How to Prepare for High School Graduation

Make your senior year even better by planning ahead for graduation.

If you’ve been accepted to college, don’t take that as a sign that you can slack off in your classes.
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In order to enjoy your senior year to the fullest, it’s important to get some things checked off your college to-do list. Don’t worry – getting this practical stuff out of the way actually leaves you more time to have fun and relax during your last year of high school. Use this handy guide to prepare for your graduation and enjoy senior year to the fullest.

Don't Slack Off Academically

This may come as a surprise to you, but your senior year grades are actually very important. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), colleges can rescind their admissions offer if a student’s final semester grades show a significant change from the previous years’ records. Even if it doesn’t take back its offer, a college could still place you on academic probation, or even alter your financial aid package due to poor grades.

This is a memorable time that marks the very beginning of a big transition in your life.

If you’ve been accepted to college, don’t take that as a sign that you can slack off in your classes. Keep your grades up and make sure you stay on top of your assignments. Talk to your teachers if you’re struggling or need help with a particular subject. In addition to ensuring that your grades don’t drop, this will also help prepare you for the rigors of college courses. You don’t want your study skills to be rusty come fall.

Take Care of College Business

Even though it seems unfair, all that hard work you did to get into college doesn’t stop when an acceptance letter arrives. There are still plenty of college-related tasks to deal with well into the second semester of senior year. Mark these items off your checklist as soon as possible so that you can take a break from college stuff for the rest of senior year:

  • Send in your enrollment form to the college you decide to attend. You may also need to send in your deposit at this time.
  • Inform the other colleges to which you were accepted that you are declining admission.
  • Look over your financial aid award letters. If you have any questions about loans, scholarships or grants, contact the college’s financial aid office.
  • Make a decision about how much money you’re going to borrow. Remember that you don’t have to accept all the loan money being offered.
  • Inform your college about your financial aid plans, and ensure that all the necessary paperwork is complete.
  • Inform your high school counselor of your college selection. Mapping Your Future also recommends letting your counselor know about any scholarships you’ve been awarded.
  • Look for more scholarship opportunities if you wish.
  • Send in any necessary paperwork regarding orientation, housing, meal plans, work-study programs, etc.

Plan Your Summer

The last semester of high school is a busy one. In fact, some students get so caught up in the school activities and to-do lists of senior year that they’re left without anything to do when summer arrives. If you’re smart, you’ll use some of the following tips to plan ahead and make the most of your last summer before college:

  • Search for jobs or internships. CBS News recommends this to all students because it helps to give them a head start on college expenses.
  • Sign up for a summer orientation at your college. Look ahead at course descriptions and think about which classes you’d like to sign up for.
  • Make a list of the things you’ll need at college. It’s easier to slowly gather these things over the course of the summer than to scramble to get it done the week before you leave.

Have Fun!

Your senior year certainly shouldn’t be all work and no play. Make sure that, along with the important tasks listed above, you make time for having fun and enjoying your last year of high school. This is a memorable time that marks the very beginning of a big transition in your life. Try to attend school events, including prom, other dances, sporting events, awards ceremonies, etc. Even if you’re the type to see these as clichéd, you’ll be glad you made the effort to enjoy at least a few school activities during your senior year.

Outside of school, spend plenty of quality time with the friends and family who mean the most to you. Whether you’re moving away to school or going to a college in your hometown, your daily interactions will change significantly and you won’t see these people as often as you once did. Go on a fun spring break trip with friends. Make time to spend with your parents and siblings. You can even make a senior year bucket list – this list from The Prospect is packed with fun ideas like making a high school scrapbook, going on a scavenger hunt, and pulling a senior prank. And of course, don’t forget to plan a fun graduation party for your friends and family to attend.

Make time to spend with your parents and siblings. If you're moving away for college, you'll definitely start missing them!
Photo: Thinkstock

Your senior year should be a mix of fun and practicality. While it’s important to kick back and relax at times, just be sure you don’t let senioritis derail your college plans.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

College Planning in Senior Year: Is It Too Late?
Senior Year College Prep Schedule
Seniors: Don't Forget Your Post-Application Checklist
Seniors: Prepare for College Coursework Over Summer

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