Excited? Looking forward to a great year? Of course, Senior year is an amazing time that is full of adventure and excitement looking forward to a bright future! Yet, the Senior year also holds a lot of challenges! If you’ve planned to pursue a college degree or an alternative, the time to get started is now!
Senior year, though so much fun, can be complicated! But don’t worry, you’ve got this! As with anything tough to tackle it’s worth it and there is a process for success! We’ve been there and we understand it’s tough to keep it all straight and to nail down that actual process from preparing transcripts to College Admissions there’s a lot to remember. So, let us help you! Here’s our tried and true Senior Year Checklist!
Don’t hesitate… get started right away! Whether you’re looking for an apprenticeship, overseas opportunities for your gap year, or applying to college the best time to start on it is right away. If your interest is in dual enrollment now is the time to head over to the college or tech school and talk with a dual enrollment advisor. Get the scoop and get registered to start for this fall! If you plan on seeking a college alternative after graduation, begin exploring that avenue! And, if you plan on attending college after graduation, make sure that you start the application process right away! If you aren’t sure about where or what to study – apply early and to at least 4 different colleges with a mix of public and private.
Take time to research requirements. Every college and tech school, as well as apprenticeship opportunities, will have requirements that will need to be met by the homeschooler. It’s good practice to have a solid understanding of those requirements and then work them into your homeschooling plans for Senior year. Making sure that you fill any gaps and cover all expectations in the time that is left!
Mark Your Calendars! Make sure that you track and plan for the deadlines that will be specified by colleges, tech schools, and other opportunities. Always. Always look at the fine print. Yes, it will feel tedious, but this is the beginning of adulting and reading fine print for the rest of your life!
Review your ACT/SAT scores and retake them as many times as necessary to make the score that is needed.
Most college applications will require a finely tuned well-written “self-reflective” essay. These essays are often difficult for students to tackle simply because of the nature of the essay. Most Seniors have some difficulty with “self-reflective.” However, getting started on that essay right away, editing, reviewing it, and having others review it till it’s as near to perfect as possible will get you on the road to success from the start!
Comprehensive Homeschool Records are important to have for colleges that might want more information than typical. Colleges are interested in extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, community service, and leadership skills. Pull together this information to give them a memorable snapshot of just who you are! Our transcript download includes a section for recording these amazing facts about your high school career.
Make sure your Course Descriptions are thorough and well written. Colleges will often look for more information than just the course title and grade. Having a solid course description will give admissions officers a better look at all of the high school achievements!
Complete an official transcript. This is vital and builds on both your homeschool records and your course descriptions. A good transcript will contain both of those as well as the course names and grades and attendance. It’s important to record the courses that have already been completed as well as the courses that are currently underway. If you do this, you can use the transcript to send with your early applications and by that give colleges a glimpse of what the full picture will be once graduation takes place.
Take Care of the FAFSA! This is definitely something that needs attention early. Now that changes have been made to application dates, the FAFSA can be filed as early as October the year prior to admission.
Apply for scholarships. Take some time to look at what is out there. There are scholarships that are easy to apply for, have very simple requirements, and can help your wallet without losing sleep! We encourage students to aim for a debt-free education. One way to help with that is to strongly consider in state schools and community colleges (better tuition rates), and getting a job/working to help pay each semester off by the end of the semester!
Flexibility is important! The last few years of high school and preparation for college/career can be so confusing. Life decisions are being made at the age of 17 or 18 and can be so overwhelming. It’s important to understand that students may be gung ho for college and then later feel totally against college. Be flexible. Be understanding and supporting!
Run with it! Once you have a clear direction for your future, don’t hesitate. Jump in. Get going. Grab your future with both hands! But understand that takes effort… time investment… and diligence. You can’t wait until the last month of school and expect the future to fall in to place. Get started on everything right out of the gate as soon as the future becomes clear! But, remember if you don’t know – don’t have a clue until the last minute – don’t give up! You can still get it done… with some double duty work! Check out our Senior’s Last Minute Path to College!
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]