Seniors, you’re on the final stretch to college! Just a few more months of high school and you’ll be ready to start a new phase in your life. I was recently asked for the top five things seniors should do right now to stay on track for college. Here is my list, but I went for extra credit and provided seven things.runner_stretching

  1. Keep looking for scholarships.
    • Meet all deadlines – many are in the spring so stay diligent.
    • Get quality letters of recommendation because they can make or break your chances of earning scholarships.
    • Don’t stop looking, even while you’re in college. Free money can’t be beat!
  1. Complete the financial aid process.
    • Expect Award Notifications from all the colleges listed on your FAFSA – assuming you were also accepted for admission.
    • Until you make your final college decision, accept all the financial aid you need to attend each school.
    • If you are selected for verification, complete the forms sent to you and submit all the requested documentation.
    • If needed, apply for student loans – but only for the college you plan to attend.
  1. Decide on a college.
    • Compare the colleges on your list and consider the following factors:
      • academic programs offered
      • distance from home
      • social atmosphere
      • student loan debt – this is a big deal
    • Make your final college selection and let the other schools know of your decision. 
  1. Sign up for campus housing.
    • Most housing deposits are due May 1.
    • Complete the housing application. This is your chance to name the person you’ve selected for a roommate, or have a roommate selected for you.
  1. Register for New Student Orientation.
    • Be sure to attend the orientation, you will be surprised how much happens at this one or two-day event.
    • Register for your first-semester classes, with the help of your assigned college advisor.
    • Enjoy another tour of campus – this time with some of your future classmates!
    • Spend the night in the dorms, if your college hosts two-day orientations.
  1. Finish your senior year with a bang.
    • Plan your graduation party – and attend parties for all of your friends.
    • Attend prom, even if you go with a group of girls or guys. You don’t want to miss this!
    • Enjoy the last day of high school – and hopefully leave with no regrets of what you could have accomplished.
  1. Plan for moving day.
    • Determine what to take to college, but remember that your dorm room will most likely be smaller than your bedroom at home.
    • Start buying items needed for your room, and coordinate your purchases with your roommate.
    • Ask current college students what items they use often, and what they could have left at home.

These final months in high school will fly by, so take a deep breath and soak it all in. You will need to juggle high school assignments with final preparations for college, but it is all part of the maturing process. You’ve got this!