Tips for Senior Year | Guest Post

Hey y'all! As you read this, I'm in Baton Rouge living it up at LSU. Not really, I'm at a journalism camp. Today Hailey is guest posting for me, and she is giving her tips for senior year. I was so excited when I got her email, and I quickly read all the tips, and I'm so happy that she did this! These 10 tips are great and make me more excited for my last year. 

Hey everyone, Hailey from A Southern Sunshine here! I just recently graduated high school and am going to be starting college in the fall (cue the nervous-excited feels). Senior year was definitely the best year of high school for me and a lot of my other friends, and it can be for you too - if you go about it the right way. Class of 2016, you're going to hear a ton of different opinions from recent graduates about how they felt about their senior year; some will claim it was the hardest, and thus, the worst school year of their lives. Was senior year hard for me? Yes, it was by far the most difficult year I ever had to go through - but I'm still alive, aren't I? For those of you going into you senior year of high school, here are my top 10 tips to you (in no specific order)...

1. Avoid Senioritis the best you can.
Senioritis is indeed REAL, and it WILL affect you. Don't let it empower you to the point where you begin flunking classes, that'll lose you everything from scholarships to even your diploma - and the last thing you want to do is not graduate with your class.

2. Go to all the things you've never been to. Just GO.

It's your last year. Leave being able to say you've done it all.

3. Narrow down your list of colleges to about 3.

Don't be that person that wastes all their money applying to every single college in the state because after almost 4 years, they still don't know what they want. It's okay not to have everything planned out, but at least have an idea of the schools where you think you would enjoy spending your time after high school going in to senior year.

4. You may not need that senior shirt or class ring, but you need that yearbook.

You'll outgrow those shirts and you won't want to wear that class ring past graduation, but your yearbook is forever and provides a great source of memories. Even if you don't look at it for another 20 years after you leave high school, you'll always enjoy the feeling of nostalgia it'll give you.

5. Start applying for scholarships early on, and apply for ALL of them.

Even if you barely qualify for the scholarship, take the time to apply for it. I have had friends get scholarships they didn't fully meet requirements for simply because not many people applied. And the earlier on in the year you search, the better of a chance you'll have of winning since most people wait till the end of the year to start looking around. It sucks applying, but the possible reward is always worth the time.

6. Retake those standardized tests early in the year, preferably before you begin applying for colleges.

Schools want test scores in by a certain date past the application deadline, but if you apply early enough to a school with already-great scores, they might be able to send you back a decision a lot faster - and that decision could even bring money to the table. I was accepted to my dream school early in the year and this allowed me to be considered for freshman scholarships; if you weren't accepted by December, you weren't bothered with. My test scores that I spent junior year improving upon helped bring me this consideration - G.P.A. and extra-curriculars mattered as well, but the test scores played a bigger part. Retake your tests over the summer or right at the beginning of the year in August and September, right before you begin applying.

7. Prepare for all those important down-payment fees for stuff like tuition, housing, etc. now.

College starts to become expensive the minute you click that accept button. Start saving now! And as soon as you accept that offer of admission you've been wanting and the sooner you pay those fees after you're accepted, the better your housing, orientation, and many other aspects will be compared to students who choose to wait.

8. It's really never too late to meet someone that could stick with you the rest of your life, so don't be afraid to make new friends or start new relationships your last year.

I made more lifelong friends during my last year of high school than I did any other. Don't be afraid to start new bonds just because you believe you're never going to see any of the people you saw in high school ever again after graduation anyway - that's entirely not true. When people are worth your time and effort, you're going to keep in touch with them. You'll realize who these people are soon enough.

9. Don't spend your free time sitting around doing nothing - you're not going to be around the same friends and family much longer.

Some of your friends may be going to faraway places for their post-secondary education - or maybe you are. Spend time with everyone near and dear to you during this last year because you may not know when you'll ever get real quality time with them again after you walk out those doors on the last day. Life gets busy after graduation.

10. Don't spend your time counting down the days, just ENJOY them.

So many people have been sitting around for years just saying to themselves, "I can't wait to get out of here." Those are the people who never fully treasured the time they spent in high school and never actually made the most of their experience - they were too far into the future to think more about the present. I know you've been dreaming of graduation, and that's completely fine - but don't let it consume you this last year. Focus on the now because nothing is ever the same again after you throw your cap.

Best of luck to the Class of 2016, I hope you all have an amazing last year of high school!

Hope that helped y'all! 
xoxo, jKm

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