The Brown Girl’s Guide to College Part 4: The Last Half of Your Senior Year


Congratulations! You’ve defeated the Goliath known as the fall semester of senior year. At this point, you may feel that the rest of this year is pointless. To an extent, it is; however, don’t completely throw away the rest of your senior year.

There is so much to do, because now, you can actually enjoy yourself. It was at this point in the year that I stopped my hermitage from social life.  Here are few activities I suggest you do during the last half of your senior year:

1. Go to prom

Don’t miss it.  Even if you don’t like high school dances, just go to hang out with your friends. I wore a sari to my senior prom (my bio picture is from that night) and it was incredible.

Heck, I couldn’t move, because I’m terribly awkward and I was afraid that I might trip over my sari.  Even if you’re a bad dancer or are just unsure of what to do at social events, go anyways. When you’re in the company of friends, does it really matter if you aren’t the best dancer?

2. Have even more fun

By now, the worst part of the school year is over and you can finally just chill. You’re a second semester senior and it’s totally okay for you to take days off. It’s completely understandable. If you’ve been on top of your game for your entire high school career, then I’m pretty sure your teachers won’t even care at this point.

3. Make sure your GPA is still good

Don’t let your grades fall so much that your GPA plunges. It’s okay if it goes down a few points, but don’t lose whole number points. It’s okay to have fun but make sure you’re still doing well in your classes. Your final admission decision is contingent on your final high school GPA. You have to keep up your grades or else you will get rescinded.

[Read Related: The Brown Girl’s Guide to College Part 1: High School Never Ends]

4. Get all the financial aid stuff done

Send in all your documents and forms on time. Have a separate file folder for each college, and put copies of everything that they send to you in them. Money is a big part of what college you go to, so ensure that everything is organized and easy for you to refer back to if need be.

Check on your parents to see if they’re doing their part by completing the financial aid documents. Sometimes, even they can get frazzled with college paperwork, so be there to help them sort through it.

5. Prepare yourself for rejection.

Your admission decisions should be rolling in around now, and so should your scholarship verdicts. It’s okay if you didn’t get into a place that you had longed to attend. It’s heartbreaking, I know. Don’t beat yourself up too much, please. If you over analyze your scores, GPA, extracurriculars and essays, then you are going to become frustrated and possibly depressed.

Just know that your life isn’t over. You have a backup plan and you’re okay with it. Your parents might even be extremely disappointed in you and they might even be giving you crap about it. That’s okay too. They care about you and only want you to succeed. But keep the negative thoughts out of your head. I promise that over time you will heal from this blow.

[Read Related: The Brown Girl’s Guide to College Part 2: Summertime Sadness]

6. Pick your college.

After long, thoughtful deliberation and soul-searching, you’ve decided. That is amazing and congratulations that you’ve come so far! Everyone is proud of you, whether you know it or not. You’ve worked so hard and you’re setting yourself up for success. Choose wisely, though.

Go to a place where you feel welcomed, where you can be yourself. Which school gives you the most scholarship money, so you won’t have to take out many loans? Where do your parents want you to go? Is it a good place for you? You’ll want to consider all these things when you make your final decision.

I knew Georgia Tech was the place for me when I visited the summer before my senior year. While I was on campus, I really felt like I belonged there. It was such a welcoming, open and warm environment; I knew that I wanted to be there.

Remember: where you pick to go now isn’t permanent, you can always transfer into another college. It’s no big deal; however, there are a lot of caveats to that. You might look into transferring if you feel that you didn’t get into a place you’d really like. In life, nothing is ever set in stone, and neither is your college education. It’s what you make it.

7. Make a decision by May 1

Don’t send in your deposit to two colleges before the May 1 deadline, unless you have some kind of extenuating circumstance. Other than that, stay with the college that you picked. An important exception to this is if you’re on a waitlist.

8. Keep an eye on waitlists

Make sure you’re telling your waitlist schools that you’re still interested in them. They want to see continued interest and it can help bump up your place on the waiting list.

If there’s a school that you desperately want to get off the waitlist for, then make sure you keep up your grades and make them notice why you’re the perfect fit for their school. You don’t want anything tarnishing your records. And, before going all out for a waitlist school, make sure it’s worth it.

Do you see yourself going there? Do you feel like you could live there, even though it might have a good reputation? Is their reputation good enough for you to completely say no to another college even after you paid your deposit to the other guys? Be sure to weigh the pros and cons in this situation carefully.

9. Get housing, financial aid, tuition, and other miscellaneous fees in order.

You’ll want to have all this down at least a month before your school starts. Most colleges have deadlines to certain fees during your senior year, so make sure you’re keeping up with them. You don’t want to pay extra for a late fee.

[Read Related: The Brown Girl’s Guide to College Part 3: Going in For the Kill]

10. Party at your graduation and have fun.

It’s been all said and done. Have fun. Enjoy your life. Don’t do anything over the summer, except relax and hang out. Create exciting memories. Netflix all day, every day. Wear a bathing suit underneath all your clothes instead of actual bras and panties, so you can be pool-ready wherever, whenever. Just have fun. You deserve it. You worked your butt off all these years; take some time for yourself. College will not be easier than high school, so make sure you get a good, long break in.

There you have it, folks. I really hope that helps. Comment below to tell us your thoughts and offer your own college advice.

I know this entire series is a bit of a long read, but it has everything you need to succeed. So good luck and happy college app-ing!

By Marina Ali

Marina Ali is a medical student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is the poetry editor for Brown Girl … Read more ›