Senior Year: Portraits, Proms and College Applications

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“I thought I should go to New York because it was the place to go to study. I went and tried to get an application from the Juilliard School but they wouldn’t even give me one because I didn’t have my high school graduation.” – Maureen Forrester

This past week, thousands of students have embarked on their final year at high school. Senior year is an exciting time. In addition to looking forward to your graduating ceremony, you’ll be posing for your senior portrait, coming up with a witty one-liner for your graduating class yearbook, looking forward to Senior skip day and shopping for your killer prom outfit. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time; a time to celebrate your achievements to date and look forward to your future as a young adult. Before you get too distracted by all the fun stuff, remember that it’s also the time to be making those all important college applications.

Preparing for college during your Senior year is going to take a bit of focus on your part and you’ll need to get things sorted early on. In theory you could put off applying for college until after March next year since the majority of applications will still be considered on a rolling basis. The reality is that certain colleges are more popular than others and to stand a real chance of getting in to your preferred institution, you should be looking to get your college application sorted as early as possible. Colleges may send out regular decisions at any time between January 1 and April 1, but if you are sufficiently organized there is really no need to wait. Most colleges accept early action applications. Harvard, for example, requires early action applications by November 1, while the deadline at The University of Tampa is November 15.

You can find out the relevant freshman application deadlines by visiting the application pages on the websites of the colleges and universities you are interested in attending. Don’t assume anything. Check every last detail and then check them again. Confirm the application procedure for each institution and get started as soon as possible. In addition to college specific application criteria such as essays and school reports, the majority of institutions will expect a completed Common Application or University College Application. The majority of institutions will specify one or the other, but some, such as Harvard, will accept either. You can choose whether to send your college application online or by post. Both forms of application will be treated equally, but many students find it quicker and easier to complete an online college application. School officials and those providing your reference will often prefer to do things online as well.

While in Senior year, there are, of course, other factors that will require your attention, not least applying for financial aid, but the starting point is definitely your college applications. Get the ball rolling with these and you’ll undoubtedly start to feel more confident about your future as a college freshman and be free to enjoy your last year at high school.

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