To The Class of 2023: What They Don’t Tell You About Senior Year


LaNaiah Frieson, Contributor

As the Class of 2022 approaches their final days at Calvert High, the position of being the oldest and most knowledgeable students on campus has already began to transition to the junior class. For many juniors, the prospect of becoming seniors is exciting, desirable, and long overdue.

There is so much to look forward to in terms of potentially not having a full schedule, mapping out future careers, making memories at senior-only events, planning for college, and graduating. However, the final year of high school is more than the sentimental moments posted on social media.

For many students, senior year can also be stressful and difficult to navigate without guidance. This article will highlight 10 pieces of advice for rising seniors who are looking to make the most of their last year of high school.

1. College application season can be one of the most stressful periods of the year, so start early.

In the beginning of senior year, students are often caught off guard with how quickly the college application season approaches its end. For many colleges, applications can be due as early as November 1 for early action applicants and a few colleges have even earlier deadlines.

Often, balancing both college applications and school work can be nerve-wracking and stressful. During this time, its important to plan ahead to stay ahead of the deadlines. As early as the summer, begin drafting personal essays, ask teachers and mentors for letters of recommendation, talk to your counselor about the process, and research colleges and their requirements for the application. If you aren’t blindsided by its demands.

2. Apply for local scholarships.

During senior year, it can be easy to get caught up in your work and put off applying for scholarships. Some students only apply for national or state level scholarships that offer tens of thousands of dollars in aid but are more competitive. Because of this, they miss out on scholarships with lower award amounts. Since there is no limit on how many scholarships you can apply for or win, winning these smaller scholarships can add up to equal one large scholarship award to pay for your education.

3. Participate in school events.

Seniors who often opt out of participating in school events end up missing fun moments to look back on with their friends and family. If you feel comfortable doing so, go all out during spirit week, dance the night away with your friends at homecoming and prom, go to sports games, participate in senior week, and have a blast during senior-only events.

4. Rejection from a school or organization does not define you.

During the college admissions process, many students will be denied admission to at least one of the colleges they applied to, especially those who apply to highly selective colleges. However, this does not mean that you are any less qualified for college or say anything about your character and work ethic. Rejections come for a variety of reasons. When it happens, it’s best to look at the decision as a chance for redirection rather than a reflection of yourself.

5. Get out of your comfort zone!

Too often, students stick to the people, clubs, and routines that they are used too without challenging themselves to expand their knowledge-base. During your senior year, it is important that you engage in introspective conversations, interact with people you have never talked to, and join organizations that you have always wanted to join to make the most out of your senior year.

Take that photography class that you have been interested in since freshman year. Learn a new language. Join choir and sing with your friends for one last time during an epic concert. High school is the time to explore yourself and your interests. By trying something new, you might discover something you truly enjoy taking part in before you graduate. Senior year may be the end of high school, but if you challenge yourself, it can be a chance for new beginnings.

6. You don’t have to join every single extracurricular to have fun.

Many rising seniors believe that the key to making the most of their senior year is through joining a lot of clubs and committing themselves to an extensive amount of leadership positions. They often end up experiencing burnout from juggling both the clubs, school work, and their personal lives. Inevitably, many drop these commitments due to the stress.

While it is important to try something new, it is also a good idea to not overcommit yourself. Instead, focus on 2 or 3 clubs that you are genuinely interested in and can see yourself realistically balancing with the rest of your responsibilities. Senior year should be fun, but it’s also a good time to practice balancing your social life and academics before graduation. This way, you will be able to make more memories by spending more time focusing on things that make you happy while also stabilizing everything else around you.

7. Senioritis is real. Stay on top of your work.

Procrastination will never be your friend, no matter how tempting it might seem. As the year winds down, many seniors who give in to senioritis often end up rushing to get missing assignments turned in days before the deadline. The most common time for seniors to experience senioritis is after they have committed to a college or a future pathway.

Its important to stay on top of your work because not only does it make you eligible to graduate, but it also means that you will protect yourself from the possibility of getting your offer rescinded when colleges receiving your final transcript.

8. Friendships might not stay the same—that’s okay.

In high school, people are bound to grow and change. Friendships can grow stronger, but sometimes, they grow apart. Senior year can be a tough year in terms of maintaining friendships: some students will be working, some are in relationships, and some are ready to branch off in their college search.

While most relationships would not drastically change, lots of people experience the loss of a friend due to differences in interests, values, and morals. Since high school is the time where most people first learn to express themselves and their interests, this is completely normal.

Saying goodbye to the people you have met along the way is almost inevitable after graduation, and as you grow as an individual, saying goodbye to the people who have shaped you into the person you are will always be bittersweet. During your senior year, do not spend too much time beating yourself up over friendships that fell through. Instead, live in the moment with the people around you.

9. Prioritize your mental health at all times.

During senior year, work tends to pile up, balancing a social life and planning for your future gets tricky. It’s important to take breaks from your work, get outside, and find time for recreational activities such as working out, coloring, and reading. Prioritizing your mental health during this time is necessary to keep yourself happy and healthy during such a time-consuming school year.

10. It goes by faster than you think.

Students often think that they will have enough time to hold off on activities that will allow them to enjoy being a senior before graduation. Before they know it, May rolls around and they are left to reminisce on the memories they made over their four years of high school.  No matter what your post high school plans are, senior year is a perfect time to focus on spending quality time with those you love before you transition to another stage of your life.