Ask a Senior: Advice for preparing for senior year

Julia Cheunkarndee and Katie Zhang

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Written by Julia Cheunkarndee and Katie Zhang

1. How do you feel about the last four years now that you’re a SSS?

Julia Cheunkarndee: Graduation seems far away when you’re a freshman, but time flies fast. Each year goes by more quickly than the last, making high school feel like a blur. Whether you’ve hated or loved the high school experience, remember that the pathway from freshman to senior only lasts a few years. In the end, it’s important to try and enjoy each day you have with your friends and family, especially as an upperclassman.

Katie Zhang: It seems like just yesterday I was an incoming freshman, seeing all the seniors dressed up in their themed outfits on the First Day of School. In the blink of an eye, I’m one of those seniors that I used to look up to. I never thought I would ever get to be like them one day, but time goes by so quickly. Even through the darkest of storms, just remember that high school is only four years long, and that you should make the most out of your time at Gunn.

2. What are some things that we students should do to prepare ourselves for senior year?

JC: If you’ll need recommendation letters for college, ask your teachers at the end of junior year. Also, think about the community and the kinds of studies you would value the most in college, because it will make it easier to decide where to apply. But have a restful summer—first semester senior year can get a bit rough, so use your break to relax and de-stress for a while.

KZ: If you do plan to attend college after high school, I would recommend researching before or during the summer break between junior and senior year about what you would like to study in college. Think about what you feel like you would have the most interest in focusing on. If you still have a few years before becoming a senior, just enjoy and cherish those moments you have before graduation flashes before your eyes.

3. Approximately how many hours do you spend on college applications per week during first semester?

JC: It definitely varies from person to person. An important thing to remember during college apps is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. Some seniors will be applying to many colleges, some seniors won’t be applying to any, and both these paths and any others in between are fine. When you’re working on essays, however, spend some time over the weekend or after school to write and edit, and ask your friends or family to read them over. As a result, seniors are going to have different workloads and commitments when it comes to applications. Don’t over-stress about your essays—just write from your heart.

KZ: The amount of time you put into college apps really does vary from person to person. Depending on what schools you apply to, the amount of work that you put into them varies. For me, college apps flew by super fast because I made sure to prioritize my time. Whether you have a few more years or even a few more months until college app season, don’t panic. Just remember: it will go by much faster if you think about writing the essays as telling your story.

4. When did senioritis hit you?

JC: I don’t think I’ve been hit by senioritis yet (or maybe I’ve had it all along!). I’ve always struggled with procrastination. The urge to abandon homework for YouTube is easier to ignore when you’re under pressure—but now that first semester is over, I can feel all my bad habits coming back.

KZ: Senioritis hit me on day two of senior year. The first day, I just thought to myself, “I’m going to work all night and do everything I can and get straight-A’s during my first semester.” As you can probably guess, that thought most definitely drifted away the second I got home from school.