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Applying to college is a hectic and sometimes overwhelming process, and the current health crisis must only amplify these feelings of uncertainty for you all. As someone who just graduated this May, I'd love to share some snippets of advice for you high school seniors!

My own college search consisted of touring fifteen different schools, connecting with current students (both face-to-face and on social media), and digging through various websites and pamphlets to learn more about different colleges. Through my visits, I definitely gained a sense of each school's distinct culture, values, and surrounding environment. Now, let's be realistic. Given current circumstances, it's unlikely you can tour colleges to the physical extent like I did before the pandemic. But that surely doesn't mean you can't learn more! My best advice is to take advantage of all the virtual resources colleges are offering to explore their school. Check out social media, tune into Instagram stories and podcasts, join Zoom Q&A's, and watch college day in the life vlogs on YouTube. Don't be afraid to reach out to current students to ask questions and get a feel for whether or not you would "vibe" with or "fit" that particular institution. Also, many colleges are shifting their policies for this year's wave of applicants, so be sure to regularly check up on their official websites. There are so many free ways to stay informed from the comfort and safety of your home!

Senior year is a time of self-reflection and personal discovery. As I'm already learning myself, the next four years of your life are going to fly by much like high school. For this next chapter of your life, do you prefer a larger city environment or a more intimate campus setting? Would you like to follow a pre-professional track or explore a more broad-based liberal arts curriculum? Is distance from home or cost a factor for you? Are you someone who enjoys a lot of school spirit and social athletic events? I definitely grappled with many of the same questions last year, and I'm sure they're great jumping off points for you as you begin your college search. Everyone has their own process, so remember to trust yourself and follow your gut as you learn more about the special quirks of different institutions.

Lastly, you may be swimming in heaps of college apps and coursework right now, but remember to take breaths and pause along the way. Organize your college process and deadlines on a detailed online spreadsheet; intentionally plan chunks of your day for essays and research; cherish time with loved ones back home as you wrap up your high school careers. Take the next two months to follow this advice so you'll be one step closer to a fun and rewarding second-semester senior year. Class of 2025, you got this!



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