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Welcome back, Class of 2020! Your senior year has begun and there’s a solid chance you are feeling pretty good right about now. With high school nearly over and graduation just months away, you should feel proud about the work you’ve completed and the incredible journey you’ve been on these past few years.

But wait: don’t you still have to finish the school year? Yup, it’s true: you are still committed to ten more months of secondary education before you can don that cap and gown. And despite what many students may think, this final year of school is just as important and requires just as much focus as past years, so don’t fully check out yet. In addition to your senior grades absolutely affecting your overall GPA, your actions this year can make or break the steps you plan to take post-graduation. Here are three ways you can start your senior year off right:

  1. Manage your time wisely. There is nothing more challenging for a senior than trying to stuff everything that needs to be done into one day. Be it sports or band practice, clubs or school groups, volunteering or an after-school job, your life is hectic. And what’s more, if you are heading to university after graduation, it will likely only get busier. Whether or not you are planning to play sports in college, check out this advice from a Division I athlete, who emphasizes the importance of time management skills and offers a few key suggestions on how to prioritize schoolwork despite a very busy schedule.
  2. Commit to academic integrity. Doing your best and most honest work is extremely important this year. And because you’ll have a lot on your plate, there are undoubtedly going to be moments where you feel inclined to cut a corner to save some time. Our advice? Don’t do it. You’ve worked way too hard to establish a stellar reputation to have it tarnished by one small, silly mistake. Before any big projects are due, give yourself enough time to double-check your citations and references to ensure they are attributed properly. Take advantage of the chance to edit and revise when teachers who use Feedback Studio allow resubmissions and offer feedback before the due date. Furthermore, when writing your college essay, take the time to write thoughtful, original words, as many admissions offices are cracking down on plagiarism in applications.
  3. Pay it forward. Remember when you were an anxious freshman? Wasn’t there an older student that took you under their wing and helped you in some thoughtful way? As a senior, you now have the important honor of being a role model for the younger students. They look up to you in ways you’ll never realize and will often strive to emulate you. Model kindness, respect, and understanding as often as possible and there’s a good chance that a freshman is watching how you handle yourself in any given moment. Additionally, over the course of these final months, find a way to ease the mind of a younger student or support them, whether it’s offering them a ride to class or helping to tutor one in your favorite subject area. These may seem like little moments to you, but to younger students, your actions and words are unbelievably powerful and may inspire them to strive for greatness as they write the chapters of their own high school journey.

Good luck and all the best as you embark on your final year of secondary education! And while we won’t be able to attend your graduation, know that we’re celebrating from afar your hard work, dedication, and the amazing energy you’ve put into these past four years.