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5+1 Tips for Senior Year

McKenna shares some of the advice her mother gave her during senior year of high school.

McKenna shares some of the advice her mother gave her during senior year of high school.

There’s a lot about next year that we don’t know yet.  It’s important to acknowledge that uncertainty, but also to do what you can to help prepare yourself for what’s coming next — at least that’s what I find empowering. Applying to colleges is always stressful and it’s going to be weird this year. To help rising seniors, I have some of the tips and tricks my mother shared with me just before my senior year:

  • Start working on your applications early.  If you have time this summer, you can start figuring out what you want to write about in your essays and even do a few drafts. They may not end up looking like what you ultimately turn in, but it’s definitely more stressful to start that process during the school year. The Common Application opens on August 1st and Carleton provides more specifics about the application process on the website.

  • Don’t apply to your dream school first. You’re going to mess something up on your first application. Do a few to practice first! That way, once you hit the submit button, you can go back and fix the mistake(s) you’re bound to realize you’ve made in all of your other applications. Trust me, people have made all sorts of mistakes and everything has turned out fine.

  • And it’s okay if you don’t have a dream school. It’s honestly probably better that way. There are no “right answers” to picking a college, and what’s best for one person may not be best for another. And sometimes, what you think will be a good fit won’t be. You can’t predict the future. That’s okay!!

  • If you can apply early, apply early (especially if it’s non-binding). You don’t have to apply Early Decision if you aren’t ready to make that commitment, but if there’s a school you’re interested in with rolling decisions or Early Action (non-binding), apply early.  It feels good to know that you’re going to a college, even if it’s not the college. Here’s an explanation of the differences between Early Decision and Early Action.

  • Always have more than one application you’re waiting on. This is something I did — that way, if you get rejected, you still have something else to look forward to. Also, if you’re like me and want to apply Early Decision, try to have your Regular Decision applications finished before you hear back from the ED school. Either you’ll get waitlisted or rejected and be able to apply to other schools minutes later, or you’ll get in to your ED school and won’t mind having done all that other work in the first place!

Bonus and most important tip:

  • Relax and have fun (just not too much). It’s your senior year, take time to enjoy it!  Senioritis is real, so do try to resist it and keep up your grades as much as you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself.  Spend time with your friends and celebrate all you’ve accomplished!  If you can, it’s probably a good idea to take some time to recharge, especially over the summer.  It would not be fun to come into your first year of college already exhausted.  Besides, you’ve earned a break <3

P.S. Here are a few other articles from Carleton students that might be helpful as well!

McKenna is a Russian and Psychology double major who is suffering from major Minnesota-withdrawal (her favorite season is, in fact, winter).  On campus, she’s often designing lights for a student performance, speaking Russian in Parish house, or grabbing a meal with friends.  She’s also a proud member of the Carleton Equestrian Team and is currently playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in her free time. Meet the other bloggers!