There are plenty of things you need to do your senior year of high school. Contact your local C2 for a free college planning session today!

The end is in sight! This spring, you’ll go to senior prom and graduation parties before you don your cap and gown to collect your hard-earned diploma. But before you do, there are a lot of things you’ll still need to take care of your senior year of high school!

Essays and Applications

The first few months of senior year are dominated by the race to submit college applications in time. The best advice for a successful application process: Do not wait until the last minute. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to college essays and applications.

Your first step should be to figure out whether you’re going to apply early. Research the colleges you intend to apply to so you know what kinds of early application programs they offer and when the deadlines are.

Figure out if it’s worth it for you to apply early.
Learn about different early application options.

Next, you’ll need to find out which application platforms your chosen colleges use so that you know how many applications you need to complete. When you know how many applications you need to complete and the deadlines by which you need to submit them, you can create a plan for the whole application process.

Learn about college applications here.
Get tips and tricks for the Common App.

The most time-consuming part of applying to college is the college application essay. When done write (see what we did there?), the college essay should take weeks—even months—to perfect. This is not a writing assignment that you can successfully complete in an afternoon.

Check out our college application essay resource hub for advice.

When you think you’re ready to click submit, wait. Look the whole application over again. Double and triple check to make sure everything is perfect. Then, and only then, submit the application.

Take a look at this checklist of last-minute tasks to boost your applications.

Keep Your Grades Up

Thus begins the agonizing waiting game. While you wait for your college acceptance letters (or emails) to roll in, make sure you keep your grades up. If you have to apply to a few more colleges in the spring or if you need to apply for scholarships, those first semester grades will count, so you need to keep them high. And although it’s rare, colleges have been known to rescind offers of admission over low grades, so don’t let senioritis drag your GPA down.

When Admissions Decisions Arrive

With luck, acceptance letters will rain down like confetti. You’ll have some important decisions to make in the coming weeks. Even if you think you know where you want to go, take the time to carefully consider your options. After all, the college you choose is going to be your home for the next few years.

Find out what to do if you didn’t get into your dream college.
Get tips on comparing colleges before National College Decision Day.

Prep for AP Exams

Another reason not to let senioritis take over: AP exams. Your AP exam scores will earn you just as much college credit this year as they did in previous years—you should be just as dedicated to AP exam prep as a senior as you were as a junior.

Check out our 5 AP Exam Tips for a 5.
Get detailed advice for AP exam prep.

Tackle Financial Aid

Just when you thought you were done with forms and applications, here comes financial aid season. Be sure to complete your financial aid forms as early as possible because many forms of aid are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learn the basics of financial aid here.
Get some tips for completing the FAFSA.

You’ll be moving into your dorm room before you know it!