It’s here at last – second semester of senior year! You’ve been anticipating this moment since you first stepped foot into your high school. The standardized tests have been taken, personal statements written and college applications submitted. All that’s left to do is kick back and wait! Actually, not so fast; while the heavy lifting is perhaps complete there’s still plenty of work to be done.
To begin with, you can’t wholly abandon your studies. While an admissions committee won’t be assessing your application based upon your second semester grades, they will still see them. Moreover, it’s important to understand that even if you receive an acceptance, your admission is conditional. Colleges can revoke your acceptance if your academic performance waivers drastically. Therefore, while you won’t have to log endless hours in the library, you still must exert some effort.
Outside of keeping up with your regular studies, you should also be getting your paperwork together for the FAFSA. To refresh your memory, the FAFSA is a form used by the U.S. Department of Education to discern your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This information is then used by most colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for all means of financial aid. While deadlines vary amongst states and schools, the FAFSA can be submitted any time after January 1st. The earlier you submit the better.
Of course, securing financial aid doesn’t simply begin and end with filling out the FAFSA. Sigh, if only it were that easy. Beyond submitting those forms, you also must be proactive about searching for scholarships. There are a number to be found but you will need to put in the time and research. Application deadlines vary so, once again, the earlier you start your hunt the better. You can uncover scholarships via a myriad of avenues – local organizations, non-profits, national corporations, state government, your parents’ employers, etc. And, of course, check out your scholarship matches on MyCollegeOptions.org.
Additionally, if you haven’t yet seen any of the schools to which you applied, now would be a great time to plan a visit. After all, there’s the possibility that you’ll receive multiple college acceptances. Campus visits give you a sense of what each school is like. The information you glean and opinions you form while walking around will definitely come in handy as you make your final decision.
Second semester of your senior year may operate at a more relaxed pace. And while there’ll be plenty of time for fun and celebration, it’s critical you don’t lose sight of the work that still needs to be accomplished. Though you should certainly set aside some time to figure out who you’ll take to prom!
Enjoy your last semester of high school!