While students might feel like they are returning to the same old grind after a fun and relaxing break, January is a time for new beginnings. The New Year presents an opportunity for students to evaluate themselves in light of their goals. Below are some great practices for students at any level to keep themselves performing at their highest level.
Put Grades First
If grades are your admissions officers’ first priority (they are), then they should be yours, too. Make sure you prioritize your academic performance.
For most students, this means midterms or finals at the end of January. Take these tests seriously – they often have a huge impact on your final grade. When your teacher tells you what will be tested, give the list a quick run-through and identify the gaps in your knowledge. Start your studying there, and use any resources you have at your disposal. Whether it’s organizing a study group, going after school to meet with a teacher, or meeting with a tutor, do not be afraid to ask for help.
Manage Your Time Better, and Sleep More
These two go hand-in-hand. High school students are busier now than ever, and there are only so many hours per day. Sadly, the first thing to be sacrificed during busy periods is usually sleep. This feeds a vicious cycle: a student stays up late to get work done, and then has less energy and focus the next day. The next day, the student’s work takes longer to get done due to tiredness, and the student has to stay up late again. This continues until maybe the student catches up on sleep over the weekend – if they’re lucky.
So how can you avoid this? Good time management. Set realistic deadlines for yourself, set aside specific times to work (with your phone away on “do not disturb”), and give yourself a bedtime. And remember – it’s totally okay to ask for your parents’ help to keep you on track. Some caring reminders from mom or dad can go a long way to keeping you on track, especially if they were your idea in the first place!
Follow Your Passions – Especially in Extracurriculars
This one may sound cheesy, but it is good advice both for your own happiness and for college admissions.
Colleges do not want to see a student who dips their toes in everything, or is a member of every club and team. They want a student who has authentic passions and pursues them to the max. It is better for both your own well-being and your college application for you to give 100% only to the things you love than to give 5% to twenty different activities when you only truly care about a few of them.
Know Your College Prep Timeline and Evaluate Your Goals
While there is no one-size-fits-all timeline for when students should accomplish the various tasks necessary to apply to college, every student should have an idea of their short- and long-term goals.
Examples of short-term goals might include: get an A on my next Math test; achieve my goal score on the February ACT; help my club fund raise for a charity event this weekend.
Examples of long-term goals might include: improve my GPA to X; perform my very best on the SAT or ACT; become president of X club.
You can see from these examples how short- and long-term goals play into one another. If you want to raise your GPA, then in the short term you should work towards each A individually. If you want to become president of a club you care about one day, then you should work to put in the best effort you can to help the club achieve its goals.
January is a great time to take a step back and think about your goals, no matter where you are in high school. Start big – where do you want to go to college, and what will it take to get there? If you don’t know where specifically you want to go, think about different tiers of schools. Once you have an idea of the grades and scores it will take to get there, set short-term goals to help you reach those big objectives.
If at any point you need help deciphering a timeline or locking in on specific goals for yourself, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (267) 888-6489.
Believe in Yourself
January is a time for hope. Be optimistic and confident that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and the work required, and you will be in a great position to achieve your goals.
Happy New Year from Ivy Experience!