New Year’s Resolutions for Students
The new year is a great time for new college admissions and academic goals
It is a new year, and in the spirit of starting fresh people all over the world are setting New Year’s Resolutions. As a student, setting goals both personally and academically is important, especially when preparing for college admissions. Whether you are a freshman, senior, or in between, there is always an aspect of the application and college planning process that you could be working on, and planning ahead is always a good idea. So use the inspiration of the New Year to prepare for many successful years ahead and happy 2013! However, a list of goals could be endless, so we have put together some attainable resolutions that will help you in the journey to college admissions.
Set final grade goals for this semester: Many colleges require final grade reports, even if you have been accepted, so it is important to keep your grades up and remember that even if you have received an acceptance letter, the work is not finished. Also, if you have been deferred from your first choice school, ending high school strong with some outstanding grades could be the extra push you need to secure a spot!
Make a game plan for deferrals: While receiving a deferral from your top choice school may be disappointing, it is important to remind yourself that it is not the end of the road. There are many actions you can take while you sit in deferral “limbo” like writing the school a letter expressing continued interest, asking one of your teachers for another recommendation about how well you are doing this year, or sending in updates about awards or honors your have received senior year. Also, remember to keep your options open. Get excited about other schools on your list, and maybe even visit a few to imagine yourself on their campuses. There usually isn’t just one best fit school for everyone, so keep an open mind!
Enjoy your final semester of high school: While the stresses of keeping up with school and finalizing college applications may feel like a lot to handle, remember to relax and enjoy your final semester of high school! The next couple of months mark a milestone in your life, and it is important to spend time with friends and family to celebrate all that you have accomplished. Try to set aside time during the week for a meal, movie, or trip and make some senior year memories!
Make a college list and plan visits: The time has come to begin narrowing down what schools you will be applying to next year. The earlier you plan, the earlier you can strategize what schools you will apply to, when, and what materials you will need for each application. Compare and contrast some schools that interest you based on size, location, programs, campus, etc. to finalize a list of schools to focus on through the spring, summer, and fall. Additionally, spring semester of your junior year is an ideal time to plan a college visit, or even a trip to multiple campuses. Pick a region you are interested in going to school, and find a few diverse campuses to visit to get a better sense of where you could see yourself. This is an exciting time so enjoy the journey!
Prepare for standardized tests and set a score goal: Based on the schools you would like to apply to, you can get a great sense of where your test scores need to be to gain acceptance. If you haven’t already, choose a testing date, set time aside each week or day to prepare, and start practicing for the SAT or ACT with practice questions and exams. If you create a study schedule, you will help keep yourself on track. Set score goals for yourself to stay motivated, and give yourself time to take the test multiple times if needed.
Run for a leadership position in an extracurricular activity: The spring usually brings changes in leadership in clubs and organizations. If there is an activity you are particularly passionate about, run for a board or council position to enhance your resume for colleges. Running for president, vice-president, and other more time-consuming positions shows schools that you are dedicated and have made an extra commitment to a particular activity. If you are interested in government, run for a student council position. Aim high and set goals within that club or organization for the coming year!
For Sophomores and Freshmen:
Plan for challenging courses in the coming years: Look at what courses your school offers for Juniors and Seniors, and start planning your course load for each year. Challenge yourself by taking AP and Honors courses that will impress colleges and improve your GPA. Schedule a meeting with you school counselor if you need any help with guidance or planning, or even speak with the teacher of a course you’re interested in to get a better sense of the work and material.
Identify your interests and become involved: Make a list of your interests, and find out if your school has a club or organization that you would enjoy. If you school doesn’t have what you need, start a club yourself! Find a faculty advisor and recruit your classmates. Instead of spreading yourself thin with a lot of organizations, commit your time to a few core clubs that you can see yourself becoming a leader in throughout high school.
Start standardized test preparation: While most students take the SAT or ACT their junior year, you can get a jump start on your standardized testing prep by taking practice exams your freshman or sophomore year. You will gain experience with the test structure, material, and types of questions, as well as gain insight into which test is a better fit for you. Set aside a few hours one day and dive-in to see what your strengths are, and what material you may need extra tutoring for.