Creating a New College Prep Routine While Social Distancing
It’s not just how you finish high school that counts. Admissions officers review all four years of your grades, activities, and more when making decisions on applications, so it’s essential for current freshmen and sophomores to build a strong academic and extracurricular foundation, even while schools themselves are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While in-person classes and after school clubs may be off of the table for the time being, students should look for alternative ways to stay ahead of the game. Keep reading to learn how to take your college prep routine to the next level, right from home.
Focus on Test Prep
Some students may be tempted to put off test preparation until they are further along in their high school career, but when should you start studying for the SAT? Generally, it pays off to get a head start. Students who start studying for exams as freshmen and sophomores can avoid working down to the wire and cramming in the weeks leading up to the exam. Especially now that both the SAT and ACT are considering online, at-home exams, students will have more flexible opportunities to test. There are a multitude of online test preparation resources for exams such as the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, and PSAT. Create a study plan to keep yourself accountable and strive to take practice exams every few weeks to evaluate your progress and adjust your preparation accordingly.
Nurture Your Interests
Spending extra time at home? Instead of binge-watching your favorite television shows, take some time to explore new interests and refine existing passions. Carve out a few hours each week to pursue something that both interests and challenges you. Some potential options could include launching an independent project, practicing a musical instrument, learning how to code, leveling up your speaking skills in a foreign language, and writing a short story or personal essay. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and explore something you have been meaning to try for ages.
Experiment with E-Learning
There are more resources than ever before that are specifically designed to help students stay engaged and academically challenged. Whether you’re looking for some additional practice for algebra or eager to explore your favorite eras from world history class, get creative and seek out supplementary work that will support your academic goals. It’s important for freshmen and sophomores to remember that their performance during the beginning of high school counts and consequently, maintaining a strong academic standing is critical.
Conduct Some Research
Take advantage of any extra time to start working towards compiling your balanced list of best-fit colleges. While it may not be possible to attend campus visits in-person, participate in virtual tours to begin to gauge different environments and learn about your potential preferences. Be sure to take detailed notes so that you have information you can refer back to as you continue on with your college search. In addition to reviewing university websites, affiliated social media profiles can help students gain more information about different colleges from another perspective.
Don’t Forget About Reading
Regular reading can help students expand their vocabulary and find their own narrative voice. Start exploring different authors, genres, and writing styles to discover what resonates most with you. Personal essays and memoirs can be especially helpful for students who are interested in gaining inspiration for college admissions essays down the line, as these formats are generally written in the first person.
The move to learning from home is a transition for everyone but is possible to make the most of it and get a head start on your college preparation journey. If you are beginning high school and looking to build a solid foundation for your academic future, our team of college admissions counselors can point you in the right direction.
Also check out our free 2020-21 College Prep and Admissions Guide with tips and information on what students can be doing now to prepare for the college admissions process while social distancing.