After three hard years of high school, students finally get a break, can relax, and enjoy their last summer as high schoolers before they break out into the real world. What can students possibly have to worry about during this summer?"My summer is really busy, because I have to read seven books, do 11 study guides, track hurricanes, do AP environmental questions, and keep up with volleyball practice all while still having a normal teenage fun summer," said Heather Adamson. "But I won't regret it because it will ensure that I get into a good college." For students like Adamson, summer of senior can be quite contrary to the ideal image of what a fun summer should be, and it's not all fun and games. In fact, this may be one of the most stressful summers for many college-bound students. "This summer has been very hectic for me. AP summer work and SAT work have taken away lots of what used to be 'summer fun'," said Lizette Garcia. "I plan to retake my SATs and achieve my personal best, and above that I plan to finish my high school career strong. Although it might all seem overwhelming the feeling of accomplishment one achieves is great. It is also amazing to see that you are leaving a mark in your high school and community as you move on to college." Months from now, the summer nights spent in books and paperwork will seem miniscule, compared to those letters of acceptance that will (hopefully) come in the mail. But seniors, that day is not quite here yet, so get your head on straight and get ready, because 'college-app frenzy time' is just around the corner, and you definitely want to be prepared before you enter that warzone. Although tediously repeated, the advice of many nebulous voices on college websites, teachers, and mentors to shy away from 'senioritis' is ringing close to home for these rising seniors. By the fourth year of high school, students are exhausted and drained, but the race isn't over yet, and understanding this concept is half the battle. "Being the summer between junior and senior years when college is really the biggest thing on my mind doesn't make it easy or fun," said Esteban Garcia, a soon-to-be senior at Warren. "A lot of times we sacrifice other plans for a summer assignment or SAT studying. But ultimately I know that the sacrifices now will help me out on my path to college and beyond." But not everyone has the motivation of Garcia, and it is quite normal for the summer laziness to overcome students from starting the dreaded process of college applications. To help those struggling seniors, here are some tidbits of advice collected from college application workshops, advice from counselors, and even from victims of the tempting senioritis plague: First off, stay organized! This advice may be shrugged off time after time, but when the deadlines for a million and one things pile on after another, not only for college applications but for financial aid, scholarships, and everything else life seems to throw your way this year, getting organized is the best time-saver, not to mention life-saver. Secondly, start researching and compiling that list of 'colleges to be applied to' as soon as possible. Whether they are local, out of state, public, private, or community, establishing that list early on will allow you to move forward in the process. Once the list is set, you can continue to figure out all the requirements, application deadlines, supplements, campus visits, etc., and then refer back to last piece of advice and record and file any and all information. Third, whatever you do, do not procrastinate with those personal statements. Get started now! By the time school comes around, there will come a flurry of stressed out seniors trying to finish their essays and get them revised and edited by teachers, all at once at that, but wouldn't it be nice to already be ahead of the game? Lastly, don't forget to take a deep breath and relax. This does not mean throw all your college papers out the window and give up, but a break once in a while will help clear all the accumulated stress to help you refocus and reenergize.
********** Published: August 19, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 18