing about college.
I do have a similar post: The Soon-To-Be Senior’s Guide To Senior Year. That’s more about the fun stuff rather than about college applications. You ought to give it a read.
Now, let’s get to the fun stuff.
//If You Haven’t Taken The SAT/ACTs, TAKE THEM NOW!
If you didn’t listen to me about taking them in Junior Year, take them ASAP. I had a friend who waited until the last possible moment to take the SATs and didn’t get the score he wanted. This limited his college choices. Don’t be that guy. Study for the SAT/ACTs, take the one you do best at and improve your scores!
- Other Posts In This Series
- How To Prepare For College In Your Freshman Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Sophomore Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Junior Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Senior Year Of High School (You’re Reading It!)
Another reason to take them early is that you’ll be able to apply for early admission. Not every test date falls before that deadline, so take advantage of that.
//Start Your College Applications The Moment They Open
You can start them before school starts for some of them. There’s a lot of basic information you can fill out early like your driver’s license #, citizenship, birthday, etc. Get all that easy stuff over with early so that you won’t be scrambling to complete everything at the deadline. Little things like this will save you a lot of stress.
//Ask For Recommendations
In my opinion, this is the hardest part of applying to college. I don’t like talking to people. I’m very bad at it. You can ask anyone, but this is a necessary evil that comes with applying to college.
Choose a teacher who likes you and taught a class you did well on. This teacher will most likely have taught you in Junior Year because it’s the most recent (most senior year teachers won’t give you a recommendation because they don’t know you well enough yet). Choose a class where you got an A, arrived on time every day, and participated in. Make sure the teacher you choose has good things to tell about you to colleges.
Also, before approaching the teacher, give them a resume of sorts showcasing your accomplishments. Odds are that they are going to ask for one anyway, but you can never be sure. It’ll give them more things to write about.
//Write Your College Essay. Proofread It. Proofread It Again. Have Multiple People Read It.
This is where you showcase your personality. You really have to sell yourself! I know the hipster part of you wants to fight against “the man,” but you are going to have to do this for the rest of your life. You have to sell yourself at job interviews and on your resumes. You sell yourself when trying to make friends. I’m selling myself right now by writing this blog! I’m giving you useful content so that you come back and keep reading! This is your chance to tell a college how great you are, so tell them all the awesome stuff you’ve done!
And then comes the hard part. No, I don’t mean writing it. I mean proofreading it. I don’t know about you, but I HATE proofreading what I’ve written. I just can’t do it. I’ve published many blog posts without rereading them, which is a terrible habit. In high school, I also didn’t like other people reading what I’ve written (I’ve obviously gotten over that fear considering I put out things I write in public, but I hadn’t reached that point last year). Let other people read your essay. It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes. They can give you ideas you never would’ve thought of.
//Talk To Your Parents About Financial Aid
Know where you’re at financially. Ask your parents how much they’re willing to pay and how much is in your college fund. That’ll give you an idea of how much you can afford and how much you may need to take out in student loans. You’ll also need your parents’ help when you fill out FAFSA because you’ll need their tax information, which is why you need to be open with each other about money.
Storytime – In my Junior Year, I asked my dad how much money they had in my college fund because I was starting to plan for college. He said that I didn’t have a college fund. They had spent it all on clinical trials for Mysoon. I was upset, but he said that they had enough savings for my and Zidan’s college (We’re a lot better off than we were ten years ago when we couldn’t afford a lot of Mysoon’s medical costs). I’m very lucky because my parents can and want to pay for my college. All the money I make goes into my own personal savings. I don’t have to think about affording college, which is a privilege that is not lost on me. The point is that you need to know how you are going to pay for college whether that’s loans or through a college fund. It’s something you need to discuss with your parents.
***I know my demographic is mostly girls, but if there are any guys out there, you should know that you need to sign up for the draft before you can fill out FAFSA.
//Apply For Early Decision
If you can, apply for early decision. This means that you send in your application in October and get the results in December rather than sending them in December/January and receiving your answer in March. There’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulders once you get an acceptance letter, so apply to a few colleges early.
Note – Some bigger universities require you to attend if you get accepted early decision, so keep that in mind.
//Choose A College
Hopefully, you’ll get into multiple colleges and have choices to consider. There are many things that you need to factor into your decision like tuition, location, whether you are required to live on campus or can commute. This is a big decision.
(I was about to write “the biggest decision of your life,” but refrained from that because I don’t think college is the biggest decision of your life, nor do I think it’s the best time of your life. There are so many more exciting moments in store. I don’t want to chalk it down to one chapter of your life.)
//Decide Where You Want To Live And Look For A Roommate
I’m assuming you did your research on housing before you chose your college. Even if you don’t get a dorm in a building you want, you want to ensure it’s not the worst building with shoddy plumbing and no windows. You should also start looking at online groups through your college to find a roommate you can live with. Start chatting and see if they’re a good fit.
My friend Stellah recently wrote a post on questions you can ask your future roommate. Show her some love and give it a read.
//Pay The Deposit
In order for the college to save a space for you to dorm, you need to put down a deposit. Make sure you do this early to secure your spot and get first picks. There are many people who don’t submit their deposit on time and lose their housing.
//Make Sure You Have All The Credits You Need To Graduate
You made it this far. You can survive another year. Just don’t do anything stupid. Graduate on time and move on to the next much more exciting chapter of your life. Why risk summer school when you’re so close?
//Read A Lot Of College Blogs
I certainly did. I scoured Pinterest reading college lifestyle posts trying to be as prepared for college as I possibly could be. This was actually one of the pushes I needed to blog seriously. I had a private blog before that, but as someone who loves to prepare for anything and everything, college lifestyle blogs were my crack. My favorites were Mostly Morgan and Sara Laughed, but they have graduated and have started blogging about other things now. Now that you’ve gotten into college, it’s time to prepare. I think reading blogs is the best way to do it because you get a real person’s perspective, while books try to give information in every perspective.
//Don’t Slack Off During The Home Stretch
I will readily admit that my last semester of high school did not showcase my talent. Senioritis is real and I had it bad. Everyone slacks off near the end because they’ve already been accepted into college and know they’re going to graduate. With that said, make sure you get good enough grades to graduate. Don’t ruin your GPA in one swoop. I’m the last person who should be telling you this. I didn’t ruin my GPA, but I did spend a lot more time than I should’ve preparing to launch the blog you’re reading right now.
(And you know it was worth it because I hate using hashtags. They’re a necessary evil)
Well, that’s it for this series. Don’t worry. There’ll be more posts geared towards high schoolers coming up on this blog. I hope this helps you prepare for college.
//Pictures Of Me In Senior Year//
What did you do in senior year of high school to prepare for college?