May College Checklist for High School Seniors

Student Jumping

This post first appeared on the American Honors blog. American Honors is a selective honors program offered at community colleges across the country. They help students find, prepare for, and transfer to their best fit schools to finish their 4-year degrees.

It’s May, and for many of you graduation is just around the corner. Congratulations, you are almost finished with your high school career! Here are four things you can do this month to be as ready as possible for college.

1) Consider ALL Your Options

Decision day came and went earlier this month, so for many seniors, that’s one thing that’s out of the way (congrats!). But for others, those considering gap years, or those who didn’t get into the schools they had their hearts set on, there are lots of options to consider right now.

Community college is a great option if you’re ready to start college, but missed important application deadlines or didn’t get into the school(s) of your choice. If you haven’t considered community college seriously until now, this is the time to think about it. The tuition is affordable, the credits can transfer, and you might be surprised at how much of a community you’ll actually find.

2) Commit

It’s been a long, maybe even stressful, college admissions process, but the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. It’s time to commit to your college choice!

Take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back, all the hard work you put in has finally paid off, and now, you get to choose where to spend the next four years of your life.

Hopefully the past few weeks of campus visits, talking to current students, and assessing finances have enabled you to make a great choice.

Regardless of where you are headed, get ready for a new and very exciting chapter of your life.

3) Make a Budget

By now you’ve most likely discussed tuition with your family. Now that you’ve chosen your college, it’s a great idea to discuss actual cost of attendance with your family using real numbers.

Your conversation should cover everything you’ll need to pay for while you’re at college, and how you’ll pay for them.

Things to keep on your list:

  • Room and Board
  • Meal Plans
  • Textbooks, computers, academic supplies
  • Dorm supplies
  • Living expenses

Talk about how much your family can contribute and how much you’ll be expected to put in for yourself. Will you need a part-time job or work study? Planning ahead now with your family will leave one less thing for you to worry about when classes begin.

Luckily for you, many schools have cost-of-attendance estimators that include the items above in their acceptance and admissions packets. Taking a look at those will give you a head start on planning a realistic cost of attendance budget for your school.

4) Plan Your Summer

This is your last summer of high school, make the most of it! Not having the pressure of school really opens the possibility of things you can do before college begins. Create a summer schedule that allows you to pursue your interests and passions.

Consider things like part-time jobs, community service, internships, or travel and vacation. Whatever you decide, have fun with it. You’ve earned yourself a great summer!

Need some help with a college application? That’s what we’re here for!

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