A timeline of the high school years to keep you on track – “What am I supposed to be doing now?”
This is the question I always ask myself. I’m not much of a “big picture” type person. Some of us need a step by step plan. That is what this blog is for. What you should be doing each year of high school for you to be ready for your life ahead (college or not). This is all the best case scenario, however, it doesn’t need to be followed exactly. If you’ve already missed some things, it’s not too late! So anyways, here’s the plan:
This can be the scariest year of high school. New surroundings, new friends, new teachers, new expectations… because you’re in high school now. Your time in school is winding down and it’s time to get serious about life. How far ahead do you want to get? Mostly depends on how much you want to succeed… (and save money). This part has been covered in previous blogs, but HONORS is KEY. Honors classes are hardly different from your regular classes and this is coming from one who has done both. Even if it’s a hard class like Algebra or Chemistry, a B in an honors class versus an A in a regular class is OKAY.
Aside from the academic stuff…. There’s more fun stuff. You have to get involved! This is the year to experiment if you haven’t already. Do you want to try out for the basketball team, or maybe the dance team, or join an art class? Electives are important and committing to a specific type is a great step in the right direction. Chorus, band, art, graphic design, anything. It’s the best way to make friends who are interested in what you are.
(P.S. start thinking about AP classes for next year…)
This is the time to not only be looking into extracurricular activities and being apart of a team, as well as, your higher level classes, but start thinking about college some. For instance, what colleges you may be interested in. Take career tests to find out what major you should be taking (Link Here). Also, you should consider taking the PRE-ACT or PSAT if your school offers it. See how well you do… And trust me you’ll start getting dozens of letters and e-mails from colleges if you let them.
The sophomore year is a great year to see where you stand and set yourself up for the next two years where it really does matter. Get good grades, stay active in clubs or sports, and look into colleges.
At this point in time you need to have college admission tests in mind. Take it from us college students that you need to start early! You need to study! I thought I knew everything and that I did not need to study for these tests, but boy was I WRONG! You need to study not the material, but HOW to take the tests, and strategies. Here some good strategies that I have learned:
- Skip a question if it is too hard
- Read questions first, skim the passage, and go back to answer the questions. Underline possible answers while you skim that you think may be helpful from when you read over the questions first.
- Do not waste your time trying to learn material! Find your weak spot and cover those few grammar rules you forgot or those math problems.
It may also be a good idea to tour colleges you are interested in this summer as next summer you will be applying. I know everyone wants to go to the best school out there, but most of the time the best school is also expensive and not the prettiest. You should really be able to see yourself going to that school.
At this point, you should try to be enrolled into some higher level courses. Whether it’s AP, Dual Enrollment, honors, or some other type. It is vital that you work hard towards good grades. Colleges will look at the difficulty of the classes you’re taking, especially in your senior year, so keep that in mind when choosing classes for next year.
Next, you need to sign up for college admission tests. This way you are set up to be able to apply for colleges this summer! Study hard, and take them at least twice!
Extracurriculars are important too! Try to look for leadership as you are an upperclassman now.
Apply!!! Apply for everything you can! Scholarships and colleges! Your guidance counselor can be a great resource for finding scholarships or help with your college application!
Relax. Lead in your extracurriculars and maintain good grades. This is the point in time where patience is key. If you have not finished your applications for colleges do so here. Also, continue looking for scholarships as you will find college really does cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes, your first born.
I hope you have found this information helpful! If you have feedback let us know in the comments below!
-Kerrianna and Aaron