Stick with the activities you’ve been doing.
It is important for seniors to make sure that they continue pursuing some of the activities they have developed thus far in order to show consistency and continuity.
This is one case in which I sometimes advise students to participate in extracurricular activities that they downright don’t want to do anymore.
Students who have attained all but their Eagle Scout badge, for example, or who have practiced taekwondo from when they were little kids all the way through junior year—such students should seriously consider whether or not to continue participating in these activities their senior year.
Stick with the activities even once you send in your application.
It is also very important that seniors not pack up their activities once their applications are in the mail. They should bear in mind that if they are waitlisted, they will be invited to send updates of their latest grades and extracurricular achievements to colleges. A stellar extracurricular project might help a student get off the waitlist.
Anecdotally, this seems much more likely when a student is waitlisted at a smaller liberal arts college than when the student is one of thousands waitlisted at a school like Duke University. Larger research universities often use the waitlist as a way to balance their incoming class with that last necessary violist or a handful of linguistics majors—and there’s little a student can do to materially affect this calculation.
Overall, for seniors, the name of the game is: Finish Strong.
Take a much-needed deep breath after your applications are sent in, but that doesn’t mean to throw away all those hard-earned grades or fail to follow through on any of your commitments. Continue to make goals for yourself, work hard in your classes, and finish strong in your activities.
Danny is the CEO of FLEX College Prep. Danny’s core focus is on helping young people get the best advice, and be the best students they can be. His team of professionals are also personal coaches, and great people, driven by the same passion for helping people.