To all of the future high school seniors I have some of words of wisdom for you…
ONE, not everything is going to be smooth sailing.
Get Organized: The first semester of senior year can be extremely difficult depending on the courses you take. To help stay organized make sure to grab a calendar and fill it up the second you get each syllabus for all of your courses. Write down on your calendar when you have a test, quiz or paper. Mapping out all of your big projects and assignments on a calendar will help you from feeling totally overwhelmed. Make sure to go on the Hub and watch all of the webinars on time management and study skills if you need more help.
Make Scholarship Applications A Priority: You may get through the college application process successfully but you never know what your financial aid package for your dream school will be. You may have very tough times ahead financially if you do not apply for scholarships early. You never know which scholarship is going to save you and allow you to make it to college. There are a bunch of scholarships people post on the Hub every day so don’t let them slip by. Just because you apply to one scholarship does not mean you are going to get it, so make sure you apply to as many as you can. SRA will post different scholarships and scholarship search websites regularly but it is up to you to apply!
TWO, it is never too early to start planning.
Personal Statement: If you have time, try working on a rough draft of your personal statement as soon as possible. This is especially important if you are applying to UC’s. It’s a lot easier if you start planning and working on your personal statement during your junior year summer. I promise, you’ll feel calmer once first semester starts.
School Research: If you have time during the summer before your senior year of high school you should also consider traveling to look at schools you want to apply to. It costs money to apply to schools so make sure you applying to schools you really like. Things like the local weather, a school’s sports program, campus clubs, and academic programs should all be researched too! When doing your research make sure to select schools that are a good match for you. It’s also important to have safety schools that you are very confident you will get into based on your grades, extracurriculars and test scores. Remember, not everything goes according to plan and you may not get into your top schools but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s important to get excited and make the best of whatever choices you do have!
Reach Out For Advice: Planning can be hard! If you need help, make sure to post on the Hub or message an SRA advisor. They can connect you to past or current students from a school you are interested in, which can provide you with valuable insight. You can also get suggestions about which schools you should consider applying to based on your student profile by messaging an advisor on the Hub.
THREE, make time for you.
This might be one of the hardest pieces of advice to take but make sure you are finding time to take care of yourself. Try to get as much sleep as you can, don’t skip meals, and try to find time for a little exercise. Not only will exercise release some stress but in the long run you’ll be doing yourself a favor. I had days when I barely ate or slept! This was not good, when you don’t take care of yourself your health can suffer. When your health suffers it will be near impossible to stay on track for college applications! So please remember take care of yourself!
FOUR, be appreciative and humble.
Be Supportive & Appreciative: Make sure to thank everyone who helps you whether it is your family, friends, or SRA. Everyday is a blessing and it’s important to appreciate the good things in your life, this is especially true when things get really stressful. Try to help your classmates out during the application process! When it comes to college acceptance letters don’t diss anyone for choosing the school they chose, be supportive!
Don’t Dwell On Rejections: It may sound funny but don’t open any emails from colleges if you are out at a social event. During my senior dinner, acceptance letters from UC Davis were sent via email, everyone at our dinner opened the email immediately. Some of my classmates were super excited about their acceptance while others simply put their heads down because they were rejected. To avoid this kind of situation try to only open important emails when you have privacy. Also, try to remember that rejection is not the worst thing in the world. It’s okay to have quick moment of sadness if you are rejected, just don’t let a school’s rejection rule your life. If you feel like college rejections are taking over your life, message an advisor for advice on how to move forward. Try to focus on the good and let the negative slide by!
I wish you all the best on your college journey!