Balancing Senior Year

Becoming a senior can be both a very exciting and sometimes daunting part of life. It’s the beginning of the end of your high school career and the part of life where things really start to feel real. Applying to college amidst the first few months of the school year can be quite stressful, and it’s important to know strategies for managing all of that work and meeting all those deadlines. As a senior myself who has been through the college application process these past few months, I thought I would share some wisdom from my experience with a few important tips:

#1 Start Your Common Application Essay BEFORE THE FALL OF YOUR SENIOR YEAR
Make sure to start your essays, especially your Common Application personal statement before the start of your senior year. It’s crucial to make sure that you will be able to get everything done in time. That’s not to say that you won’t make your deadlines if you start your essays in the fall, but it’s a lot less stressful to at least already have a working draft going by the time you get to school. The personal statement is arguably the most important essay you will write since it gets sent to all colleges and is typically the longest one (coming in at around 650 words), whereas your supplementals will be more likely in the range of 200-350 words.

#2 Create A Google Spreadsheet to Keep Track of Deadlines
You probably heard the current Warde seniors this year walking through the halls complaining of looming deadlines for applications, especially that dreaded November 1st, so if you don’t want to spend your halloween night cramming in a last minute supplemental essay, it’s best to keep all your deadlines in one place. Something that really helped me to stay organized was using a google spreadsheet that had all my schools with their application deadlines and requirements. (Plus, it’s super gratifying to be able to check off boxes when you’ve completed an application).

#3 Take Advantage of the Warde College Visits
Every year, Warde has many colleges and universities coming to visit during the first few months of the school year, and these are some of the best resources that students can use to learn more about schools–after all, what’s better than learning directly from the source? You can demonstrate interest for your top schools by attending these visits, and you can also get exact answers to any specific questions you may have about that school by talking to the representatives.

#4 Create A Schedule To Balance Schoolwork and Applications
Between working on numerous college applications whilst also having to juggle regular school work, other activities, and friends, senior year can make you feel like everything is out of control. Creating a schedule or using a virtual calendar can help you to stay organized and set aside time for work and relaxation so you can maintain a balance between all the responsibilities that you will have during this stressful time.

#5 Make Sure Your College List is Right for YOU
It’s easy to want to curate a list of only top 20 schools and big names, but it’s really important to do in depth research on colleges that you want to apply to. Think about where you see yourself for the next four years, think about if you love the idea of a small school community or a very large school. There are so many aspects of college to consider like specialized programs, location, housing, dining and more. A great way to learn more about schools is to attend visits or email an admissions representative with your questions.

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