12th Grade

This is the year all your hard work pays off! Stay focused—the finish line is almost in sight.

Stay focused.

We know there’s still so much to do, but this is the year it all pays off. Keep working hard in your classes and keep taking classes that are challenging.

  • Check in with your counselor. Counselors can help connect you with the right resources and advise you on the application process.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation. Connect with teachers and counselors early in fall of your senior year and let them know you’d like a letter of recommendation. Think about who knows you best and give them plenty of time to write one.

Take math during your senior year.

Studies show that math can be a stumbling block for many students once they get to college, but you are much better prepared if you take math your senior year. In fact, if you take a Concurrent Enrollment math class a high school senior, you might not even need to take math in college (depending on your major and your future career plans). However, if you don’t take math your senior year, you might have to take additional math classes in college to make up for what you may have forgotten.

Apply to college in the fall.

You’ve worked long and hard for this, and now it’s time!

  • Apply to colleges during the fall of your senior year. Participate in Utah College Application Week. Ask your counselors for more information.
    • If you’re planning on serving a religious mission or joining the military, you should still complete your college applications. Once you have been accepted to a school, you can defer your enrollment and any scholarships you have been offered until you return. Find out more information about the deferment process on the college admissions pages.
  • If you want to improve your score, retake the ACT the fall of your senior year. A higher ACT score can be the difference between getting accepted into an elite college, earning scholarships, or having to take remedial classes in college.

Fill out your FAFSA.

After all your hard work to apply for college, don’t forget to apply for financial aid!

  • Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as October at FAFSA.gov to see what types of financial aid you could get to help pay for college. If you don’t file the FAFSA, you could be losing out on free money for college!
  • Get help completing your FAFSA by attending a FAFSA Completion Open House during the school year. Find one near you.
  • If you are an undocumented student check to see what options might be available for you.

Continue applying for scholarships.

Be sure to keep at it! There could be money for college out there for you.

  • Apply for the Regents’ Scholarship if you’re pursuing it. Check deadlines.
  • Research what scholarships are offered by the colleges you’ve been accepted to.
  • Look for scholarships and apply to at least three during your senior year.
    • See if your high school has a scholarship coordinator to help you find scholarships to apply for, but don’t forget to also look in your community and search online.
    • Remember, scholarships open every year, so save your essays. That way you don’t have to start from scratch every year. The StepUp scholarship toolkit will help you figure out how to start looking and applying for scholarships.
    • Keep your scholarship resume updated. Use this template to help get you started.

Apply for StepUp Utah Scholars recognition.

If you’ve completed at least 20 Next Steps during grades 8-12, be sure to apply for StepUp Utah Scholars recognition. You could earn a medallion to wear at graduation, proving you are college-ready!

Narrow it down.

Now’s the time to really decide which college is the right fit for you. To help figure this out, be sure to visit different schools.

  • Visit the websites or call any colleges you’ve been accepted to and ask about First Year Experience Programs and Summer Bridge Programs.
    • Be sure to check if your college has a deadline for students to make a final decision about what college they will attend. You may also need to send in a deposit to hold your place.
  • Send in your final high school transcripts (your official high school records) to your college once you graduate. Call or email their admissions office to make sure they have received your materials.
  • Accept any financial aid you might have received. Talk with your college’s financial aid office to make sure you’re good to go.

Be proud. Celebrate!

You did it! Lots of hard work and planning has led you to becoming a high school graduate. Finish up your senior year feeling good about what you’ve accomplished and having made great memories.

  • Participate in your school’s Decision Day activities to celebrate your accomplishments. Ask your school counselor for more information.

In case you missed it …

If you haven’t had the chance to follow along with the grade-by-grade checklists throughout junior high and high school, here the most important things you might have missed from the 8th-11th grade checklists. You can complete these items anytime, but it’s best if they are done before you graduate from high school.