It may be December, but spring semester is just around the corner! Luckily for you, the cold weather outside is a great excuse to stay in and get some major college prep done. Spring will be an exceptionally busy time for a senior, and you’ll be glad you stayed on top of things now.

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Here are 5 things in December to help you get into college:

1) Take a hard look at your list.

If you’re still applying to colleges, taking a hard look at your application list can be very useful at this stage of the application process.

Ask yourself: do I actually see myself attending every school on my list? Do I have a financial safety option? Or an admission safety option?

Can’t see yourself going to a school on your list? Remove it.

If you don’t get into your 1st-choice college, actually liking your second or third choice will be important.

If most the schools on your list don’t guarantee admission, make sure you have “safety schools” planned for both admission AND financial reasons.

And remember, don’t wait until after you’ve heard back from your top choice schools to pick and apply to your safety school. A safety school is only safe when it’s secure!

2) Beware of senioritis.

Spring semester means exciting things like warmer weather and prom. However for many seniors, it also means catching some serious senioritis.

While spring may seem like smooth sailing, it’s important to remember your college admission is still dependent on good grades and good conduct.

Maintain good grades so you can focus on enjoying your last semester of high school, and getting into the college of your dreams.December is a great time to plan your schedule ahead of the spring semester.

Create a personal calendar and budget time for class and studying, and other commitments. Plan ahead for things like needing a tutor or a certain textbook for class.

3) Prepare for a worst case scenario.

Play out worst case scenarios for your college list. What if you’re rejected or wait-listed at the schools you wanted most? Although these scenarios can be unpleasant to think about, if you find yourself in such a situation, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

In addition to taking a hard look at your list, it’s very common for students to create alternative back up plans. Considering community college is an increasingly common, viable and even exciting option.

Not only is community college substantially more affordable, but many provide clear paths to four year institutions. Quality community colleges are important additions to any application list.

Read: 3 Reasons Students Actually Choose Community College

4) Pay attention to detail.

When putting together comprehensive things like college lists and admissions essays, it can be easy to forget the finer details. Asking for help and making simple reminders for yourself can ensure you stay on top of your application game.

Try having friends and family proofread and critique your admissions essays. Sometimes receiving outside feedback can help catch mistakes you missed.

Make a checklist of the various steps needed to complete the applications you're submitting. This can help you catch anything you may have forgotten to submit in the application process.

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5) Live it up!

All caught up in the applications process? Already submitted all your applications? That’s awesome, live it up!

Truth is, after you finish and submit your applications the process is mostly out of your hands for a few weeks. So take the time to hang out with friends, family, and enjoy the fact that you’re almost DONE!

You’ll have to dig into the next big phase of the college process depending on what happens next, but for now, take some time to relax so you can take on the new year ready to go!

Earlier in the series: 
November College Checklist for High School Seniors
October College Checklist for High School Seniors

September College Checklist for High School Seniors

Authored by Gilmar Rosas

Gilmar works with American Honors and covers tips on how students can excel both inside and outside the classroom.