You made it… almost. It’s senior year and there’s a world of amazing experiences and opportunities out there just waiting for you! It’s exciting and a teeny bit intimidating.

But between here and there, you have to get through college applications, make some big decisions, and maintain that GPA. It can make for a stressful year, but this is the last hurdle!

1. Relax, you CAN do it!
Some schools,  like the Ivies, are more selective than others, but close to 500 four-year colleges accept more than 75% of applicants. More importantly, remember that a college’s prestige doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right fit for YOUR happiness and goals.

2. Senioritis could hurt you!
It’s the final stretch, but it’s important to stay focused to the end. That means going to class and maintaining your grades until graduation. Many colleges look at your second semester grades and activities – some will even change their mind about you if there’s a noticeable drop in grades or attendance (yes, they can do that!).

3. You are MORE than your test scores and GPA
Colleges look for well-rounded students – they care about who you are beyond your grades: your extracurricular activities and who you are outside of the classroom. Emphasize these qualities in your application essays, resume, and interviews.

4. Leadership is kinda a big deal
Colleges want motivated and engaged students. They want to invest in students who will actively participate in the classroom and beyond. Take initiative; get involved in activities you’re passionate about, and don’t forget to mention them in your applications!

5. Your applications aren’t YOU!
You’ll write pages and pages about yourself on your applications, but that still can’t give someone – not even a college admissions officer – the full picture. There are factors in the admissions process beyond your control and it’s natural to feel discouraged or lose confidence as a result. But understand that acceptance or rejection is not a complete reflection of you, or a reflection of how smart you are. It’s a reflection of a process that includes a variety of factors beyond your control.

6. You are not alone
This can be a stressful period and you may feel overwhelmed. Always know that there are family, friends, teachers, and guidance counselors you can talk to about your plans, your concerns, and ask for advice.  And check out these resources from the College Board as well:
• Applying to College FAQs
• How to Find a College that Fits You

7. It’s not the end of the world
As much as it might feel like it, your senior year in high school will not solely determine your life and career paths. We’re always developing and learning – our beliefs and goals change over time. It’s totally okay to not know what you want to do yet. Many professionals started out studying a completely different subject in high school and college. The most important things are: 1. Knowing that you are wonderfully unique. 2. Doing your best in the process and wherever it takes you!

8. Have some fun!
This is your final year in high school, who knows what amazing things lie in store for you! Cherish the moment! Put aside time to do fun things with friends, plan your awesome outfit for prom, take a million selfies with friends, and enjoy the ride!