Surviving Senioritis — Tips For High School Seniors Preparing For College

Surviving Senioritis — Tips For High School Seniors Preparing For College

Surviving Senioritis — Tips For High School Seniors Preparing For College

There’s a widespread belief that senior year isn’t as impactful as other high school semesters for college admissions. After all, universities won’t have as much data to go on since a student’s senior transcript will only reflect a single semester. Plus, many assume high school seniors deserve a bit of slack, especially after taking all those standardized tests during junior year. According to research published by NYU, roughly 50 percent of college seniors expect to devote  less time to academic efforts in their final semester (aka “senioritis”). 

Sure, seniors should enjoy themselves during their final year, but it can be easy for great students to lose their previous momentum. Hopefully, the tips below will help high school seniors better plan their college search and application process. 

What High School Seniors Should Know About The College Hunt

When Should High School Seniors Start Searching For Colleges?

Reviewing prospective colleges takes time — but how much time should high school seniors set aside for their college search? Most seniors have already started searching for colleges during the spring of the Junior year and may have taken advantage of the summer to tour some of their potential choices. So, if you haven’t begun the process as a senior, it’s high time to do so!

2022 data from college ranking site Niche found that many high school seniors get serious about reviewing colleges once fall rolls around. An estimated 27 percent of high school seniors said they started researching and visiting colleges during autumn. 

If students are easily overwhelmed or prone to procrastination, it’s strongly advised they set aside time each week to research universities with their parents. Having a focused, concise list of colleges can save students tons of stress as they deal with school demands and prepare their applications. 

How Many Colleges Should Seniors Target?

According to the Niche survey mentioned above, almost 60 percent of high school seniors sent applications to at least five colleges in 2022. This “five figure” aligns with what most admissions experts recommend to soon-to-be college students. However, other sources recommend that students apply to between 5 and 8 schools. Whatever the number of schools applied to, seniors need to consider the average admissions rates for their picks. 

No matter how well students prepare their applications, there’s always an element of chance involved in the admissions process. That’s why advisors strongly recommend that seniors include three college types in their applications: reach, match, and safety. 

“Reach” schools refer to high-profile colleges such as Ivy League schools with a reputation for under 10 percent acceptance. “Match” schools are colleges that seniors feel fit all their criteria and have an acceptance rate of around 50 percent. Third, “safety” schools refer to colleges with many resources seniors want and an acceptance rate of over 50 percent. 

Including these categories in a list of at least five colleges will increase the odds of application success.  

By the way, if high school seniors need advice on choosing the best college, they should read this previous Umergency blog

Write A Clear College Checklist On Your Calendar

Since every college requires different paperwork at various times, it can be confusing for students to track what they need to submit. To avoid getting flustered during the fall semester, seniors should keep a master calendar where they can write down the due dates for each of their schools ASAP. 

Keeping track of this info can help seniors stay on track while studies ramp up during the academic year. Creating a simple college checklist can also be a helpful tool to avoid procrastination. 

Start Drafting The Personal Essay Now! 

Of the many forms students need to submit to colleges, the personal essay may be the most anxiety-inducing. Although most seniors cringe at the thought of writing this piece, it’s essential in every college application. This essay allows students to showcase their personality and determination. A lackluster personal essay can sour an otherwise strong application. 

Excellent writing demands plenty of time. Even if seniors feel they are “prose pros,” perfection requires patience and plenty of revisions. There are plenty of online resources that provide guidelines on writing the successful personal essay and many include recommendations from college admissions officers.

Wishing Every High School Senior The Greatest Success! 

It’s understandable why so many high school seniors slip into “senioritis.” However, students should recognize that slacking off will only create more stress during a year they should enjoy to the fullest. Those who let off too much steam during senior year could undo great work in the previous academic quarters. 

The more time seniors set aside for college research and applications, the better chances they will balance their academic and social lives. It’s far better for seniors to start early and chip away at college admissions consistently versus “catching up” during the late fall or winter.