In my earlier years of high school, older students always told me the same thing: senior year is easy. I believed it. You take a few easy classes to earn your remaining credits and then you leave school a few periods before the rest of the underclassmen.
Well, contrary to popular belief, senior year is definitely not the easiest year of high school — at least from my own experience. It’s difficult, and I feel like I would’ve been much more prepared if I knew the workload beforehand. That being said, I’m writing this so younger students know what to expect when going into their final year of high school.
I also want to say that senior year definitely isn’t easy, but it can be one of the most fun years of high school if you let it. So, here are some tips on how to make the most of your senior year while still surviving the stress it will put you through.
Something I can’t stress enough is starting college applications early (of course, depending on if you’re planning to attend college – and there’s nothing wrong if college isn’t the right choice for you!) Being able to get them completed on time will probably be the leading cause of your stress during senior year. It’s not just the application you have to worry about: it’s the letters of recommendation, the personal essay, the transcripts, meetings with your guidance counselor, etc. There’s a lot that goes into applying to college that you don’t always think about. On top of that, there’s applying for financial aid as well as scholarships. Once this all piles up (along with schoolwork, too) it’s pretty stressful. That’s why it’s a good idea to start early. Even starting a rough draft of your college essay or filling out some basic information on the Common App during junior year will help. You’ll thank yourself when you have one less thing to do later.
The schoolwork doesn’t exactly slow down senior year, either. Sure, some teachers will go easy on their students, especially in the second semester. But if you’re an honors or AP student, like me, the workload is still hefty. It’s not easy balancing homework and essays on top of college applications! That’s why, once again, it’s so important to get a head start on the college application process, so you have more time for schoolwork.
Another thing that makes senior year especially difficult is senioritis. No, it’s not a myth; senioritis affects a lot of high school seniors. The will to work hard dies down once the second semester starts. When the weather gets warmer and graduation day begins to approach, a lot of students don’t see a reason to try in school anymore. It’s understandable, but it can be dangerous! Most colleges ask for an end of the year transcript, and if they see you slacking, they can revoke your acceptance or scholarships you may have received.
Therefore, senior year is far from the easiest year of high school. But it can be the most memorable year of high school if you make it count. Squeeze in time to attend events like sports games and school dances. Your last year of high school doesn’t have to be all work and no play!
Hopefully, I’ve helped underclassmen see what they have in store for senior year. However, this isn’t meant to make younger students nervous or scared, but instead to inform them so they’re more prepared and organized for 12th grade. These are just some of the things I wished I knew before becoming a senior, and I wanted to pass them along so no one else goes into senior year with the wrong mindset.
Photo: The Princeton Review