A Month-by-Month Guide for Senior High School Students

Posted by Becca Samelson on 9/9/16 2:51 PM

Senior High School Students Advice-1

When you're down in the trenches of your high school senior year, you often lose sight of the big picture in college prep.  You can easily miss college application deadlines or not even know about certain scholarship opportunities in time. That's why we have come up with a month-by-month guide to help you cover all the major bases to get you ready for college stress-free! Read it all now or bookmark it to check at the beginning of each month!


The leaves are changing colors and senior year is beginning to feel a bit more real! Here’s what you will want to keep in mind this month:

1. Mark your calendar for upcoming college events
Whether it’s due dates for applications and scholarships or an open house event, make sure you have all your dates planned out for the year. Mark the dates and times in your calendar so you can easily plan your day around it.
2. Plan college visits
Even if you have already visited a few schools, setting foot on college campuses during your senior year will help you determine whether or not the community, school facilities, and student life are the right fit for you.
3. Register for the ACT/SAT
Sign up for the tests so you have adequate time to study and prepare beforehand.
4. Start gathering application information
Between collecting letters of recommendation and prepping your admissions essays, preparing your college applications early will save you a lot of stress later on. There's no such thing as being too prepared, especially during your senior year of high school!
5. Research scholarships
Financial aid is offered by colleges, the government, and other private foundations. Find out what scholarships you can apply for early so you can spend time applying for a wide variety of them!


Go get yourself a pumpkin spiced latte, because it’s time to get some work done!

1. Take the SAT or ACT
For possibly the last time, take one or both of these tests to get your best score sent to your top colleges.
2. Visit your top school choices
Not only will you be able to make a better decision after visiting schools again, but you also might be able to hand in your application in person! (PHC's Fall Open House takes place on Oct. 14!)
3. Finish your applications
You might want to turn in your application for early admission. Many schools will waive the application fee if you do so!
4. Don’t forget to have fun!
Have fun with friends and take breaks during this busy time. Taking time to relax will help you be more productive later on.



Be thankful that you’ve almost made it through half of senior year!

1. Be sure to apply for early admission
Most colleges' early admissions happen in early November. (PHC's early admission date is November 2).
2. Make sure you have all the tests your schools require
Contact your admissions counselor and confirm they received your test scores.
3. Go to college planning events or college fairs
It’s helpful to attend workshops that give information about what types of colleges might be good for you or guide you in choosing a major.
4. Have your letters of recommendation ready to go
Ask your favorite teachers for references so you can turn in the letters for your college and/or scholarship applications.
5. Enjoy Thanksgiving!
Do your best so you don't stress, and take time to kick back with family and friends for the holidays. 


Christmas trees are everywhere, wreathes are hanging on the doors, and you’re halfway done with senior year.

1. You might hear back from early admissions
If you were accepted to your top choices, congratulations! If you were wait-listed or rejected, just keep working hard and apply to other colleges. The place for you is out there!
2. Don’t forget about GPA
You’ll still want to maintain your grades, especially for scholarship reasons. Schools require a transcript at the end of the school year.
3. Enjoy the holiday!
You deserve some time off. Sing carols and eat cookies with your family during this Christmas season!

Patrick Henry College Founders Hall


Happy New Year, it's the last semester of high school! You’ve almost made it!

1. Start filling out tax forms
Taxes can be a nuisance. You’re going to be incredibly busy later during the semester, so work on these now.
2. Make sure any scholarship applications are turned in on time
Check colleges' websites to make sure you don't miss their deadlines. (At PHC, February 1 is the deadline for forensics, music, and journalism scholarships as well as general admission.)
3. If you haven’t visited a college yet, it's not too late
Your college decision will be easier if you’ve gotten a feel for the campuses.
4. The waiting game begins
A lot of the spring semester is waiting to hear back about admission and scholarships. Be patient and keep your studies up!


Snow is falling, but hopefully your excitement isn’t!

1. Don’t forget about your extracurriculars and grades
We can’t stress this enough – don’t slack off, no matter how tempted you might be.
2. Make sure you’re on track to graduate
Talk to your school counselor to make sure you have all the credits you need to graduate. Don’t forget to rent your cap and gown!
3. Find out if you need or want to take AP, CLEP, or SAT Subject Tests
Some of these tests can qualify as college credit at many schools. See which ones work for you.
4. Rank your top college choices
Whether by tuition costs, academic programs, or location, start deciding which college is your top choice.
5. Make sure you haven’t missed scholarship and housing deadlines
You wouldn’t want to miss a good scholarship opportunity because you forgot the date.
6. Write thank-you notes to anyone who wrote you a letter of recommendation
Your teacher, pastor, or family friend that wrote that letter helped contribute to your acceptance. Even if you weren’t accepted, you should still show your gratitude for the time they spent recommending you. 


The snow is beginning to melt and hints of spring appear!

1. CSS PROFILE and tax forms
Don’t fall behind on these. Some colleges use the CSS Profile through College Board to determine a student’s need-based aid package. We recommend that the prior year’s taxes be completed before submission, but you can still start working on the form!
2. You should be hearing from colleges soon
While waiting for that email or letter to appear, you might be worried. Just know that the right college is out there and you’ll get accepted before you know it!
3. Prepare to visit again
Many colleges offer admitted students events. (PHC Admitted Students Day is in April – see if you can make it!)
4. Create your summer plans
Whether working a summer job or traveling with friends, start preparing your summer with pleasure reading and vacations.

Patrick Henry College Founders Hall


Hopefully you’re dancing in the rain during those April showers, because the end of senior year is almost here!

1. Start comparing scholarships
How much scholarship money you get from a school might be helpful in choosing which college or university you'll attend.
2. Make deposits and finalize your school decisions
Most due dates for a final decision is in April or early May. Do you know where you want to go yet? Decide soon!
3. Remember: May 1st is National Candidate’s Reply Date
Make sure you’re prepared!


This is it! The last month of high school. Are you ready to graduate?

1. Create college to-do lists
Whether dorm room shopping or finding a roommate, start figuring out what you need to do before you head off to college.
2. Keep finalizing summer plans
Don’t be so caught up in your excitement for college that you forget to have a good summer.
3. Have fun doing normal senior activities
Go to graduation parties, have a blast at prom, and make those final memories with your friends.
4. Find connections at your future school
Whether finding a roommate or making some friends in your upcoming class, try to get to know some students at your university.
5. Get all your health forms together
While shots are annoying, make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations.
6. Toss that cap and have a great summer
Congratulations! You’ve made it! You graduated high school. Have a great summer and get ready for the next best chapter of your life!

Patrick Henry College graduation

This is an exciting time in your life! We hope these tips make everything go smoothly. 

Need some help along the way? Connect with a PHC Admissions Counselor by clicking the button below!

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