3 Things High School Seniors Need To Do Right Now.

December 2011. Calendar by Mod Squad Emma.

Believe it or not, the important December countdown for most high school seniors is not:  “how many days til Christmas.” Most U.S. colleges set the regular admissions deadline for January 1. Eleven days away.

For any senior, like Mod Squad Pete, who just happens to not be done yet with college applications, here are the three things he or she should be doing right now…

1.  Finish the darn thing(s). Pete might have been 98% done on his regular admissions since before Thanksgiving. Each one has just one or two little things that still need doing. Get it over with already. (And yes, Pete, I’m talking to you.)

If there are questions stopping you, tune into the live chat the NYT‘s The Choice is hosting tonight, Wednesday, and Thursday. Here are the details:

The first night’s chat will take place tonight, on The New York Times’s main Facebook page: facebook.com/nytimes. The two chats thereafter will be staged at The Choice blog’s Facebook page: facebook.com/nytimesthechoice. All of the exchanges will be from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time, and the counselors will answer questions in real time.

By the way, if you or your senior has all applications done, great! Skip ahead to task number 2. If you or your senior received acceptance via an Early Decision program, congratulations!! No more college applications! Skip ahead to task number 2.

2.  Sign up for the student and parent PINs for FAFSA. The first step in applying for financial aid is to apply for a PIN. Do that here. The steps are clear:

The PIN Application Process consists of 3 steps:
Step 1: Enter Personal Information
Step 2: Submit Your PIN Application
Step 3: Receive Your PIN

The online application goes live January 1, 2012, but the FAFSA on the web worksheet is available now.

3.  Take a deep breath and relax. 2011 may have been a big year with junior-year courses, SATs, college visits, becoming a senior, and writing applications, but just wait. The new year will bring the final semester of high school (requiring stick-to-it attention through the AP exams and finals), additional deadlines for financial aid and any scholarships (requiring more collaboration between student and parent), the emotional experience of receiving regular admissions results (some of us have had a glimpse of that with early admissions results), and making a commitment to one college.

Oh, right:  that’s just the first five months.

As always, good luck to all with those applications!

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