Senior Year Timeline

Senior Year Timeline

With senior year comes a lot of new responsibilities and experiences. Students are on the verge of adulthood and are ending an era in their lives. As such, there can be a lot of confusion about where to go from there.

While not all students will follow a linear pathway, those who plan to attend college can follow these steps to ready themselves for the fall. Adapting the following exit plan will create a checklist of things to address during your final year of high school.

Senior Year Documentation

Seniors are done with their standardized tests. So, what's left for them to do?

While there is certainly less to do for older students, there are still a few things left for seniors before graduation.

A great place to start is by seeing what you have already done and still need.

Most seniors should already have their records ready for their college applications in the fall. You will need to provide their extracurricular activities, any awards, any honors, and at least one good recommendation.

While not all awards are directly related to your academics, showing that you are an active student can help set you apart amongst a sea of applicants.

If you already have all of these, then that's great! If you are missing information, now is the time to get that together.

Standardized Test Scores

Another major element of the 12th grade exit plan is obtaining an ACT or SAT score you are happy with.

While most students will likely already have an ACT or SAT score from the year prior, students may want to shore up their score. 

When deciding on a goal, check out your school of choice and see what other students are applying with. If you find that your score is below the average admission, it may be a good idea to retake your test. While taking the SAT or ACT a second time will require extra work, you’ll thank yourself if it gets you into a college you want to attend.

Many of you may already be familiar with test optional college policies, which have been popularized over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many colleges have decided to move toward test-optional policies, meaning that students don’t have to submit an ACT or SAT score to apply for admission.

While this may sound like it is taking a load off of high school students. Things do not look to be changing this way long-term.

Many test Optional schools are shifting back to requiring an ACT or SAT test score for admission. As elite schools such as MIT, Purdue University, and Yale revoke their previous test-optional policies, many others schools are announcing intentions of following suit.

While certain colleges might still maintain their test-optional policies, this demonstrates a larger trend toward testing requirements.

If you have not already taken the ACT or SAT exam, now is the time to get started. If a student has a score and wants to improve it, now is the time to schedule that retake. 

Choosing A College Major

Probably the most important thing for a senior in high school to do is to find out what you would like to pursue. Students who intend to go to college will want to apply as the school year starts, and you will need to know where you want to apply to.

Your major will likely influence your decision on what school you would like to attend.

While you have hopefully already considered your options, now is the time to really sit down and pick a concrete option. A big decision like this can be intimidating, but spending too much time thinking it over without committing to an option will get you nowhere.

To pick out a school, students will want to decide what you would like to study, where you would like to go, and what type of budget you have available.

Concluding Thoughts

Rather than rushing to find all the right things once you're ready to start applying, take a little time to get ahead of the curve and have your ducks in a row. Utilize your time this year and use the exit plan for an easier college pathway.

Even if you are behind, there is no better way to catch up than to start. These students won’t be able to spread out their workload as much, but if you get started now, you can begin to close the gap.

Regardless of current standing, it is not too late to adapt your exit plan. For more information about crafting a roadmap, check out our fillable workbook.

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