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3 min read

February Senior Year Checklist for College-Bound Students

February Senior Year Checklist for College-Bound Students

February of senior year of high school can be a quiet, yet intense time if you’re a college-bound student. At this point, your difficult application work is behind you, and you’re left with little to do but wait for the final piece of the puzzle to appear. 

First thing’s first, if you’ve submitted all of your college applications, take time to celebrate and relax. You deserve it! The application process can be incredibly intimidating and stressful.

Below are a few words from former Dean of Admission and Scoir's Strategic Advisor, Peter Van Buskirk, on what to focus on in February. We've also listed out the February of senior year checklist below.


Senior Year Post-Application To-Dos

Now, let’s look ahead to a few items that you should continue monitoring during the month of February:

  • Confirm Your Applications
  • Verify Your Financial Aid 
  • Research Scholarship Opportunities
  • Meet with Your Counselor
  • Write Thank You Notes
  • Continue Making Memories


1. Confirm Your Applications

Most schools will send some type of confirmation to acknowledge that they’ve received your application. Make sure you’ve received confirmations for each application!


2. Verify Your Financial Aid

At this point, you should have completed your FAFSA and received your Student Aid Report (SAR). Take the time to review the SAR carefully and address any discrepancies. 


3. Research Scholarship Opportunities

It's not too late to apply for many scholarships! Now that you've reviewed your SAR with your parents/guardians and mentors, it's time to revisit scholarship opportunities.

Check out the article A Successful Strategy for Applying to College Scholarships for inspo.


4. Meet with Your Counselor

At this point, it’s never a bad idea to meet with your counselor for one more check in before graduation. They can help ensure you’re on track for graduation and send any first semester grades to colleges as needed. Colleges are still watching, so please do your best to keep those grades up!


5. Write Thank You Notes

Whoever took the time to write a recommendation letter for you deserves a thank you note! Take the time to handwrite and drop off letters to these people in your downtime. It will mean tons!


6. Continue Making Memories

As you move through the winter months and into early spring, emotions can run high. Make the most of your time with the people who matter most to you, and do what you love! 💙


What's Happening with Your Application Right Now?

So, what happens to your application when it reaches the admission office?

Who reads it? What do they think? How will they decide?


How Rolling Admission Schools Review Your Application

Colleges that practice rolling admission make decisions on applications as they arrive in their complete form. Starting in  September—and sometimes earlier—they admit qualified candidates until their classes are full. This process can extend well into the following summer.


Objective Review Process

Different schools will review your application differently. An objective review involves screening candidates based on a formula of test results and GPA scores. Many state universities practice objective review of applicants.

Often, after the objective review, applicants are reviewed more subjectively or holistically by members of the admission committee.


Holistic Review Process

Holistic reviews aim to answer the question: “What does our college gain by admitting this student?” A handful of other factors are taken into consideration, such as:

  • Extracurricular profiles
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essays
  • Personal interviews
If you're an out-of-state candidate, or an applicant to an honors program, you should expect to face even greater levels of scrutiny as you compete for a spot with other qualified candidates.


Review Committees 

Committee members, or readers, can include part-time staff, specialists in particular majors, subgroups of students (international students, for example), and members of the admission staff. The staff member who recruits in your area is almost certainly going to be an interested participant as well.

Readers meet to discuss the difficult decisions. Applications are usually reviewed by at least 2 readers before any decisions are made. In some cases, faculty members are invited to read applications from students interested in their respective academic disciplines. This is more likely at universities that are comprised of colleges or academic programs, to which you apply directly. 


Heading Into the Spring of Your Senior Year

As March of your senior year approaches, it's important to take care of yourself. While it's true that most of the difficult application work is behind you, there's still plenty of adventure ahead of you. In a few short weeks, your future after high school will start to gain clarity, and you'll be engulfed in planning next steps.

So, as you wait for application results, the next few weeks may feel long, but we encourage you to remain present. Focus on your family and friends, finishing your classes strong, and on all the things that bring you joy in this moment!


This article was originally published on February 8, 2021. It was updated on February 2, 2024 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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