College, High School Advice, Home

Preparing for College: What You Should Be Doing During Your Senior Year

Senior year is full of excitement, it can also be very stressful as you are applying to and then awaiting replies from colleges. Here’s a guide to some things to be working on for a successful senior year.


Write a Resume

You will need a resume for when you ask teachers to write you letters of recommendation. A teacher may like you as a person, but he or she will need to know more about your life to be able to write something a little deeper than “super funny dude.”  Your resume includes all of the things you have accomplished in high school. this includes extra curriculars, awards, volunteer work, and work experience. List out anything that falls under each category and include what grades you participated in or received that item. You can put bullet points under items if you need to add more detailed information, like if you held a specific position in a club. I’ve included a sample template with examples under each category for you to download and edit for creating your own Sample Resume!

Make final decisions on colleges to apply to

Some colleges have very late application deadlines, some even extending into the summer seasons. However, it’s a good idea to get an idea of where you might like to go early on. This way, you can make sure you’re meeting all the requirements for the application. You won’t be upset to find out that it’s too late to even be considered for acceptance into this school.

Decide on an application program

If you are someone who already has a clear idea of where they’d like to go, you should start to consider how you want to apply. There are early action, early decision and regular decision applications. If you don’t know much about the different types, you can read more about them here. 

Start applications

Most schools use CommonApp, which is an online program that allows you to fill out one application for multiple schools. You can create an account at anytime and start filling out your application. If your school does not use CommonApp, you’ll need to wait until they open up their applications. You don’t want to be cramming to finish your application the night before it’s due. The earlier you start, the less stress you’ll have to deal with later on.

Get final SAT/ACT scores

If you haven’t  achieved a score that you’re satisfied with, take the earliest test dates that are offered. If you put this off, it can limit your options for applying to schools and scholarships.

Write your college essay

If you are using CommonApp, there will be 5 different essay prompts. You get between 250 and 650 words to complete the prompt. Take a look at the prompt as early as you can, so that you can start brainstorming for different topics to write about. I suggest starting a couple of different essay ideas to see which one feels the best.

Look for and apply to scholarships

Make sure you don’t miss big scholarship deadlines!! College is ridiculously expensive and most likely, you will need lots of scholarships so that you don’t end up drowning in debt. While some scholarships are very simple, while others require essays and applications and possibly even interviews if they are more prestigious and competitive. Start making your list of scholarships you’d like to apply to (and their requirements and due dates)  early on to make sure you’re on top of things.

Keep an eye on your GPA

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of senior year and seniorities (it’s real!!) and slip up in school. Since it is your last year, if you do slip up, you don’t have time to fix it. This is your last chance! Make it count and do your best 🙂