How to Balance College Prep with High School

Flickr user sea turtle

Senior year of high school is no doubt a stressful year for many. Between classes, college search, college applications, scholarship applications, extracurricular activities, financial aid, homework, test prep for the ACT or SAT, and maybe even work, it’s a lot on a student’s plate! Here are some ways you can balance your final year of high school and getting ready for your college career.

Create a Schedule

A schedule is a great tool to use at any time, and especially during these more stressful periods. Start by taking note of deadlines. When are college applications due? When is your ACT test? Once you’re accepted, you have new questions to ask. When does your college need certain paperwork? When do you have to select an orientation day? Then you have your high school to-do lists. What day is your history project due? When is your English midterm? Write down all of these important dates, for both your current classes and college.

Once you know the deadlines, start to create a weekly schedule. Spread out what you have to do. You don’t want to spend 3 days in a row researching scholarships, for example. You’ll get burnt out. Set specific days and times for scholarship research, college applications, homework, projects, ACT or SAT study, extracurricular activities, and, of course, personal time. Always have time for yourself so you can relax and recharge. Keeping to a schedule can help you keep on track for all your deadlines and personal life.

Save Some Things For Summer

Not all of your college prep has to be completed during the final semester of high school. If you choose your college courses in early June and have finals left, you don’t have to rush out to get your books right away. Save it for the upcoming summer months. You can also save your college packing list for these warm weeks.

Summer can be a great time to get to better know your future school as well. Research the college’s policies when it comes to safety and procedures, read more about the town, and study a map of the campus. Knowing where everything is can make for a much better transition that first week!

Ask for Help

It’s never bad to ask for help, especially during this busy, busy year! If you find yourself struggling on a project, consider asking your teacher for extra time. Talk to your counselor about scholarship and college opportunities. They may just have great advice for you! Study for your ACT and SAT with friends so you can quiz each other and break the monotony of reading at home.

You can also ask your parents for help when it comes to actually heading to college. There is a lot you need to remember to bring with you the first year of college, a lot you’re going to forget at home, and a lot you’re not going to need at all. Ask your parents what they think you may need or what can be left behind. They may bring up something you completely forgot or never even thought of. It can be one less thing on your mind during a stressful year.

With the right planning, prepping for college and finishing your senior year of high school strong is completely possible. Balancing is key to making sure everything gets done.

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Hilary Cairns

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