Countdown to High School Graduation and Beyond
Written by: Lisa Phelps for Student Choice
You’ve all heard this saying before: Graduation is bittersweet. You’re happy that you’re finally graduating and about to start a new chapter in your life, yet you’re sad to be leaving your friends, favorite teachers, your family and even your dog (if you have one). So here’s a new way to characterize the time around your high school graduation:
There’s lots to do, and fortunately, some of it is fun stuff. But there are also a lot of important items on your to-do list. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to stay sane and on track to start college in August.
- Stay focused - Don’t coast through the last few weeks of high school. It’s important to finish strong so that you’ll carry that momentum over into your first semester of college. Don’t start forming hard-to-break bad habits now.
- Review your award letters – Make sure you understand all your financial aid options and have enough aid to attend school. If you’re short, start looking into private loans to make up the shortfall.
- Talk to your Guidance Counselor – Are you really going to graduate? Do you have all the credits you need? Are all your library books returned?
- Send out Graduation announcements/invitations – Give family members and friends plenty of time to make arrangements to be there for your big day, especially if they’re coming from out of town. Since you’re usually get a limited number of invitations, communicate this to everyone so that those who aren’t invited won’t have any hurt feelings.
- Pay your school deposit - Your college needs a deposit to hold your spot for the fall. Don’t forget to let the other schools that accepted you know that you won’t be attending so they can offer your spot to someone else.
- Study up on graduation attire – Not sure if the tassel goes on the left or right? Get all the information you need about what to wear right here. (http://www.jostens.com/grad/grad_cp_hs_grad_guide_ceremony.html)
- Start your summer job hunt - Earn as much money as you can over the summer to help with expenses during the school year.
- Walk in your graduation ceremony - This is a big deal. Don’t skip it because you think it’s lame. Go, be proud, and enjoy the moment. You’ll be glad you did.
- Party time! - Go to all your friends graduation parties and have fun. This may be the last time you see a lot of them.
- Host your own party - To save money, you may want to co-host with a couple good friends. Consider serving snacks instead of a full meal and having your party on a weeknight to save money.
- Write Thank-you notes – Ok this isn’t one of the fun things on the list, but you must write them! Make yourself write five notes a day until they’re done!
- Start shopping - You’ll need bedding, lamps, posters, storage units, etc… for your dorm room. Spread out the expense by looking for sales and spreading out your purchases over the summer.
July – August
- Write up a budget – Sit with your parents and go over all your finances, expected expenses, travel costs, etc. Figure out what you’ll have to spend each month so you’re not broke all the time and eating Ramen noodles every night.
- Contact your roommate - This first phone call might be a bit awkward, but it’s a good idea to talk about what you’re each bringing to school to make sure it will all fit in your room. Friending them on Facebook is also a good way to learn a lot about them.
- Attend orientation – Go to your college’s orientation and registration program. These are designed especially for freshmen so you and your parents will learn a lot and have the opportunity to get answers to all your questions.
- Spend time with friends – This may be the last time you see them for awhile, so have fun together. Go camping, to the beach or to an amusement park and take lots of pictures.
Congratulations! You made it. On to your next big journey.