Your Senior Year of High School

Sign up to receive the monthly newsletter specifically for seniors.

If you would like to receive the monthly newsletter email, please complete the form provided. In the meantime, the checklist below can help you stay on track during your senior year.


  • Achieve your best score. Every point matters. Increasing your ACT score by one point could close the gap between your application and an acceptance letter. Improving your score could also help you qualify for more scholarship money. Consider taking the ACT in September or October so you can get your new scores back in time to use on application deadlines. 
  • Apply for financial aid. Talk to your counselor or your top colleges’ financial aid offices. Get all the financial aid application forms and watch for deadlines. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1. Research and apply for scholarships and grants. Review the financial aid eBook for more tips. 
  • Compare the colleges on your list. Have you weighed pros and cons carefully? Which colleges meet your needs? Continue visiting colleges and college websites. Organize your college choices into a detailed pro/con list. Pay special attention to colleges with the longest “pro” list. 
  • Collect application materials. Obtain application forms, transcripts, and test scores, and collect letters of recommendation. 
  • Complete application essays. Application essays are an effective way for you to communicate unique strengths to admissions officials. Some colleges will have specific prompts they want you to answer. Others will ask for you to just describe your story. Whatever it is, be yourself, speak in your voice, and don’t try to fit in a bunch of fancy words from the thesaurus. Consider these 6 tips to writing a stellar essay. 
  • Finalize your application resume. If you have kept an ongoing list of your accomplishments, this should be simple. Follow this step by step guide to crafting an application resume that stands out. 
  • Apply to college. Review the Ultimate Guide to Applying for College eBook and submit your applications to your top-choice colleges.


  • Finalize your financial aid plan. Review your financial aid package from the schools you applied to, determine the net cost of attendance, and use this information as you make your final decisions. Learn more about estimating the cost of college and comparing your offers. 
  • Say thank you. Write handwritten notes to everybody that helped you with your applications. 
  • Avoid the senior slide. Letting your grades drop can affect scholarship opportunities and college admission decisions. Remember, colleges determine admission based on your class rank, GPA, test scores, school involvement, and your coursework (it’s important to take challenging classes throughout your senior year).


  • Make your final decisions. Check with parents, counselors, and mentors and ask them to help confirm your decision. Then contact your chosen college to confirm. 
  • Notify colleges. Once you’ve made a final decision and your acceptance has been confirmed by your college choice, be sure to notify all other colleges to which you’ve applied that you won’t be attending. Often, colleges are holding scholarship money for you, and confirming your choice to go elsewhere can give other students an opportunity.


Congratulations, graduate! Use the summer to prepare for your next step!