Balancing the Start of Senior Year & College Applications
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College application season can be overwhelming, not to mention that you’re adding these tasks to an already packed schedule. So, how do you stay afloat?
Here are six strategies to help you manage your time so you can balance college applications with 12th-grade responsibilities.
1. Get Organized
Organization is key to managing your time well. In order to help you stay organized, make an overarching to-do list with all the larger tasks you need to accomplish, such as writing your essays and securing your college recommendations from teachers and your guidance counselor.
Then, break it down into sub-lists with more manageable components, such as finishing your essay for AP English and looking over the transcript you’ve obtained from your guidance counselor to ensure accuracy. Create a sub-to-do list for each day, so your tasks feel less overwhelming.
Check out Eight Tips to Use Your Time Efficiently and Stay Organized in High School for more organization ideas.
2. Develop a Schedule
It can be difficult to keep track of everything when you have so much going on. To keep things from falling through the cracks, create a schedule for yourself. It should account for every hour of the day. Remember to factor in the time you’re in class or school since you won’t be using it to work on apps. You should also map out activities, homework, and app-related activities.
Read Handling Senior Year: Making a Schedule for more ideas.
3. Ace Your Essay
Essays are one of the most time-intensive aspects of your application. Start brainstorming early so it doesn’t eat up too much of your fall semester, which is busy enough.
Try to have at least a draft finished by the start of school so you can show teachers, friends, and others come fall. That way, once you have feedback, you can devote your time to honing it and working on other aspects of your application. You’ll also be able to take your time if you start in the summer, rather than rushing through it.
4. Request Recommendation Letters Early
Recommendation letters are a relatively easy task that’s not time-intensive for you since you’re not the one writing them. Make sure to speak with teachers early because other students will likely be asking them for recommendations, too. You don’t want to have to clamor at the end if someone says no.
Check out our guide to recommendation letters for more tips.
5. Meet With Your Guidance Counselor
Your guidance counselor is there to help you secure your transcript, write your recommendation, and work through other aspects of college process with you. Hopefully, you’ve developed a rapport with him or her, so the process runs smoothly.
Your guidance counselor can also help you if you’re stressed about balancing homework and other aspects of your life with college planning. Be sure to ask plenty of questions so they can better target their advice, such as resources for finalizing your college list, your odds of getting into a certain school, and so on.
6. Stay Engaged
The college process is time-consuming, but don’t let extracurriculars, hobbies, and time with friends and family fall by the wayside. Fitting everything in will require some time management, of course, but developing good habits now will also help you in the long run. Good habits not only include studying, but also paying attention to your health and wellness.
Be careful of overcommitting. Taking on too many new tasks now will only hurt and overwhelm you. Also, remember to factor in free time, because you need to relax.
For more tips, read Your Guide to Building a Strong High-School Four-Year Plan.
Balancing College Applications with the Rest of Senior Year
There’s no denying that senior fall is a busy time for all high school students. However, it doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Establishing good organization and time-management habits now will not only get you through the college application process but will also make your life easier in the long run.
For more advice on balancing senior year with college applications, read:
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