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An Essential To-Do List For The Graduating High School Senior


The second semester of your senior year of high school is certainly one of the best ones. The academic pressure is off (almost)! You have some milestone events coming up like Senior Prom and graduation! Most importantly, by the end of the semester, you will hopefully be college bound with a bright future ahead of you!  


Even though you’re almost out of high school, you still have classes and other academic responsibilities to take care of before you go. The second semester of your senior year is about leaving on a good note. In order to do that, there are a few things that you need to do before you graduate. To help you leave high school on a high note, we at CollegeVine have compiled a list of the important things to do during your last semester in high school.

Figure out what you need to do senior year with our senior checklist video!



1. Keep Your Grades Strong

Once you’ve chosen a college, you’ll probably get a notification from the university telling you that you must maintain a minimum GPA level during your last semester in order to maintain your admission to the college. To many students, this minimum GPA requirement looks like a license to slack off in classes; however, we at CollegeVine know from experience that this is not the best strategy in the long run.


Once you enter college, you’ll find that many of the courses from your senior year teach material that serves as a necessary foundation for your college courses. In fact, if you study hard during your last semester, you may even find that a lot of your initial introductory college courses are mostly review. Thus, you need to pay attention during this last semester so that your college classes get off to a good start. It’s better to master the material sooner rather than later.



2. Do Well on Your AP Exams

If you’re attending a college that accepts AP exam credit as counting towards your degree requirements, you want to make sure you’re earning as much AP credit through exams as you can. Many students who do well on their AP exams earn enough course credit to walk into their first semester of college with second-semester-freshman or even sophomore status. This could be enormously beneficial both for your family’s finances and for your ability to learn in college. So make sure that you’re not slacking off on those final AP exams.



3. Start Planning For College

While you may think that you have all summer to get ready for college, it’ll be orientation day before you know it. You should start planning your big move to college now so that you’re not scrambling to get everything done one week before move-in day.


If you’re unsure of what you need to do to prepare for college or what you need to start planning, here’s a quick list to start you off:

  • Figure out where you’re going to live (dorms? Apartments? Co-ops? Commute from home?)
  • Are you going to live with roommates? If so, how many and who?
  • What major are you going to pursue?
  • What classes are you going to take during your first semester?
  • How are you going to move everything into your new home in college?  



4. Leave Your Extracurriculars In Good Shape

By the time you make it to your Senior Year, you’ve probably secured one or two leadership positions within clubs and organizations at your school. Since you are in a position of leadership until the end of the school year, it is your duty to make sure that your activities will be in good hands once you leave.


In order to make sure that your club or activity will prosper in the future, you need to make sure to do things like host elections/select your successors, wrap up any projects that you were working on with the club, and maybe even hosting some last events and fundraisers to make sure that your organization has a strong foothold at the school and has enough funds to survive.

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5. Maintain Your Social Relationships

As a high school senior, it can be very tempting to hold your friends close and simply say, “bye, see ya never” to all of your other classmates. However, the likelihood of you never seeing these people again isn’t as high as you might think. It’s a small world, and you may run into your high school classmates later in life. Perhaps you’ll be in a position of power, but perhaps you’ll be in a position where your former classmates could help you out in some way.  Thus, in order to look out for your future self, try to leave all of your relationships at your school on a good note. Wish everyone well, and try to stay in touch as much as you can.



6. Obtain Extra Copies of Your Transcript

Even though you’re leaving high school, the things you did in high school are going to be in important for a while still. There are plenty of college organizations, employers, and financial aid officers who will want to know what your grades, GPA, test scores, and extracurricular involvement in high school was like.


As the years go by, it can become difficult to remember every class you took, every grade you got, and even what your final GPA is. Having a high school transcript on hand will help you maintain that information for whenever you may need it. Thus, before you leave, order a few extra copies of your transcript to have on hand when necessary. If you try to obtain a transcript after you graduate, it’s usually more expensive and can create a logistical nightmare for both you and the school.



7. Make Sure You Have No Outstanding Fines/Debts With the School

The easiest way to not graduate is to have an unreturned library book or a school or club fee that you never paid. High School Administrations can and have stopped students from walking at graduation because they did not settle all of their debts with the school. Even if you think you don’t have any outstanding debts with the school, go to the financial aid office/front office at your school and make sure. You never know what you might find out, and it’s best to get this figured out before graduation day.



8. Stop and Smell the Roses

Yes, you have a big future in front of you that is arguably going to be way more exciting than high school. However, you’d be amazed at the things about high school that you miss after it’s all over. It may be hard to see now, but we at CollegeVine can confirm that it is common to get nostalgic about the friends you’ve made, the proximity of your family’s support, and other the great classes you took whilst in high school.


Thus, every once in a while this semester, stop and take a moment to appreciate the little things about high school that you are never going to experience again–the cafeterias, the school hallways, lockers, etc. This is your last chance to have these experience, so appreciate it while you can. Before you know it, it’ll be gone.



For More Information

Want to make sure you’re doing Senior Year right? Check out these previous blog posts from CollegeVine:


Seniors–Why You Need to Make the Most Out of 2nd Semester

How to Handle Burnout Heading Into Your Senior Year

Handling Senioritis: The Value of Second Semester Grades

10 Things You Still Need to Do Even After You’ve Chosen a College


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Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!