Rising Seniors: 6 Tips for Maximizing Your Summer Author: Marcia Page

Enjoy your time off and make sure you prepare for your senior year of high school over the summer. If you have the idea you should rest so you can be ready for the new school year, you are right, summer is the perfect time to recharge for what is sure to be a demanding period. But, your other priority should also include a little preparation for your senior year.

The goal is to maximize the summer months and prepare for an action-packed new school year full of life-altering choices and decisions. The good news is that nothing suggested here is overly hard, it just needs to get done. So, keep reading and do these few things to help assure your senior year is one of the best years of your life so far.

  1. Get Organized – There are tons of important decisions in the coming year. Get a calendar, make note of key dates and deadlines. Post your calendar in a prominent place and check it often to stay on task and on schedule. Once you get in this habit, you may find that this approach will work well for you far beyond your senior year.


  1. Prepare for Life After Graduation – What is your plan? Are you going to college or another post-secondary education program? Whatever your choice, you can help insure your success with the prep work you do now. Research the requirements for the school or program of your choice and be sure you have met or have a plan to meet the requirements for admission. This college admissions guide may help you anticipate the year ahead.


  1. Register for Fall SAT/ACT Tests – You may have taken the tests in your junior year, if there is room for improvement in your score sign-up for the test and take it again, this is a great opportunity not to be missed. Over the summer, get registered for the test and put a date on your calendar as soon as possible. Test seats are limited, so sign-up before the all the seats are taken. Test location can also be a factor influencing your test results, this resource may help you pick a location ideal for you.


  1. Get Your Finances in Order (FAFSA & TASFA) – This one is likely a family affair. To apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA), you will need information about your parents’ most recent tax returns, W-2s and other records of money earned. If you earned income and are using your earnings for help pay for school, you must have the same information for your income as well. The state and federal funds are limited, so following the dates and filing your financial aid applications early puts you ahead of the pack and more likely to receive the financial aid you need. This resource on tips to maximize financial aid may help.


  1. Do a Trial Run – There’s nothing wrong with getting a head start on a few of the big things coming in the fall, then as deadlines approach, you will be refining the work you have already begun, versus starting from scratch. A couple of topics and suggestions…Start thinking of who you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you and complete a first draft of your college essays. When the fall comes, you will be happy you did.


  1. Make Sure Your Social Media Tells a Good Story – Have you heard that companies hiring new employees frequently look at their digital profiles for a virtual first impression? Well it is true and the good news is that social media might also help your college prospects, read this article from CNN to learn how.

There are few times in life where the decisions you make are as important as those you will make in the fall as you begin your last year of high school. Enjoy the warm weather AND get a few things done to ensure your senior year success.

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