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12 Tips to Start the High School Year Off Right

Wide-eyed freshman to confident seniors, this is the time to commit to making the most of the year. Four years may sound like a lot, but it’s not, considering high school is time to set the groundwork for the rest of your life. The goal is college. And not just any college, but the right one. To help start the school year right, International College Counselors made a general Top 12 Checklist.

  1. Consider courses and teachers and decide if the right choices were made. Students want to be sufficiently challenged, but not overwhelmed. It’s important to take challenging courses, but it’s just as important to do well in them. Now is the time to switch classes.
  1. Look at the school’s clubs, activities, sports, and classes. The beginning of the school year is the best time for exploring interests. Once a student decides what to try, the next step is finding out how to get involved in those activities and organizations. Students who did not like what they were doing last year should make a change. Try something new. It’s impossible to know if something is liked, until it is tried.
  1. Start looking into scholarships. They are out there for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Write down the deadlines and stay on top of them. Don’t wait to see how much school costs. Scholarships are always good. They are free money. International College Counselors Annual Scholarship for 9th-11th graders is already open and accepting applications.
  1. Make a commitment to work hard for the good grades. If help is needed, seek that help before falling behind.
  1. Do the homework and try hard whether the teacher and the class are liked or not. Like all people, some will be better than others. It’s good practice for a future career to try to get along with people of all types. Plus, teachers are where college recommendation letters come from.
  1. Build a great vocabulary. READ. READ. READ. Doing well on the PSAT, ACT and SAT all require a good vocabulary. It is much easier to build this slowly and naturally than to cram it. Reading will also help with writing, thinking and speaking.
  1. Stay organized. One of the easiest ways to keep from getting stressed is to keep everything organized. Organized people can avoid those feelings of dread that they missed an exam or homework assignment.
  1. Work on a unique skill or develop a unique mindset. Determine to be really good at something, and set aside some time for it each week. Expand personal knowledge by surfing wherever current whims and inspirations may lead: become an expert on the Black Plague or knot tying. Learn to make sushi. Learning new things can be fun and exciting.
  1. Don’t put anything on social media that is embarrassing or even potentially embarrassing. Give it the grandma check. If a post is not something grandma (or the admissions director of a favorite college) should see or read, don’t post it.
  1. Make smart decisions on alcohol, sex and drugs. And don’t text and drive or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One dumb mistake can lead to a ruined life.
  1. Maintain a positive attitude. Not just at the beginning of the year, but all the way through it. Positivity will help with your personal relationships and towards getting things done.
  1. Be nice to the parents. They mean well and want the best.