Getting Ready for College | An AHP Guide for High School Seniors
A significant part of your senior year involves getting ready for college. From the summer before your senior year of high school, to the summer before your freshman year of college, there are plenty of things for you to do to make sure you are prepared! If you are wondering what is in store, this helpful guide will break down how to make sure you are on track for continuing your education.
The Summer Before Senior Year
When you are about to start your senior year of high school, you’ll want to make sure you have a list of colleges that you are interested in. This helps you get to know what your favorite colleges will be looking for on your application, including extracurriculars and test scores.
Picking a college may be overwhelming, so start with thinking about what is most important to you. Do you need a college with a specific sports team? Or maybe you have always wanted to try something new, like horseback riding, or swimming. Consider your favorite school subjects, and what area of study you may want to pursue.
Once you have determined what kind of college experience you want, you can then put together your list of potential colleges by researching options online. Narrow down possibilities by how well they meet your criteria.
Schedule College Visits
You’ll want to visit colleges when classes are in session. This will give you the best idea of what to expect when you are enrolled as a student. Reach out to the admissions department for your favorite schools and schedule a time to come and see the campus. While you can do plenty of research online, nothing compares to visiting the college in person!
After you have visited your favorite campuses, it’s time to start the application process. You should be thinking about what topics you want to cover in your personal essays, in addition to preparing for standardized tests. This can be a stressful time, especially since you are balancing your high school coursework, extracurriculars, and social life. Take a breath and remind yourself that you are a boss babe, and you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!
Talk to Your Parents
Throughout your senior year, make sure you have open communication with your parents. They are an important part of the process of visiting and applying to colleges. You’ll need to discuss budgeting for tuition, your housing situation, and other important topics. If your parents are about to become empty nesters, they may feel especially emotional about you leaving the house! Be sure to check in with them regularly and keep them up to date on your college applications.
The Summer After Senior Year
You did it! You’ve graduated from high school and are ready to start college. While you have spent your senior year working hard and preparing for college, there are still a few things you should do the summer before you start your freshman year at a university.
Remember how important campus visits were when you were deciding to apply? They are important here too. If you visited multiple college visits during your senior year, you may want to revisit the college you have decided to attend. This gives you a chance to get to know the campus and visualize yourself as a student there. It will feel even more real!
This summer is a chance to prepare for new independence and a heavier course load. You’ll want to practice skills like doing laundry, cooking, and budgeting. Work with your parents to learn new things and practice chores that will become your main responsibility. And even though you deserve a break after a packed senior year, make sure to prepare for your college classes by reading throughout the summer and learning new things.
This is also a great time to get rid of clothing, furniture, and other items that aren’t going with you to school. You can host a yard sale or sell items online. Decluttering your space will make it easier to pack at the end of summer. It’s also a great excuse to go shopping for things you will actually want to take with you to school.
Start Your Adventure
Believe me when I say your senior year and the summer after will fly by! Before you know it, it will be time to start your new adventure. Reach out to your new roommate and introduce yourself before you head to school. You can coordinate bringing certain items for your room and get to know each other before sharing a space.
Then it’s time to pack your bags and head to college! Remember that everyone starting their freshman year of college is in the same boat as you. Put yourself out there and make new friends, but keep up with your high school friends, too. And if you’re just starting your senior year, make sure to reach out and schedule your senior portrait sessions with me.
Advice from a College Student
I love hearing from my AHP Model Team members after they start college. Class of 2019 graduate, Brooke, shared the following advice for incoming freshman:
Reserve your bed for sleeping, not school work. If you have a desk in your room, that’s ideal. That way your body and brain know that when you’re at your desk, it’s time to work. When you’re in bed, it’s time to relax and sleep.
Find a way to stay active and avoid the freshman 15. 😉
Before getting ready for college, make sure you have senior portraits scheduled to remember this exciting time in your life. It’s easy to reach out on my website, but you can also email me at [email protected], or call/text me at 530-412-0730.