How to prepare for senior year — College freshman advice

You did it! You got into a college! All that hard work for four years of high school, particularly senior year, was worth it, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew how to prepare for your senior year of college now, so that your final year could be two easy, relaxing semesters? Consider this your fairy godmother-self coming back to visit to give you-the-college-freshman advice on how to make your senior year of college a breeze.

Know the requirements

No one is suggesting you have to go into your first semester of freshman year of college with a major picked and a roadmap for the next four years. That being said, once you do select your major, your final year of higher education will be oh, so much easier, if you pay attention to your requirements—for your major and for graduation.

Jessica Lyons offered “20 Tips to Starting Your Senior Year in College Right” on the Education Insider news blog, September 29, 2011, and recommended that students “meet with an academic advisor to verify any classes you still need to take and that you’re able to get a space in any that may have limited openings.” The sooner you do this in your college career, the better. But you will definitely need to do this at the beginning of your senior year. Think of it as one final tune-up before you hit the open road of adulthood. After all, who wants to have to make that phone call to the parents explaining that you won’t be graduating on time because you got squeezed out of a required class?

Find your passion

College is the time to figure out what makes you happy, so use these four years to explore all the different things that interest you while you have the time and the freedom. Not only may you find a clue to your future, but you will learn more about yourself and make some friends along the way—you know, all that warm-fuzzy stuff that your parents are always reminiscing about from their own college days.

In an August 12, 2010, post on College Candy, “9 Things Every Senior Should Know Before Senior Year,” Charlsie Niemiec advised college students to “Open yourself up because you definitely won’t be the same person at the end of your senior year as you were at the beginning.” And no, you don’t have to tell your parents that they were right.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Still need a bit more convincing that four years of college will fly by, and if you aren’t careful you might miss something? Your senior-year-you will thank freshman-year-you for all the great advice on how to prepare if you keep in mind these 10 tips, offered by Jayne Seward on December 11, 2010, at Student Advisor in “The 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Freshman Year of College”:

  1. Work hard and focus in class, so you can play hard out of class.
  2. Everything comes in threes—especially tests.
  3. Make time for an internship to help with the future job search.
  4. Study abroad, if you can afford it.
  5. Explore what you want to do before committing to a major.
  6. Get to know your professors; you may need their recommendation or help in a class someday.
  7. Learn basic survival tips, part 1: how to do your own laundry.
  8. Learn basic survival tips, part 2: how to cook food that is good for you.
  9. Learn basic survival tips, part 3: how to manage your money and not leave college with massive credit card debt.
  10. Save those easy classes for senior year.

You have your whole college career ahead of you as a freshman, but it is never too soon to begin preparing for senior year. Your four years can be educational AND fun if you make the effort.

Thoughts for the incoming freshmen on how to plan ahead for their senior years? Share your hard won wisdom in the comments below.

2 replies
  1. Mary Finley says:

    I’m definitely showing this to my daughter, these are some great survival tips for someone going to college for the first time. She picked one of the lovely Catholic colleges in PA and couldn’t be happier. Also, I’m so relieved that she’ll finally be doing her own laundry!


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