As a recent high school graduate I feel as though it is only fair that I share advice I wish I had known at the beginning of my senior year.
1. Give Yourself Options
Do yourself a favor and apply to more schools than you think you need. While it may be a pain to you/your families wallet, it will ultimately save you some pain down the road when you're stuck with schools you don't want to attend. Apply to safety schools, maybe even three. If you're even somewhat unsure of what you want to do or where you want to go, you will be so thankful you applied to more schools. When decision time comes around, you'll be wanting to have options and not be stuck with the few colleges you did apply to. My best advice is to apply to those schools that waive their application fee and/or if they are on CommonApp. As time consuming as CommonApp is, once your information is in there, everything is a breeze after that.
2. Keep Track of Your Textbooks (and Everything for That Matter)
It may seem like misplacing something like a textbook or homework is no big deal at the time, but when it's your cap and gown or a grade on the line, you'll wish you had just been more organized. Senior year is not the time to start losing things, especially when you'll most likely be too lazy to even look for it. From personal experience, misplacing one quiz was the reason I was forced to take my second semester exams. While my friends were enjoying sleeping in, I got to come to the last week of school just by losing a piece of paper. Save yourself the trouble and just stay organized.
3. If You Take the Class, Take the Test
This goes for AP classes/tests. Don't waste your senior year in a difficult class and not take the test at the end of the year. Often times students do better than they thought they would, and earned college credits. If you could survive the class all year, I'm sure you could survive one test in May. One of my biggest regrets was not taking the AP Government exam when a large majority of students who took it got a four or a five. Worst case scenario: you spent $92, and best case scenario: you got out of a semester class for next year (which will no doubt cost more than $92). And most importantly, take your AP classes seriously, they could pay off at the end!
4. Your Guidance Counselor Isn't Always Right
Know what is best for you, and don't get sucked into taking gross classes during your senior year. You should be able to enjoy your last year in high school, and not be stuck in a boring science class just because your counselor suggested it. Know what types of classes you're good in (AP, advanced, standard) and what subjects you enjoy. Make sure you have completed all of the required classes for graduation, but after that you should take classes that you will actually pay attention in and enjoy.
5. Apply to Your Dream School
No matter what your parents say or your chances of getting in, you should apply to your dream school. Just to be able to say you tried will be a good enough reason to do it. Who knows, maybe you'll surprise yourself and get in! The worst that could happen would be that you get denied, and as long as you applied to other schools you'll be okay.
6. Be Excited for the Next Chapter
About halfway through your senior year you'll begin to start feeling sad about leaving all of your friends. But just remember that you'll soon be off to new and more exciting places. While it is okay to be emotional about leaving high school, just realize that there are far better things coming your way and you should be excited. Your friends will all eventually come home during college breaks and you'll be able to visit them then. Don't dwell on leaving high school, be excited for the next big step in your life.
7. Don't Get Involved in Twitter Fights
Fairly self explanatory, but just don't do it. They are so pointless and will never solve anything. Try to spend your time doing things that will benefit you in the long run, and trust me this isn't one of them.
8. Save Your Money
There is nothing worse than having to miss hanging out with your friends because you're out of money. Try your best to save some of your paycheck to use on fun things and don't just waste it on clothes (like I did.) You'll be glad to have some money when the time comes. Soon you'll learn that college is expensive, even without tuition involved, so you'll want that extra cash.
9. It's Okay to Kick Toxic People out of Your Life
Don't learn the hard way. If you believe that some of your friends aren't really your true friends, drop them. No one needs negative energy in their lives, especially during a stressful time like senior year. As painful as it might be to lose some people in your life, it is often for the better. It is important to be the bigger person and realize that negative people don't benefit anyone. It is ok to try to save the relationship, but you might find out that it is better for everyone involved to just let it go. Senior year is supposed to be fun, and you don't need anyone ruining that.
10. Have a Good Relationship with Teachers
Be respectful to your teachers. It is not that hard and it can really benefit you when recommendations are needed. Try to engage in conversations with your teachers and speak up in class because that is what they use to write letters. Even if you don't plan on using a specific teacher for a recommendation, it can still be beneficial to you when your grade is borderline.
11. Enjoy Your Town, Especially if You're Leaving
As much as I hated my hometown, it was during my senior year that I realized how nice it actually was. Don't hate too much on your hometown because soon you'll be missing it. That may be hard to believe now, but trust me, you'll wish you had appreciated it then.