Senior year is notoriously overwhelming, as it is filled with deadlines, college and scholarship applications, and essays, which must be balanced with schoolwork, senior obligations, and time with friends and family. As a recent graduate about to attend my dream college, I’d like to share 10 secrets to a successful and fulfilling senior year.

Start your applications over the summer.

When school starts, your schedule is likely to become extremely busy, and it can be difficult to find time to squeeze in applications. If you want to sleep at night and have enough time to do your best work, start your college and scholarship applications as soon as they are released!

Begin your college essay as soon as possible.

The prompts are on Common App right now, so go check them out, and start brainstorming. Writing your college essay over the summer takes a huge load off your shoulders.  When it comes to writing essays, it is often difficult to do a good job in one sitting. It helps to take breaks so you can come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes, so be ahead so you have this luxury!

Prioritize relationships.

This is your last year with your high school friends, so make time for good conversations with friends and family. You won’t remember your Anatomy quiz grade in 5 years, but you will remember your friendships. Take the time to reflect on your high school journey with those closest to you.

Don’t check out.

Don’t stop playing your sport or enjoying your extracurriculars! Keep building your resume, making new friends, working for causes you are passionate about, and doing what you love. It’s your time to shine. Enjoy it!

Get to know your teachers.

Having a relationship with someone older and wiser is an enriching experience. You can learn a lot more from your teachers than what they have time to cover in class! Plus, you will need recommendation letters, and it helps if your teachers know you outside the classroom.

Don’t stress too much about grades.

Some colleges require mid-year reports for admission, while others only look at your grades through junior year. The college you choose to attend will receive your final transcript at the end of the year, so don’t slack off; however, as long as your grades and quality of work don’t drop dramatically, a college is not going to rescind your acceptance due to a couple B’s. Senior year is, of course, not a pass to stop working hard, as continued good grades can help you earn scholarships, but be aware of what grades colleges will actually consider for admissions.

It’s okay to have senioritis.

When the exciting future is so close, it’s natural to have a loss of motivation senior year as you feel your head has skipped forward to college, but your body is still stuck in high school. However, don’t forget to be present where you are. Senior year will be over before you know it, and you don’t want to let it pass without having enjoyed each moment.

Take classes that interest you.

I took all the hardest classes senior year because I thought it was necessary for me to get into Wake Forest. I did, in fact, get accepted to Wake, but decided there was a better college for me, and as a Politics major, I regret spending so much time studying for classes I’m not interested in when I could have used that time studying what I love. The amount of APs you take senior year will probably have little impact on a college’s admissions decisions, so focus on learning what you care about.

If you don’t get into your dream school, it’s okay.

One of my best friends was a shoe-in to get into UF and was shockingly rejected. She was crushed, but just a few weeks later, she learned she had been offered a full-ride to her dream school, Baylor, an honor given to only a few students. God knows where you’re going to school, and he has an amazing plan for your life, so even if you don’t get accepted to where you thought you wanted to go, trust that God has something better.

God knows where you’re going to college, and He’s not stressed about it.

This is probably the best advice I’ve heard all year. I was so stressed all of senior year, and it made it difficult to enjoy the moments, so be at peace during this exciting time.

Good luck seniors, and enjoy your year!

Elizabeth is a member of the class of 2020, and will be attending Hillsdale College in the fall where she will major in Politics and minor in Journalism in hopes of becoming a political journalist. She enjoys writing, reading, tennis, and listening to too much Ben Shapiro.

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