The New School Year is a great time to reflect on the changes we want to or need to make. If you’re a student looking at ways to improve yourself and make the transition to university easier, let me give you a few pieces of advice.
1. Stop procrastinating.
How often have you underestimated how much time it will take to get something done? Then, how sad are you when you don’t have the time to do your best. At some point, the procrastinator has to write four college essays in one night – on top of completing schoolwork. Usually, this doesn’t turn out so well. If you finish a project earlier than you thought you would, then consider yourself ahead.
2. Commit yourself to getting good grades.
Good grades are entirely necessary to get into a good school unless you’re a top notch athlete. The best case scenario is that you have good grades from the beginning. However, if you start off badly and improve your grades, colleges will give you points for this. Many admissions officers won’t look at your application if your grades are too low or show a steady decline. Spending a night studying while your friends play Wii may not excite you, but you need to look at this long-term. Think of it this way, grades are a bridge. They will serve you to get into a college where you will have more freedom. In college, grades may not be as important as in high school.
3. Don’t do it all.
It’s better to concentrate on a few things and excel in them than if you join every sport, activity and club that you can cram into your schedule. Anyone can join 10 clubs and be marginally involved in them all. Schools are looking for commitment that shows you’re willing to stick with something and make the most of it.
4. Keep a calendar.
Deadlines creep up quickly. And the closer the date, the more you’ll feel the pressure. Most students don’t do their best under pressure. And everything is not going to be sympathetic to any excuses you have about missing a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you miss an opportunity.
5. Take practice standardized tests early.
You won’t know how high you can score until you take the test. Wait too long and you won’t have enough time to retake it. And many things can affect your test score on any given day, including the state of your health, and you can’t plan not to get the flu or food poisoning. Taking the test early will also allow time to take a test prep course if necessary.
6. Try something new.
High school is a great time to spread your wings. It’s about new experiences and self-discovery. Want a certain internship, there’s no harm in calling up and asking if they have any room for an eager high school student to work there. Want to try a new sport or activity, go ahead and try it. You’re not expected to leave high school knowing exactly what you want to do, but this is a chance to start narrowing down your interests. You’ll never know what you like – or how good you are at something – until you try something.
7. Be excited about going to school.
Wherever you go to school, you’re going to meet new people, learn new things, and have a great time. That’s reason enough to be excited whether you end up attending a first choice school or a safety.
8. Banish the self-doubt.
Doubting your own abilities only holds you back from achieving what you want to achieve. Just say no to these thoughts and others like them:
“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not as smart as my classmates.”
“I’ll never get better than a 2 grade-point average.”