The following is a guest post written by Anna Carapellotti of Admissionado, a premier college admissions consulting company focused on helping students get into their dream schools.
Seniors, you’re in the homestretch (well, almost!). As we rapidly approach the Early Decision / Early Action deadlines, knowing that the Regular Decision deadlines are just around the corner, we’re here to remind you that now is not the time to lose motivation. In order to sail through senior year with success, it’s important that you keep your grades up, stay involved, and keep your eye on the prize (the acceptance letter, that is).
So, with that in mind, here is a list of four ways to ensure a strong finish to your high school career:
Raise your hand if you’re busy calculating the absolute minimum that you have to achieve this year in order to keep a competitive GPA. Hopefully no one’s hand went up, but if yours did, consider this: What if you don’t get into the school of your dreams and decide to transfer? What if you decide to apply for a scholarship, fellowship, etc. sophomore year of college and they request your high school transcript? It certainly won’t look great if you don’t have either a steadily improving or consistent GPA. For one, a significant drop in your GPA shows a lack of motivation and maturity. Why should anyone assume you’re willing to work hard now if you weren’t willing to work hard then? Second, you might actually be missing out on material that will be useful to you in college. And finally, you will risk jeopardizing your relationships with your high school teachers, counselors, and administrators, who might otherwise be able to support you in your ambitions. Which brings us to…
Whether or not you have plans to return to your hometown, it’s important to continue to build relationships at your high school through senior year (and we don’t just mean with your friends). As you grow older, you will learn that the connections you make truly matter. So if nothing else, continuing to work hard and make a good impression will simply be good practice for the future. At the same time, you never know when you might need to call upon a former teacher, your principal, or another adult at your school for a letter of recommendation or a reference.
However, at the same time, we’re certainly not suggesting that you build relationships with the sole goal of “getting something out of them.” We’re simply encouraging you to continue to work hard, do well in your classes, and remain involved in extracurricular activities in such a way that people are impressed with your effort. If you do so, these connections will form naturally and you will have a solid network to build upon in the future.
While you certainly need to set aside some extra time to spend with your friends and family, work on your college applications, and perhaps even visit some college campuses, senior year is not the time to let your extracurricular activities and community involvement slide. These activities will help you continue to build a strong foundation for success with skills surrounding time management, teamwork, and leadership, in addition to helping you discover where your strengths and passions lie. Moreover, staying involved, whether it be in a sport, art, or volunteer effort, will help you continue to strengthen the relationships referenced above.
College application essays
Last but not least: your application essays. Chances are you already have a solid draft of your Common Application essay (we hope!), but some (if not all) of those school supplements may remain unchecked on your to-do list. We have three words for you: Don’t. Burn. Out.
With many of you applying to six or mores schools, you might find it difficult to remain motivated until the very end. But it’s important that you do, and here’s why — even if you’re considering a gap year, feel like you’re a shoo-in at a certain school, or think you’ll ultimately transfer, you’ll still want to make sure you’ve put your best foot forward. First of all, this will give you more options. Depending on where you’re applying, even the brightest of students aren’t necessarily guaranteed admission. And a great, truly personal application essay can help tip the scale in your favor. Second, you’ll simply feel better waiting for those admissions letters if you know you tried your hardest. So write, rewrite, rewrite again, and be sure to proofread for clarity and errors. The end product should be something that you’re proud of.
If you keep working hard, stay involved, and put forward an application that reflects your best effort, then you should feel confident that you have set yourself up for admission and success.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.