Advice for Senior Year of High School
Do you feel prepared for you senior year of high school?
HS Senior Year
It's finally time! After so many painstaking years of work, senior year is finally rolling around. I write this article at the end of my own senior year, and I want to share my experience to share some advice I picked up throughout my high school career.
Don't stop working; it's not over yet. Senior year is not a year to completely blow off because it does still matter toward your GPA and possibly even the colleges and universities you apply to. Some higher education institutes will request final transcripts along with a copy of your diploma to make sure you graduate with comparable grades to those of your previous years. Even before you submit your final transcript, you have to submit your incomplete transcript to wherever you apply, even to community college!
While community college might not care if you took all honors courses your first three years and only academic-level courses your senior year, other schools are bound to. Because of this, your senior year course load still matters. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't take it down a notch, but carefully choose the rigor of your courses because it can actually mean the difference between getting into your top-choice school and getting rejected. While speaking to an admissions officer from one of the many colleges that visit my school every year, he told me that course rigor in a student's senior year can actually make or break an application because it shows dedication, persistence, and the hardworking nature characteristic of successful college students, all of which work in the favor of an applicant, so stick it out for one more year!
While we're on the topic, finish your CommonApp and other applications as soon as possible. There are multiple different kinds of applications depending on the time you apply: early decision, early action, regular decision, and rolling admission. You can only apply early decision to one school because an early decision application means if the school accepts you, you have already committed. To apply early decision, you must apply very early in the allotted application timeframe, "usually in November," according to the CollegeBoard. The benefit of this application is that is shows strong dedication to a particular school, which could be a deciding factor in the application. An early action application simply means a student applies early on to a school (normally before the New Year), and said student will normally find out his or her decision before anyone who applies after the early action deadline. The CollegeBoard provides a comparison of early decision versus early action in the link below:
- Early Decision & Early Action
Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) plans can be beneficial to students — but only to those who have thought through their college options carefully and have a clear preference for one institution.
Regular decision just means that a student applies before the final deadline of a school, normally in March or early April. Rolling admission means that a school considers applications as they come in without a concise deadline. However, these schools will still not allow you to enroll in their fall semester as a freshman if you do not or cannot commit by May 1st. After that date, it might be community college or nothing for the following semester!
Please note that community college is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly not something to not consider. Community college can potentially be very cheap for the same education. Just make sure that any classes you take at said community college will transfer over to the university of your choice if you plan to transfer to another school at any point. If the classes do not transfer, you will not get the college credit at the other institution.
All the college applications should be done as soon as possible, and then it's time to relax! If you push off applications and committing to a college, you'll have to worry about it for that much longer. I did a ton of research and only applied to two schools, one of which I got into, so the choice was easy for me, but friends of mine did not commit until the week before May, so they were both talking to me all year about how they could not make a decision. Meanwhile, I felt laid back and confident because I had already made up my mind. That's not to say I didn't go through the whole range of emotions because trust me; I did. When I first committed, it was actually a horrible night for me because I knew I'd probably spend the next four years living there, and I had no idea how much I'd love or hate it. Since then, I've found an amazing roommate who I completely click with, picked my dorm room (with a sixth floor view, I might add), and signed up for orientation. It's scary to say, "Yes, I will live the next four years of my life here," but the prospect of independence and moving out holds enough excitement to overwhelm you.
Enough with the college talk! Is senior year fantastic? How are the classes? How's the social atmosphere? To that I respond, yes, the best, and better than the best. Everyone understands the seniors are on their way out, and teachers cut us some slack on work because they know we're coasting to the end. Senior year was weird, acting as both my most and least challenging academic year. An enormous amount of work definitely awaits, but it's alongside the people you've known potentially for the last twelve years. At least for me, I had a few great friends throughout all of my classes this year, and some of the deepest bonds I've felt have come from those people this year, and that makes senior year not only bearable but actually enjoyable. You'll probably never have another classmate that you've known for more than a decade, so live it up! Senior year goes by faster than any other year, so try to appreciate it, especially as it comes to a close.