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Ten Tips to Make the Most of Senior Year

Senior year can be so crazy busy that it’s easy to forget these are times to remember.

College essays and applications. Campus visits. SATs. Scholarships. Financial aid forms. No doubt: Preparing for college is a whirlwind.

It happens so quickly that sometimes you can lose perspective: These are fun times. Honestly. We’re not going to be that annoying uncle and assure you these are the best years of your life. Maybe they will be. Maybe not. But one thing’s for sure: You’ll remember them all your life, whether they’re lame or great.

So make ‘em great. Here are 10 tips to make the most of senior year and get ready for college.

Go to prom
Even if you don’t want to. Even if it violates every principle in every fiber of your body. What do you have to lose? If it’s lame, it’s probably not the first lame night of your life. If it’s wonderful, you may be surprised. One thing: You probably won’t regret it. Unless your name is Carrie and you can start fires with your thoughts. Then skip it for sure.

Expand your comfort zone
There’s a lot going on at your school. The debate team? Yeah, it exists. Choir? They sing songs! Attend an event or two that you haven’t so far in high school. Break your routine. Who knows? You may make some new pals or like the new experience.

Take pictures
You probably have tons of photos of your friends. Do you have photos of them together? Ones without one of them picking their nose? Take a video of yourself walking to class. Take one of the cafeteria and your locker. Put them in Dropbox. It sounds crazy, but you’ll want to look at them again one day.

Learn some basic skills
If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with exotic products such as “laundry detergent,” “dryer sheets” and “microwave ovens.” Washing and folding laundry and heating food without starting a fire will come in handy at college.

Record your friends
Sure, it’s a little goofy. But use your iPhone to record your friends’ voices. Have them tell you a story. Ask where they see themselves in 10 years. Make them describe their lunch. You won’t regret it.

Establish a routine
Until now, life has been planned for you: Wake up. Eat. Get dressed. Go on bus. School. Practice. Home. Eat. Homework. TV. Sleep.

One of the awesome things about college is there is more free time. You have 3-4 classes per day. If you’re lucky, they don’t start until 10. That’s a lot of time to use as you wish, but it can create bad habits. Best now to get into the habits such as working out, regular study time and the like.

Say your peace but hold your tongue
Thank your favorite teacher. Tell them what they meant to you. Go beyond the obvious: What about that school secretary that let you slide when you were tardy? Or the janitor who helped open your locker as a freshman? Thank them too. But resist the temptation of telling teachers you don’t like what you really thought of their class. Any satisfaction from doing so is fleeting.

Write your future self a letter
Take a tip from Matthew McConaughey. Be a hero to your future self. Write yourself a letter. Mail it to your future self through websites such as and Your 10 years-in-the-future self would love to hear from you.

Make memories with your pals
Go on a senior trip. Visit a museum with them. Pull an all-nighter. Sleep in a car. Write a senior year bucket list of 10 items. Accomplish five of them.

Chart your own path
Be yourself. Do what you want. Be mindful of others but don’t be consumed about what they think. It’s an attitude that’s cherished at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.