The Soon-to-be Senior’s Guide to Senior Year

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Senior year is one of the most exciting, stressful, drawn-out years of high school that there could be. While you are experiencing it, it couldn’t be over fast enough, but looking back you wonder where the time went. Now that I’ve graduated high school and have a year of college under my belt, looking back there are some things that I wished I had known, so I thought that I should share the knowledge and pass it on to you.


  1. Take the SAT/ACT at least one more time. I know that you were ready to move on from that phase in your life, but just one more try towards the end of your second semester in school with the goal to raise your score by just one or two more points can help immensely with the dollar amount you can get scholarship wise. And if you score is like mine and stays the same when you take it again, that’s okay too. Just know that you tried one more time, because if your score does raise that extra $500-1,200 in scholarship money you can get really pays off.
  2. Be smart about the classes you take. Typically, you want senior year to be the easiest year possible, your mind is on summer mode, and you are ready to move on from the beige hallways of your high school. But the thing is, a year off from a school subject is a long time to not be learning or reviewing that material. I’m a marketing major and have to take a lot of math classes, so even though I had my 3 required math classes done after junior year, I knew that not taking math my senior year was not a good idea. It was so worth another year of math when I had to take college algebra one semester and calculus the next.
  3. Schedule your senior pictures early on. The best piece of advice I got from a friend that was older than me before I went into my senior year of high school was to schedule my senior pictures as soon as possible and even get them taken early on if I wanted to. Not only are photographers typically booked several weeks out, but second semester of your senior year is pure craziness. It’s nice to get your pictures crossed off the to-do list early on and know that you can have your pictures taken by the photographer you want. My photographer was actually booked 3 months out, so I was super glad that I had contacted her early.
  4. Schedule a venue/plan where you graduation party will be. While yes, you still aren’t graduating for almost a year venues fill a lot more quickly than you think they do, especially with so many high schools having graduation the same week ends. Now is the perfect time to figure out if you want to have your graduation party on your own, with a group of your fellow graduates, and if you want to have it at a venue or at your house. Planning now will save you so much stress once second semester rolls around.
  5. Work on your senior board/scrapbook/project now rather than later. Different schools typically ask for different things of their graduating seniors, so whatever your school asks of you is something you can start working on. Our school asked for seniors to bring in twelve photos from throughout their life, a senior scrapbook, and a senior board. So even if you aren’t making your scrapbook/board at the moment, at least start going through pictures now to figure out which ones are your favorite.
  6. Apply for colleges the day it opens to apply. Unless the first day college applications open is the day for early decision, apply to schools the day the applications open. A fun fact about college is that the earlier you apply and are accepted, the earlier you can pick your dorm room and classes. And as a freshman in college, your class options already aren’t going to be the best, so take any advantage you can get.
  7. Apply for at least one scholarship a week. When I was applying for scholarships, I looked at the $50 scholarships and laughed. What in the world would $50 get me in college? That barely paid for the front cover of one of my text books. Looking back now, even if the scholarship only pays for the “front cover of your text book”, go for it! The little scholarships add up to so much more than you ever think they will. Every little bit you can get helps and counts towards something.
  8. Have a college essays folder saved on your computer. The more college applications and scholarship forms you will out, the more you realize many of the applications and forms have fairly similar questions. Typically, there will be about 5-7 essay questions that seem to appear on every application. My biggest piece of advice is that you sit down and write these essays and save them in a folder on your computer where you can find them. Sometimes you will have to do a little bit of editing to the essay, but it is so much easier to edit than to completely write a new essay.
  9. Get a job and save. If you aren’t already working somewhere, I highly encourage you to get a job and start putting money back for school. While it isn’t fun saving all of your hard earned money, it really pays off the summer before your freshman year when you can buy a new laptop for yourself and buy all of the necessities for your dorm room.
  10. “Senioritis” isn’t an excuse. I know that you are ready to be done with high school and move on with your life, but lazing off because you are suffering from an extended case of senioritis is not an excuse. Keep working hard to keep your GPA up (yes, it still counts even after you get accepted into college) and stay involved in your activities. I pinky promise it’s a wonderful year that goes by way too quickly.
  11. Learn to use a planner. I know I say it in the majority of my posts, but I say it because it is so important. If you have made it to your senior year without using a planner to stay on top of things, start learning how to use one and refer it to now so that your first year of college isn’t a complete shock. Your senior year has a lot of deadlines for both your high school and the colleges that you are applying to, so I highly recommend sitting down and writing down those dates along with any sports schedules and upcoming test dates.
  12. Have a back-up plan. I have absolutely no intention of coming off harsh in this statement, I am just being honest that you need to have a back-up plan. Sometimes, things don’t go the way we planned and the heart-breaking rejection letter comes in the mail. Please don’t be the person that only applied to one school that has to make quick decisions now on where they want to go. No matter what, the rejection letter will still bring heart ache, but at least you have a back-up plan to fall back on no matter what. And I promise, if any of this happens to you, keep your head up. It all works out for the best.
  13. Enjoy every minute of it. Before you know it, May is just around the corner and you have a last minute fitting of your graduation gown. The day that you have been waiting for since you graduated kindergarten and they announced, “And we now present to you, the future graduating class of 2014” has finally come all too soon. Enjoy every minute of it from the math tests you stress over entirely too much to how annoying everyone thinks the let out bell at the end of class is.

Are you going to be a senior in high school? Do you think any of these tips will help you? If you have completed senior year, is there anything you would add to this list? And finally, are there any other posts about high school that you would like to see? I’d love if you left a comment below.

Thank you guys so much for all of the love on this post. It would make my day if you clicked over on the social media icons on my sidebar and followed me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I definitely have more senior year related posts coming your way that I can’t wait to share!

  • Thank you so much for the sweet comment, Madi! I hope this year goes well for you! It’s a fantastic year and definitely goes by way too quickly. I definitely have more senior posts planned, but if there is anything in particular that you want to see let me know! I’d be more than happy to add your ideas to my list. Best of luck to you this year! ?

  • Madi Williams

    I’m a senior this year and this is SO helpful. I really like your “scholarship a week” idea!! Can’t wait to read your other posts