Dear high school seniors,
A stream of different emotions constantly flowed through me as I prepared for senior year. Would I be accepted into my top school? Would I be accepted into ANY school? Is the major I’m selecting the right fit for me? I even began questioning if I was truly prepared enough to spread my wings from under the protection and security of my parents. With adulthood right around the corner, I could feel the excitement growing but the stress was becoming more prevalent. Figuring out efficient ways to eliminate stressors within my control and dealing with stressors outside of my control were the most significant lessons I learned throughout my senior year.
I will share the tips that helped me avoid stress my senior of high school, and I hope they can be useful for you!
Start Your College Apps ASAP
Most college application deadlines are in December or January. When you begin your first semester of senior year, December and January seem far off, but the months approach quicker than you think. I suggest taking some time during the summer to create a list of colleges you would like to apply to (if you haven’t figured it out already). On some college applications you are required to answer personal insight questions. The personal insight questions are a way for the university to gain further knowledge about you, from life experience to interests and ambitions. If you plan on applying to any private universities, you will be required to write a personal statement with a maximum of 650 words. It is a good idea to begin a rough draft of the writing portions of the applications over summer. Your written responses and essays are a significant part of your application, so you really want to take your time and put in effort. The sooner you start, the more time you will have to perfect them. You will also feel free from the stress of trying to complete schoolwork and cramming in your writing time at the last minute.
Plan Your Next Move
It’s very important to have a plan for yourself after high school. In this case, I am speaking to students whose next step is higher education, whether it be community college or a four-year university. Although entering college with an undeclared major is common, knowing your strengths and passions will help you in deciding the right major for you. Picking a major in something you are interested in now will help eliminate some stress of the unknown. Deciding not to declare a major is equivalent to not establishing a goal, and no goal can give you a feeling of no purpose of doing well. Even if you choose to switch your major later on, at least you will finish out senior year of high school with confidence in your future and start freshman year of college with a goal in mind.
Do Not Procrastinate
I’m sure your parents have told you this time and time again (mine sure did), but it is crucial to remaining stress free. Most often than not, the stress we feel from school is created by ourselves. Put your schoolwork before everything else. I know, it’s difficult. Especially as teenagers, we see our friends out having fun and all we want to do is join them. If you sacrifice one night of going out to take care of your responsibilities, you will feel proud and less stressed. Now you can go out and actually enjoy your time without subconsciously thinking about that essay you still haven’t written for AP English. If you play sports, be responsible and take initiative. If you know you have a game, meet, or competition coming up during the week, don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for homework ahead of time. This way you can get homework out the way and prevent yourself from stressing on the big day.
Ask a Lot of Questions
This was a huge lesson I learned my senior year. Some learn this lesson sooner than others, but for the longest time I was too stubborn to ask questions. I’ve always been the type to want to figure everything out on my own. If you’re like me, this isn’t a bad quality to have, but it is important for you to recognize situations where you just can’t do it all by yourself. Trust me, your senior year is where you will benefit most from speaking up. If you have questions regarding the application process, scholarship opportunities, or even FAFSA, talk to a teacher, your academic counselor, or your parents. They are there to provide support for you. You are surrounded by people with different skills and experiences, so do not hesitate to ask for help when needed.
Good Luck, Seniors! Wishing you the best and lots of success.
Your favorite college freshman,
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own.