Tips for a Successful Senior Year at High School

Marathon runners often report that the last mile is the hardest. You can see the finish line’s bright arch in the distance. But rather than it being a beacon of long-awaited triumph, it poses fresh psychological challenges. It’s so close, yet so far. And your knees start to weaken in that final, gruelling stretch.

That’s a pretty apt analogy for a senior year in high school. Your entire academic career culminates in this one last push toward the finish. But the demands of schoolwork, post-secondary admissions, extracurricular obligations and a looming career choice present compounding difficulty.

Take a deep breath in –you can handle this. As you move into your final high school year, consider these tips for making it a successful last leg of the race.

Consider Online Courses for a Flexible Grade 12 Year

Online courses are fantastic for several reasons. They are engaging multimedia experiences that help you interact with your schoolwork. They foster critical soft skills like time management and digital communication. And you can finish them in the comfort of your room.

But the most compelling reason why high school seniors should enroll in grade 12 online courses is that they are flexible and self-paced. In an online course, you set the tempo. You can work evenings, mornings, weekends – whenever you want. This adaptable, customizable approach to your senior year allows you to take more time for other obligations: applications, career counselling, hobbies, etc.

Get a Head Start on Post-Secondary Applications

Whether or not you decide to take grade 12 courses online, you will need to carve out time for post-secondary applications (if that’s your trajectory). These applications take time and effort. And unfortunately, each application may require individual attention – as essay prompts, form fields, and requirements vary between institutions.

Before you begin your senior year, create an “application schedule.” Find out the due dates for college or university applications in your region, then work backwards to allocate time for writing these applications. Depending on how packed your schedule is, the process may take months!

See a Career Counsellor or Self-Reflect on Career Choices

No, you don’t need to know what you want to be immediately after high school. Few people do. But you should start thinking about a general trajectory.

You can accomplish this in a couple of ways. One, consider seeing a counsellor or career advisor. You can usually track down these services through your high school. Alternatively, you can start your journey with self-reflection and introspection. List your interests; list your talents; ask yourself what excites you; jot down a list of values and ambitions (i.e. do you want to be rich and busy, or moderately well off with spare time for hobbies), etc.

Practice Effective Time Management

How are you supposed to complete your compulsory courses, apply to universities, figure out a life trajectory and still have time for hobbies, sports and a social life – all in a single school year? The answer: effective time management.

Before you start your 12th year, devise a time management game plan. Break out your personal agenda and make a note of every assignment, test, application deadline, appointment, recurring extracurricular activity, etc. Orchestrate your time so that you can slot everything in neatly – with time to cross your t’s and dot your i’s.

And don’t forget to schedule time for rest and leisure. The last thing you want is to be that marathon runner who collapses in the last few yards. Pace yourself, stay on top of your deadlines, and you’ll have a successful senior year.

Jack Palmer

Jack Palmer holds a PhD in Education from the University of Oxford and has been influencing the field of educational research and policy for 10 years. He joined our editorial team in 2019, enriching readers with insights on educational trends and teaching methodologies. Jack’s prior experience includes a professorship at a prestigious university and a policy advisor role in education reform. He is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning and enjoys playing the piano in his free time.

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