Senior Year Around The World: USA

Hi, everyone!

I'm Allison from Something Beautiful! I've lived in Michigan, USA for my entire life and despite the current negative temperatures, it really is quite lovely. I'm in my last year of high school, senior year, grade 12, and am trying to take in every moment.

In America as in most other countries, being a senior is a big deal.  First of all, I like to believe that I can get double discounts at stores that offer "senior citizen" and "student" discounts because technically I am a senior citizen student... Unfortunately it doesn't operate that way, but I'm not complaining about the student discount!

After high school in America, most kids go to college.  Ever since my first year of high school as a freshman I have been asked by well-meaning relatives and family friends where I was planning on continuing my education. At the time, my little 14-year-old self shrugged her shoulders and blew off the question because I didn't have to think about that yet. But here we are! My official decision has to be made in less than four months.

There's like 40 billion colleges in America. Well, at least that's what it felt like when I dipped my toes into the researching pool for the first time. I managed to narrow my list down to six, which still presents a lot of options! I believe in some other countries going to university is either free or relatively cheap? I guess the good ol' US of A was not aware that a college education could be cheap because for the most part, that is not the way that it is at all here! Most parents start saving for their child's education the moment the baby is delivered and student loans are often a burden for many people decades after graduating from college. Tuition fees can range from around $6,000 a year at a community college to over $50,000 for a prestigious private school! Luckily there are lots of ways to help make college affordable, but it's often a lot of time and work to get college paid off.

september // goodbye, summer & hello, homework! School starts back up again for most of the country.  Many schools do start in August though (mine included). 6 AM has never felt this early. Also, seniors that are looking for one last chance to score a higher grade on the standardized tests like the ACT or the SAT (these are required to get into college!) can take a final stab at it. ACT and SAT test on subjects such as math, science, reading, writing, and logic reasoning.  The tests usually take around 3.5 - 4 hours to complete! Thankfully there are a few breaks in there!

october // you get to cheer in the student section for the homecoming football game for the last time. Homecoming, which typically includes a spirit week, parade, football (or basketball if schools celebrate during the winter sports season), and a dance. It's definitely my favorite time of the year and something that I'm going to miss a ton.

november // many seniors have just finished their college applications for the early decision deadlines. However those who are still deciding where they want to apply can still weigh those options for a little while longer.  College application processes usually include filling out an application with what seemed like every single piece of information about you, sending it in either online or by snail mail and then waitttttting for a reply.  If you're applying to go into a major such as art or music, there is often a portfolio or audition required to prove your skills.

 The fall sports season wraps up and the seniors are usually honored in a way by their teams. It's a weird feeling to realize that you will never pull on your high school jersey again.

december // college responses start rolling in! You can be accepted, denied, or placed on a waiting list. Waiting for the letter in the mail or the new message in your inbox from your dream college is one of the most anxious times that senior year brings.

Here it is now in January.  The second semester of school generally starts for most people during this month and for seniors, that means that the dangerous disease of senior-itis becomes much, much more contagious.  I'm sure that this is universal, but the side effects include slacking off of school work, not caring about grades, and spending more time making memories than finishing your homework. Colleges don't look at the last semester grades in general, so for the most part, it doesn't really matter.

In May comes prom, one of the most anticipated nights of a senior's life.  It's the last high school dance that they will ever attend and in American culture it's a pretty big deal.  In many schools, seniors get to take their final exams a week or two before the underclassmen (other grades).That's one of the biggest perks that I'm looking forward to! Graduation usually occurs in late May through the middle of June.

And there you have it. An American senior year in a nutshell.

How does the senior year in your country compare?

- Allison -


  1. So it's true what they show in movies and tv shows XD

    1. To some extent . . . just not quite as dramatic, haha :)