Senior Year Survival Guide: Tips for a Successful Final Year

If you are a student currently in high school, make sure to plan your experience around 12th grade. Here’s Tutor Doctor’s Senior Year Survival Guide: Tips for a Successful Final Year!

Start planning in freshman year

The best way to ensure a memorable (and stress-free!) and senior year is to start planning well in advance – ideally, starting in freshman year. Let’s talk about three of the most common things we hear from students when picturing their senior year:

  • Getting to leave school early. Without a doubt, this “perk” has to be the #1 most talked about “senior goal” for high school students. In virtually every case, the ability to have a “half day” comes from hard work and determination – after all, students are typically only permitted this type of schedule if they have already satisfied their credit requirement for graduation. This is why many academically inclined students will actually choose to take summer school classes – by getting physical education, health, life skills, and other elective courses out of the way early on, these students effectively set themselves up for a “leave at lunch time” schedule during their senior year!
  • Commuting to school. Senior year is typically when students are first allowed the opportunity to drive themselves to school, and many high schools have “senior parking lots” specifically for this purpose. Understandably for parents, allowing your child to use a family vehicle comes with a lot of responsibility. Driving can be dangerous, which leads to our main point – if your student plans on commuting to school by senior year, they need to plan for this well in advance. In many states, students will be required to complete a number of practice hours with a driving instructor, take a written test to obtain a permit, wait 6-12 months, and only then take the actual driving test to obtain a (provisional) license. All of this takes time, which is why many students begin this process at age 15. So, if you want to experience the freedom of driving yourself to school in senior year – don’t wait until senior year to make it happen!
  • Working a part-time job. For most seniors, the idea of earning extra spending money is a pretty appealing offer. However, like the previous two perks, this also requires planning in advance. Being able to have a partial school schedule can open up many more opportunities for employment, and having your own method of transportation may be a necessity (depending on where you live). Keep in mind that minors often require a work permit from their school in order to seek part-time employment, which also means you’ll need to be in good academic standing!

Academic responsibilities

But what about all the academic responsibilities? What about SATs, AP classes, and college applications? The honest truth is that, like the items discussed above, all of these are best approached with advance preparation. Students should ideally be practicing for the SAT exams by 9th grade. AP classes are often started in freshman or sophomore year, so students who are attempting them in 12th grade should already be aware of the challenging course load.

As for college applications, senior year is typically when students begin applying. We highly recommend researching universities ahead of time as well as creating a high school portfolio in advance. Here are a few helpful links to get started:

Senior year should be a fun and memorable time, so make sure not to overexert yourself! Make sure to check out Tutor Doctor’s tips for avoiding academic burnout.