10 strong tips for a successful senior year



These tips are sure to make your senior year a success.

Ethan Todd, Staff Reporter

Your senior year of high school is a busy time. Between taking tests like the SAT and ACT, worrying about your grade point average and transcript, sending out your applications and waiting to find out about admissions at your colleges and universities, it is understandable that you would be tempted to put all that school stuff aside and have fun with your friends, but keep your eyes on the education prize. Balance is key; Take breaks to recharge and have fun, but do not let senioritis overtake you and make your college options slip away.
Finding a balance between having fun, studying for your courses and planning for your next life step is a great way to start preparing for college, since you will be called upon to do this during your college years. To help you stay focused, I have compiled 10 of the top mistakes students make during their senior year so you can make sure you don’t make them.

1. Skipping Classes
Choosing to skip classes could mean missing valuable information for upcoming tests. Do not forget to think ahead to university classes; information you will need for your major in your college program may be covered during a high school lecture you miss.

2. Thinking Second Semester Grades Don’t Count
Many universities look at your second semester grades, so keep that GPA up and keep taking those advanced placement and honors classes. Admissions departments at many colleges and universities have been known to resend the acceptance letters of students who drop their tough classes or let their GPA sink dramatically due to senior slump.

3. Falling for “Senioritis”
A bit of restlessness during your senior year is to be expected, but do not let yourself lose motivation, procrastinate or slack off completely. Letting yourself get physically or emotionally run down can ruin your senior year and make you less prepared for getting a college degree.

4. Getting Too Overwhelmed
Senior year means juggling everything from the prom and parties to college essays and AP tests. You will get through it all if you take a step back and prioritize your time: you can make lists and timelines to keep track of all of your deadlines and make sure you get it all done.

5. Confusing Your Priorities
Planning for college does not mean you can forget about your current obligations. In class, that means making sure your transcript is full of good grades in all of your subjects, not just the ones you think are easier or more relevant to your intended degree. Outside of class, that means not dropping your extracurricular activities or work if those activities will benefit you financially or personally.

6. Forgetting to Study
Keep up on your assignments, even after a tough week. While you are taking time off, there is another student going for your spot at the schools you are applying to who isn’t. When you feel less motivated to study, remind yourself that every good grade gets you closer to finding a college that offers a great program in the major you want. Keep your eyes on the prize!

7. Mismanaging Your Time
Be realistic about your current workload. While you know how long it takes you to write a paper or study for a test under normal conditions, all the pressures of senior year could make you work more slowly or give you more distractions. To stay on top of your assignments, calculate how long you think something will take you, and then double it. Triple it, if time allows. That way you will have ample time to get your work done even if something comes up for the colleges you are applying to.

8. Daydreaming About Your Future Too Much
Your mind now might be wandering, thinking around about degrees, majors, MBA programs, possible careers, study abroad and many other things. These are all exciting future possibilities, but do not forget the here and now. Devoting too much time to daydreaming when you have homework and reading to do could seriously curtail those future plans.

9. Blowing Off “Less Important” Work
Don’t be fooled by the idea that a second paper or a midterm quiz doesn’t make that much of a difference. Everything counts. Even if something is only worth ten percent of your grade, take it seriously. That extra ten percent might be what pushes you into a college slot over the next applicant.

10. Failing to Use Available Resources
Teachers know about all the challenges you are facing during this busy time, and many of them are nice enough to offer extra help during the second half of senior year. This help can be in the form of extra office hours, a review of topics covered, study guides, sample exams, or other tools to help you improve your grade. Take advantage of them.