It’s a myth that senior year is the easiest year of a high school career. With the stress of maintaining high grades while, at the same time, juggling college applications and college essays, senior year, or at least the beginning, is by far one of the busiest years out of the four. However, despite the chaos and helplessness one might feel during senior year, there are ways to keep collected and organized.
One of the first steps to an organized schedule, is understanding the time constraints when completing the college application. Prior to senior year, it would be extremely helpful to give yourself an idea of (1) What schools you’re thinking of applying to and (2) Their due dates. By listing out all your prospective colleges, you can identify what schools have an earlier deadline than others due to either Early Acceptance or Early Decision. Furthermore, by researching colleges or your intended major, it could push you in the right direction in terms of the application process, helping you make your list of reaches, target, and safety schools. Rather than becoming overwhelmed when October rolls around, much of this stress can be lifted the year or summer before senior year even starts.
Keep a steady schedule
There are many applications that can help the college process – Collegeboard, Naviance, personal Excel sheets; do whatever is needed to know where you are on the timeline. By spacing out your time and forcing yourself to get motivated to write those essays will significantly make your college application time more efficient. Pacing is crucial – writing too fast will give you writer’s block but writing too slow will make you panic when the deadline is only days away. The right way to solve this issue is by spreading your time evenly, whether it be doing the applications of those schools you find most compelling or in alphabetical order.
You are not alone! Reach out to those around you. One common thing I often see, are high school students pinching themselves under pressure. While family and friends are always a favorable outlet, remember that guidance counselors and teachers are knowledgeable guides – they’ve been through this process many, many times before. They will be able to answer questions or help organize your thoughts, at least taking off some weight you may feel.
Limit your time
It’s senior year, don’t pile a million clubs and volunteer activities on your plate. By no means am I advocating for zero participation, but in terms of events, try to prioritize. Don’t take a job that’ll give you shifts at midnight or join a club that meets everyday after school. If you do feel extremely passionate about a certain activity that may take up a lot of time, just try to find that balance between what you want to do versus what you need to do. Another option: hold off until the college application process is over. During second half of senior year, when college application deadlines aren’t a concern, you can devote all the time you have to said activity. When it comes to the college frenzy, don’t take on more than you can handle at once.