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5 Ways to Get Senior Year off to a Great Start


High school seniors across Florida are making their final return to the classroom. For parents and students, senior year can be a lot to juggle—a virtual whirlwind of academics, school activities and bittersweet milestones.

For parents whose kids are college or trade school bound, senior year can be especially overwhelming. After all, the stakes are high, the deadlines are plentiful, and the cost of tuition and housing is an ever-present concern.

But do not become discouraged. Senior year is manageable, and we are here to help you and your child make all the right moves. All it takes is a bit of planning – and a good checklist!

We recommend that your college bound student do these 5 things during the first semester of senior year to stay firmly on track.

Student Checklist Fall Senior Year:

  • Make It Official. Create a Common App account and become familiar with how the website works. You’ll spend a lot of time here, and it will help you stay on schedule.
  • Finalize Your Schools. Make a list or spreadsheet of the application requirements and deadlines for the colleges of your choice. Try to apply to a mix of stretch schools, target schools and likely schools. If your family qualifies for an SAT test fee waiver, you are likely eligible for a free application to over 2,000 participating colleges. You can also apply for application fee waivers through organizations such as ACT and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
  • Follow the Money. Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as well as the Florida Financial Aid Application. FAFSA and FFAA open October 1 of your student’s senior year. Make sure you have completed all of your Florida Bright Futures service/work hours and other requirements.
  • Write Your College Essays/Secure Letters of Recommendation. Using Common App, you will write one essay for all your schools, but some colleges require you to answer supplemental questions. Turn to trusted teachers, guidance counselors and employers for recommendations, feedback and proofreading.
  • Make Time for Fun. Celebrate your accomplishments and get involved with new clubs or extracurricular activities. Update your resume to reflect a well-rounded senior year.

Now, your job is to share this checklist and be their biggest fan (as always 😊) while they tackle it, step by step. They’ve got this, and you’ve got this!

Have questions? We’ve got answers! Explore our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about our Prepaid Plans and Savings Plan. And click here to start your savings now!

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