Winter break during senior year of high school can be a stressful and emotional time. As graduation and the start of college loom, students may be dealing with pressure to choose a school, second guessing early decision applications or sad that time with family and friends is winding down. So 2 college planning tips is going to discuss what to do during these next crucial weeks.

#1 What To Do For Financial Aid


  • Apply for your FAFSA ID. Each student applying for financial aid for college should do so on or before January 1st. A pin is required and needs to be requested in advance.
  • Scour the web for scholarships and plan to apply for 1 or 2 over the break. Fast is a favorite site for finding scholarships.
  • File your FAFSA and CSS profile. These financial aid forms analyze your family’s income and assets to determine how much financial aid you should receive. These forms become available on January 1st. Make sure you speak to someone knowledgeable about the FAFSA and CSS profile. They are difficult to understand for first time users, or sometimes even seek an adviser to help with this. There are many reputable companies to work with.

#2 Academics and Planning

Winter break

  • Finish applications if you have not already done so. Spend some time doing that.
  • Retake your standardized test if you don’t feel comfortable with your current scores. To go with that, make sure you do some research and do any ACT or SAT preparation before you retake your test.
  • Do a sufficient amount of research on each school so you can make a more informed decision once the acceptance and potential rejection letters start to roll in. If you have a chance, take another visit to ensure you’re making the right choice. Sometimes seeing a school in different seasons, winter vs fall for example, can help you decide if it is where you truly belong. It is helpful to visit on a weekend or when there are more people in town. Make sure you can see if that’s the place you want to attend and live.
  • Alert the University of any changes or additions to your files.
  • Take time to relax. Last thing, whether you bake 100 holiday cookies, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or watch a holiday movie, we recommend relaxing. Take a break from the rigor of high school. After you feel relaxed and stress free, it is time for you to refocus and prepare for the second half of your senior year.

It can be hard for a senior to focus after winter break but make sure you take the time to make some academic and personal goals. Study hard for your finals, get ahead of school work and ensure you are finishing your senior year strong. You’re almost to graduation.

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