5 Steps for Seniors to Take Before Leaving High School

Get Started on the Right Path to College

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For many high school seniors, it’s all over except the part where you get to throw your caps in the air at graduation. Congratulations on achieving this major milestone in life, and good luck on whatever path you may take in the future. Before you leave, though, here are a few last-minute tasks you should complete before you leave high school:

  1. Say “Thank You”: Talk to the people who helped you get this far and let them know how much you appreciated their support. This might include teachers, counselors, relatives and definitely your parents. Make sure you have a copy of your final high school transcripts, and ask your mentors if you can use them as references for future job applications or college scholarships. Leave a great final impression.
  1. Say “No Thank You”: If you have made a final decision on a college and accepted their financial aid offer, get in touch with the schools you will not be attending. They may be holding a place in their freshman class for you, so you want to let them know it is okay to offer your spot to other students on the waitlist. They also need to finalize their financial aid budgets for next year, so they know if they have any additional funds left to offer those students.
  2. Have “The Money Talk” With Your Parents: No, this isn’t THE talk, but it is an important one. After you have thanked your parents for their help in getting you into college, you need to talk to them about the financial aspects of attending college. If you were not involved in the money decisions, you need to get a handle on what the final cost of attending your college will be. Ask them to help you set up a budget based on how much money you will have available to spend and your anticipated costs for attending school. If the budget is a little tight, you may need to find a job this summer or start looking for a job around campus that will be available in the fall.
  1. Start a Student Loan Worksheet: Don’t wait until you graduate to start thinking about your student loans. You should always be aware of just how much debt you are carrying. Put together a worksheet of all the federal and private student loans you and your parents have taken out to finance your education, and make sure you understand who will be expected to repay these loans. Keep track of interest rates and payment terms now, so you won’t be caught by surprise when the payment notices start coming in after graduation.
  1. List Scholarships to Apply for Next Year: Many scholarships want to see that you are capable of completing at least one year of college, so they want you to be enrolled in school before applying. Take a few minutes while you have a chance to search for more scholarships, especially in your field of study, and look at their requirements. Then list out the application deadlines and requirements now, so you won’t forget later on when you are all involved in college life.

This is your last summer before heading off to college, so be sure to enjoy it, too. There are so many exciting things that are waiting for you. You can make the most of everything if you do some planning now to take advantage of the opportunities that will be coming your way.