A piece of senior advice…

What do you usually do during the summer? Go on a week-long family vacation. Go to summer camp. Start training for fall sports. But for the most part you lay around not doing anything. Instead, choose to do something productive this summer and start thinking about your future.

Juniors, this one is for you. It might be scary to start thinking about your future but the time is now. Seriously, do it, right now start thinking of a possible career.

Well, are you thinking yet?

Start looking at colleges as soon as summer starts. Think of possible majors that interest you and look for programs that intrigue you. Narrow down your choices and start the application process.

Further, early applicants for college have the better chances of getting scholarships. Think about it- if you send in your average application before someone sends in their spectacular application, you could possibly get the cash.

Some schools wavier certain aspects of applying, for those who apply early. For some, the heavy application fee is reduced or even non-existent. Besides, it’s so nice not to have to deal off seventy dollars for a “maybe I’ll get in”.

Other schools make the essay optional. That takes about a day off of the application time. Without the essay, you’ll have barely any stress. The rest is just personal questions and a transcript. But if your heart is really set on a school, it may be a good idea to essay it up. Perhaps your essay will beat out someone who skipped that portion.

Early applicants also hear back from their schools sooner than regular applications. There are fewer applications to look through so colleges decide much faster and reply in a month or two. Regular apps take three to four months to hear back. That’s three to four months of uncertainty and bated breath.

So skip the fee, skip the essay, and skip the stress by applying as soon as possible. You won’t be sorry.

Also, if you change your mind you’ll have plenty of time to reapply to schools. A friend of mine had all of her apps done in August, but then decided she didn’t want to go as far away as she had planned. She reapplied by January and still had plenty of time before decision time in May.

After you’re done with applying, then your parents will start to ask the hard questions. How to pay? There are so many scholarships out there, just type your unique qualities into Google, and add scholarship to the end of it and you’ll probably have 10 right there.

Also, be sure to visit the counseling center frequently; there are always tons of scholarships and updated bulletins to look through. Our school offers so many opportunities to find money. Make sure to fill out the Frederick County Community Foundation application, which automatically applies you for a bunch of local scholarships.

If you start applying early and get your college plan together, then by the end of your senior year can be stress-free. You’ll be able to enjoy prom and graduation and get excited for your future to come.