Rising high school seniors, this post is for you.
We think it’s a good practice to seek advice from those who have gone before you. Even if someone is just a year older than you, they often have insight as to what they did right and what they would have changed if they did it all over again. Listening to this insight can help inform how you make decisions and spend your time.
To give you access to a few peers outside your own sphere, we asked a few graduates from the class of 2019 to share their advice for the high school senior class of 2020. They shared their take on the ACT and SAT, thoughts on friendships during your senior year, and a few things they would have done differently.
“Use every tool you can get your hands on”
Eli H, class of 2019
“I had an amazing senior year, but there are some things I would have done differently. For starters, I would have submitted my college applications/ FAFSA sooner. By submitting them when I did I got locked out of several very valuable scholarships. Another thing I should have done is study more for the ACT, and take the test more times than I did. They say that practice makes perfect, and I did not practice enough. Every point higher you score on the ACT could mean several thousand dollars in free money, so use every tool that you can get your hands on (within reason of course).
Every point higher you score on the ACT could mean several thousand dollars in free money, so use every tool that you can get your hands on (within reason of course).
As far as things I did do right my senior year, I would count extracurricular activities making new friends. From eighth grade to the beginning of my senior year I had nothing to do after school other than chess club once a week. About a month into my senior year I joined the cross country team, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. When spring of my senior year rolled around I decided to keep the ball rolling so I joined the track team. While I never got good at either track or cross country I had a lot of fun and made new friends along the way. Senior year is the last time you will see some of the people you just spent the last 13 years with, so make every second count.”
Eli is attending Middle Tennessee State University, class of 2023.
“Don’t procrastinate on the essays”
Madeline D., class of 2019
“My advice for Senior year is to get the SAT/ACT out of the way in August or September so that you can spend your fall focusing on college applications. If you have already taken the SAT and are okay with your score I wouldn’t try to retake to get a higher score unless you are taking it in August. Spend the time you would spend studying for that and work on your essays and other parts of your college applications.
If you have already taken the SAT and are okay with your score I wouldn’t try to retake to get a higher score unless you are taking it in August. Spend the time you would spend studying for that and work on your essays and other parts of your college applications.
In terms of applications, it sounds cliche but don’t procrastinate on the essays. I applied to 9 schools, got accepted to 8 and ended up going to the first school I got in to. Sometimes I wish I could go back and just not do the other 8 applications but I wouldn’t really do anything differently because the process taught me skills that will definitely be helpful for job applications.”
Madeline is attending Virginia Tech, class of 2023
“Take some time to breathe and appreciate the people around you”
Sophia L., class of 2019
“Senior year is genuinely one of the best years of high school. Between all the applications and stress there are so many fun opportunities to connect with old and new friends and bond over the adventures to come. So in between working hard on planning your future, take some time to breathe and appreciate the people around you while they are there. Enjoy it!”
Sophia is attending the University of Virginia, class of 2023
Good luck, class of 2020! We hope you have a wonderful senior year.