January College Checklist for High School Seniors

It’s a new year and a new decade, and for high school seniors, that means it’s time to look ahead and plan for your college. January is a very busy time for seniors in high school because most college applications are due this month. However, do not lose sight of the fact that high school is still not over, and that’s for you, seniors. So, watch out for senioritis and make sure you do not succumb to it because it is essential that you finish your high school on a strong note.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should be doing in January, if you haven’t already begun the process:

    1. College Applications: As mentioned above, most college applications are due in January. Make sure that you send in your applications on time. A good way to do this is to set daily reminders for each application at least 2-3 weeks before the due date. You can also create a checklist for each application to make sure that you have all the necessary components ready, like your essay, teacher recommendations, etc.
    2. FAFSA: If you haven’t already done so, fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and send it in. The forms have been available from October, 2019, and it is always a good idea to send in your application as early as possible so you learn at the earliest if you are eligible for any federal aid. In addition, this can even give you information about any state-level aid programs that you qualify for. Note that this application is free, so you want to make sure you apply well in time so that you find out by May/June about any aid that you’d be getting. To find out more about other financial aid programs, read 5 Financial Aids To Help You With College Expenses.
    3. Early Decision: If you have applied for college via the early decision/early action route, you should be hearing from those colleges now. If you have been accepted to a college of your choice through this mode, you need to send in your acceptance. In the case of early decision acceptances, you also need to withdraw your applications to other colleges.
    4. Send in your Mid-Year Reports: While this is usually taken care of by your guidance counselors, it is your responsibility to fill in the reports and submit them to your counselor. It is also a good idea to follow-up with your counselor to check if they’ve received an acknowledgement of the receipt of your report from colleges. Both counselors and colleges deal with multiple students, and sometimes, submissions can be missed.
    5. Avoid Senioritis: It is very easy to get complacent about high school now that you’re in your final semester here, especially if you’ve applied for early decision/early action and have already received an acceptance. The natural tendency after stressing over college application deadlines, essays, running around for recommendations, and college visits for the past year is to want to chill and make the best of your last few months at high school. While you should focus on making the most of your high school and enjoying your days as a senior, DO NOT drop the ball on all the hard work you’ve put in for the past 3 and a half years. Make sure that you keep up your grades, not only because you will have to send in your second semester transcripts to your chosen colleges, but also because you owe it to yourself. Also, do not forget to keep up your involvement with all your extra-curricular activities like sports and clubs, especially if you hold a leadership position. This is a great time to mentor juniors and sophomores and hand over responsibilities to the class following you. 
    6. Get a part-time job: If you do not already have one, now’s a good time to get a part-time job or plan for one in the summer. Not only will this be a great way to make some money to pay for college, but if you put some thought into the kind of job you choose, it can be an awesome way to prepare for college. Selecting a job that closely relates to your chosen major (if you already know what you’ll be studying) can really act as a wonderful foundation for real-life skills. This can help you land a great internship opportunity later in your college as well.

What other items are on your checklist for this month? Please let us know in the comments below.

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