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
Different grades will be focusing on different things to prepare for college at this time of year.
- Focus on finding and engaging meaningfully with extracurricular activities you enjoy.
- Keep building good study habits and exploring intellectual curiosities.
- Keep up your grades.
- Plan to take an ACT/SAT diagnostic test to find the test best suited to you.
- Continue to explore extracurriculars. Don’t just show up to the meetings – lean in and look for opportunities for more responsibilities and leadership positions.
- And if your current extracurriculars are not feeling right to you, don’t get stuck – don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities!
- Be on the lookout for opportunities to visit colleges on spring break and the coming summer. Do you have a family vacation coming up? See if there are any colleges nearby or on the way you can plan to visit!
- Make grades the first priority.
- Ease test anxiety by having a test prep plan, if you do not have one already. Know your test dates and factor weekly study sessions into your spring schedule. Consider seeking out a tutor to help you identify your and weaknesses and build on your strengths.
- Cultivate relationships with teachers and mentors; consider who you’ll want to ask to write your recommendations.
- Start scheduling college visits for long weekends, spring break, and/or the coming summer. Make sure you sign up for tours and info sessions in advance.
- Start to plan a timeline for writing college essays and completing applications.
- Keep your grades up! First semester grades are still very important and show your colleges you are continuing to work hard and grow.
- Wait patiently for college news.
- Embrace and enjoy your last year of high school!
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!