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How to Finish Senior Year of High School on a Strong Note

It's so easy to slack off at the end of senior year, but putting in the effort will pay off more in the long run. Here’s how you can finish up strong.

Senior year is a fun time that goes by fast, though the end of the year may seem like it’s taking forever! Staying ahead of everything you have to do is essential with so much going on. While it’s important to not slack off the last few months, you should also take a moment to appreciate how close you are to finishing high school. Although you’re almost done, here are some tips to help you finish senior year right.

Double-check your graduation requirements

At this point, you’ve nearly met all the requirements you need to graduate. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, classes, and other requirements accounted for. For example, New York State schools recommend students ask their counselors for volunteer options to pick up. Your school might require you to volunteer, fill out paperwork, or have a certain GPA. Ask your counselor for help if you’re unsure what the list of graduation conditions are.

Stay organized and on schedule

The temptation to put off homework is strong at the end of the school year, especially for seniors. But you’ll have an easier time and keep your GPA up if you stay organized. By keeping up with your last assignments, you’ll do better on your finals and look better to your future college. It might feel tough to stay on track with graduation so close, but it's easy if you stick to your routine. 

Toward the end of senior year, you’ll also have more independence. Control over your schedule is great, but it can be challenging to balance fun and responsibility. Plan study sessions into your schedule. Staying motivated may be tough, but strict studying will pay off. Taking care of yourself is also part of staying organized. Experts recommend teenagers get eight to 10 hours of sleep every night. Eating well and sleeping right will give you the energy to power through finals. You’ll have plenty of time to stay up as late as you want after graduation. 

Related: How to Get Organized and Manage Time in High School

Compare and choose a college

At this point, you should’ve heard back from most of the colleges you applied to, so check the mail and compare all the colleges that accepted you. Consider their locations, costs, programs, and much more. They’ll all give you unique experiences, so you should take your time when deciding. Once you’ve chosen one, congratulate yourself! Then it’s time to plan by budgeting for campus housing, meal plans, tuition, and other costs. Before you think about loans, ask your counselor about scholarship opportunities you may not have applied for yet. You’ll also have to enroll once you’ve chosen a college, and most schools require a deposit by May 1. Your college should have instructions online on how and when to submit it. Contact them if you can’t pay out-of-pocket so they can help you.

Think about alternatives

It’s okay if you’ve decided you want to take a gap year or get a job instead of going to college right away. Your school offers resources to prepare for the future regardless of your path. They might even provide career programs or contact businesses for you to research your options. You don’t have to figure your life out at 18, but having a loose plan is wise. If you did get accepted to a college you’d still like to attend, contact them about deferring for a semester or a year. After you figure out what you’ll do, look for opportunities to get ahead. You could apply for an internship or find a mentor to prepare yourself better. If you’re getting a job right out of high school, compare the pay and benefits of multiple businesses. It might give you a way to kick-start your long-term career.

Celebrate yourself

The end of the year will go by fast. You’ll have to budget, schedule, and study, but you can still have fun. Take part in school traditions and festivities! This time celebrates your achievements, so get involved. Set up a graduation party at the end of the year. Even if it’s just a small gathering, looking back on high school will be nice. Go with friends to your classmates’ graduation parties too. You’ll have a fun time making memories before you all head off in different directions.

Related: How to Have the Best Senior Prom

You can make some changes in class and at home to stay on top of your schedule, meet your school’s graduation requirements, and finish your senior year strong. Then you’re free to spend the rest of your time having fun and preparing for whatever comes next. The rest of the year will go more smoothly if you stay organized and plan ahead.

While you’re having fun, think ahead to everything you want to do before college in the fall with our article on How to Spend Your Last Summer Before College.

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About Carolina Jacobs

Carolina Jacobs is a Managing Editor at


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