Ah, senior year. You’ve waited for it, pined for it, ached for it — and now it’s finally here. That last year before you go off to college; the last few months before you get to be on your own.
Understandably, it feels like it drags on forever. After a while, you lose steam and simply become a high school zombie, waiting for that final of final bells to ring so that you can close out your high school chapter and start your college story. You’ve fallen prey to that most dreaded of high school diseases: senioritis. The symptoms of senioritis are common and widespread among graduating classes: glazed-over eyes, blank expressions and lack of interest in everything. You’re done, you’re spent and you’re ready to move on.
The problem is, school isn’t ready to move on with you, and what you do this last year of high school still matters. It matters to your GPA and it matters to the colleges to which you’re applying. Slack off and you could be, in the most extreme cases, saying goodbye to college acceptances you thought were already in the bag.
So, it’s time to come up with a plan. Follow these five simple steps to stay active and involved that last year of high school, and make it truly count.
Become a leader
Now that you’re a senior and you’ve been involved in your extracurriculars for two or three years, it’s time to step it up and really get involved. Become the editor-in-chief of the yearbook or newspaper. Take on the lead role in the school play. Become the volunteer liaison or fundraising leader for your school’s chapter of a charity. You know the lay of the land, so lead the pack! Becoming a leader will keep you involved in your activities, and will help lend structure to your extracurricular pursuits.
Get interested (and interesting!)
Just because it’s your last year, don’t let your curriculum get boring. Sure you need to get all your core courses done (and done well — don’t forget that colleges like to see final transcripts, even if they’ve already accepted you), but that doesn’t mean you can’t spice up your academics with some fun or unusual courses. What off-the-beaten-path classes does your school offer? Seek them out and consider adding one or two to your schedule. It’ll keep things interesting, and keep you interested in academics during this long last year in high school.
Try something new
Just because you are a senior doesn’t mean that you can’t join a new school activity. Consider checking out a new group or club this year. Always wanted to be a football booster? Check them out. Wondered what writing an article in the school newspaper would entail? Contribute one. Love taking pictures? Consider joining the yearbook or school magazine. Not everything on your résumé has to have had lengthy, long-term commitment; sometimes, just doing something because it’s new and fun is enough of a reason. Trying something new keeps things fresh, and may even land you some new friends.
You’re an expert at navigating the high school scene. You know where to go, what to do and how to get things done. Consider becoming a mentor to incoming freshmen, volunteering at the guidance office and maybe even giving talks through your college advising office about how to best apply to college. Taking the time to guide others through experiences you’ve already mastered will give you a new appreciation for everything you’ve learned.
Remember: It’s a year of “lasts”
Don’t let the fog of senioritis cloud over the fact that this is the last year of high school. Chances are pretty good that everything you do will be some version of the “last time” you do it. Don’t simply go to school for the sake of going — savor each moment! Take pictures. Hang out with your friends. Make a list of all the silly stuff you want to do “one last time”— and then do it! Once you’re in college, high school is gone forever, so make your senior year a year to remember.
Anne Chaconas is the Director of Admissions Counseling for PowerScore Test Preparation (www.powerscore.com). Every year, she answers countless questions about college admissions and helps many students get into their top choice schools.