It’s May, and for many of you graduation is just around the corner. Congratulations, you are almost finished with your high school career! Here are 4 things you can do this month to be as ready as possible for college.

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1) Consider ALL Your Options

If for some reason going to a four year college straight after high school isn’t for you, don’t sweat it.

I repeat, do not worry.

If you didn’t get in, didn’t apply, or just can’t afford the schools you did get into, do not give up. You still have lots of options.

Community college is a great option if you’re ready to start college. If you haven’t considered community college seriously until now, this is the time to think about it. The tuition is affordable, the credits can transfer, and you might be surprised at how much of a community you’ll actually find.

Obligatory disclaimer: American Honors is an honors program at community colleges across the country that’s specifically designed to help students start at community college and then transfer to their dream school. That is to say, we help students do this every day! If you’re interested, learn more about how we help students earn the same degrees for less.

Another option: the military. If you’re considering the military after high school, make sure you don’t make the decision lightly. There are a lot of good reasons to head into the armed forces (“it was my only backup” isn’t one of them.)

There are many ways to succeed after high school. Go out and do what works for you.

Read: The Military or College? Insight from a Veteran

2) Commit

It’s been a long, maybe even stressful, college admissions process, but the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. It’s time to commit to your college choice!

Take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back, all the hard work you put in has finally paid off, and now, you get to choose where to spend the next four years of your life.

Hopefully the past few weeks of campus visits, talking to current students, and assessing finances have enabled you to make a great choice.

Regardless of where you are headed, get ready for a new and very exciting chapter of your life.

While most colleges expect you to make your final decision by May 1, if you’re a little bit late you should still notify them. Give their admissions office a call if you need to commit after their deadline, a lot of schools will still accept a “yes” from you even if it comes a little late.

3) Make a Budget

By now you’ve most likely discussed tuition with your family. Now that you’ve chosen your college, it’s a great idea to discuss actual cost of attendance with your family using real numbers.

Your conversation should cover everything you’ll need to pay for while you’re at college, and how you’ll pay for them.

Things to keep on your list:

  • Room and Board

  • Meal Plans

  • Textbooks, computers, academic supplies

  • Dorm supplies

  • Living expenses

Talk about how much your family can contribute and how much you’ll be expected to put in for yourself. Will you need a part-time job or work study? Planning ahead now with your family will leave one less thing for you to worry about when classes begin.

Luckily for you, many schools have cost-of-attendance estimators that include the items above in their acceptance and admissions packets. Taking a look at those will give you a head start on planning a realistic cost of attendance budget for your school.

4) Plan Your Summer

This is your last summer of high school, make the most of it! Not having the pressure of school really opens the possibility of things you can do before college begins. Create a summer schedule that allows you to pursue your interests and passions. Consider things like part-time jobs, community service, internships, or travel and vacation. Whatever you decide, have fun with it.  You’ve earned yourself a great summer!

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Earlier in the Series:
April College Checklist for High School Seniors
March College Checklist for High School Seniors
February 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.