By Lauren Hemenover
I never realized how relatable of a character Troy Bolton is until this year. In High School Musical 3, first impressions reveal that he’s the typical basketball superstar with a surprisingly magnificent voice and an even more magnificent girlfriend. But underneath it all, he’s just a teenager who’s just as confused about life as anyone else. He goes through the motions of senior year while trying to figure out what direction his future is going and what he’s passionate about. And then of course there’s the whole college question looming above him. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us are Troy Boltons right now.
I don’t need to spend a lot of time elaborating on the fact that we have now been in school for about 80% of our lives, or remind you that it’s senior year (I’m hoping that’s a given) and that college is right around the corner. This is stuff you already know. But what I do want to spend time elaborating on is the ways that you can relieve some of that college load off of your plate and make the most of your senior year! So here’s a Senior To Do List of sorts that I hope will help you “getcha head in the game” and feel less like a Troy Bolton:
First things first, narrow those college choices.
If you haven’t started looking into colleges yet, now is the time. And if you have, I hope that you’ve realized that it’s impossible to apply to every single college in the nation, or the world, for that matter. It’s recommended that you have a list of about 5-8 colleges that you want to apply to. Mix up your college choices a bit – include schools that you know you could get into easily and at a good price, but also include a couple of schools that might be more difficult to get into.
Take the ACT. Or SAT. Or Both.
At this point you’ve had the ACT and/or SAT thrown in your face at least a million and seven times, so I’ll keep this part short. But in all seriousness, the windows for taking these tests are getting smaller and smaller, especially as college application deadlines start approaching in the next couple of months. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to know when these test dates are and if you are still eligible to take them!
Mark your calendars for the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now out on October 1st this year. The sooner you and your parents fill it out, the more financial aid you are more likely to receive – so save the date!
There are so many scholarships of epic proportions that are out there that no one knows about – except you if you put in the effort to find them. Continue researching for scholarships even if you already know where you’re going or if you’re financially covered. Money is money, right?
Know your deadlines and be organized
Between college visits, scholarships, applications, and teacher recommendations, one of the best things you can do for yourself to make your college search easier is to stay organized! Keep everything in folders and binders, organize all of your downloads and documents online, and keep a planner for your deadlines. Seriously, it’ll save you the heartache and headaches.
Don’t slack off.
Whether you are immune to senior-itis or have had it since you were in the womb (you know who you are), don’t put your senior year on cruise control. Colleges tend to look at your senior year very closely, so make yours stand out. Get yourself involved in some of the many extracurriculars that our school has to offer. Jump into some leadership positions, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. Go beyond the borders of these walls and invest some time in the community around us.
But don’t forget…it’s still your senior year.
Attend as many school events as possible.
This is this last time that you’ll be able to go crazy at games with your best buds, or attend the incredible concerts that our band and choir put on throughout the year, or see the fantastic shows performed by our theatre department that are talked about for months. Sure, you could come back and do all of these things when you’re forty, but what’s the fun in that?
Invest time in others.
As forlorn and depressing as it is to say this, this is our last year we’re all together under one roof. Once summer comes around, who knows where in the world we will all be. This is a pretty huge deal considering we’ve grown up with some of the same people for over twelve years now. So take this time now to further your friendships, or better yet, start some new ones. There’s no way to tell where they’ll take you.
Finally, enjoy being spontaneous.
I understand how hard it is to do this, especially for those who like to have everything planned out and set in stone. But believe it or not folks, adulthood is creeping up on us, and in the adult world it’s much more difficult to go to last minute movies, have random sleepovers, and go on unplanned adventures around town. Take the time now to try new things and enjoy the simplicity and spontaneity of life while you can!