Back to School: 12 Tips to Start the High School Year Off Right

school bus
school bus
Hello last days of summer! Squeeze everything you can out of them. This coming year, high school students need to get serious. Every year counts – from the freshman year to the senior one. If college is your goal, you need to get the grades and scores, and reach the right levels in your extracurricular activities and community service.
To help start the school year right, International College Counselors made a general Top 12 Checklist.
1.  Evaluate all courses and teachers. You want to be sufficiently challenged, but not overwhelmed. Grades do count and you don’t want to be in over your head.   Now is the time to evaluate your courses, switch teachers, and decide if the right choices were made.
2. Get involved in clubs, activities, sports, etc. Explore your interests right from the start of the year. Join a new club or activity! Meet new people! Get involved! If you didn’t like what you were doing last year, make a change. It’s impossible to know if something is liked, until it’s tried. The goal is to find something you like to do and work your way to a leadership position.
3. Commit to working hard.  Grades count in the college admissions process. Big time. Commit to working hard and doing homework. If help is needed, seek it before falling behind.
4. Stay organized. Between multiple classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities, life can get stressful. One of the easiest ways to keep from getting stressed is to keep everything organized. Use a calendar or planner. Develop a binder system. Find the system that works for you.
5. Develop a unique skill or mindset. Make it your mission to get really good at something.  Set aside time for it each week. Become an expert on the Salem Witch Trials or origami. Learn to make sushi or conquer the stock market. Better yet, seek out internships or a mentor in your field of interest.
6. Explore and apply to scholarships.  Scholarships are available for students in all grades of high school. Research scholarship opportunities, apply to them, and don’t miss the deadlines. The International College Counselors Annual Scholarship for 9th-11thgraders will start accepting applications for its 2018-19 scholarship contest in October.
7. Build a great vocabulary. READ. READ. READ. To do well on the PSAT, ACT and SAT you need a good vocabulary and strong reading comprehension skills. It’s easier to build your vocabulary slowly and naturally than it is to cram it.
8. Be good with social media. It’s funny how many times students hear this but don’t listen. Don’t put anything on the Internet that is embarrassing or even potentially embarrassing. Don’t be racist, sexist or stupid. College admissions officers have been known to deny and rescind admissions offers based on controversial posts. We hear about kids who lost their chances every year because of something they posted. Here is a story of Harvard College students who learned the hard way.
9. Make smart decisions. Don’t text and drive, or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Underage drinking and illegal drug use is a serious offense. One dumb mistake can ruin your life.
10. Maintain a positive attitude.  All year round! Positivity helps with personal relationships and towards getting things done.
11. Get help. If you need help navigating the college admissions process, call us at International College Counselors. Need help on writing college essays or high school papers, contact our sister company, Edit the Work. We’re here to help.
12. Take time to relax. High school involves a great deal of work and can lead to stress, exhaustion, and burnout. Whether it’s doing yoga, going to a movie, or listening to music, it’s important to unwind.
For more information on starting the school year off right or for help managing the college admissions process, visit www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 1-954 414-9986.