High school is a hugely important time in your life, even if, as you grow older and move forward, it becomes nothing more than a passing memory. During high school, after all, you grow, develop, are wrought with hormones, and try to find your place in the world. Amidst all of this, there’s the stress of doing well and your entire future looming over you.
Like everything, success is found one step at a time. To take your high school career to the next level every year, use this guide:
In Your First Year of High School
The first year of high school is a good time to get your bearings. Rather than focus on being perfect, be messy. There’s time to clean up your grades and focus on your strategy later. For now, have fun.
Try New Things
Try out as many clubs and sports as you feel interested in. If you aren’t all too keen on them after you join up, feel free to quit. Use this time to try new things as much as possible to learn more about what everything entails and what you find interesting. This is also an excellent way to make friends!
Establish Good Habits
Now is the time to get into some good habits so you can better juggle all your interests and school. It’s also a good habit to learn when, how, and where to ask for help when you need it. Establishing good habits and building up a routine now will make it feel effortless once you get older and things get more stressful in the lead up to graduation.
In Your Second Year of High School
Your second year of high school is when you should get more focused.
Narrow Down Your Extracurriculars
In your second year of high school, you’ll want to get more serious about your studies and more focused on your extracurriculars. Rejoin only the clubs, sports, or projects you are really passionate about. The goal now is to start committing more to less.
Branch Out into the Working World
You’ll also want to dip your toe into the working world. This can be done by volunteering or interning. You can find options through your school, community, or friends and family. Many schools require students to do a certain number of volunteer hours before they graduate, so this is a good time to get started.
In Your Third Year of High School
The third year of high school is when you need to start your university application strategy.
Set Your Sights on University
When it comes to creating a shortlist of universities, know that it’s best to look at the program first and the university second. While you want them both to be great, a top-tier program in a niche field may not be found at a high-ranking university. Similarly, a program that’s slightly better may not come with the same amenities or on-campus opportunities. Find options that strike a balance and make those your goals.
Understand the Benchmark
It’s one thing to try your best. It’s another thing to beat the best. That’s why it’s important to know what the average grades are for the students currently attending your dream university. This will usually be higher than the standard admission requirement. In order to give yourself a fighting chance, always try to exceed the current average. If you click here, for example, you’ll find that though the average SAT score for Stanford students is 1480, to stand out you’ll need 1580. The same goes for the GPA. The average is 3.95, so to stand out, you’ll need to blow that number out of the water.
In Your Final Year of High School
Your final year of university should be primarily dedicated to getting the best grades and excelling in a few extracurriculars. This is because you’ll be taking the SAT or ACT, touring universities, and making your applications. Thanks to all the hard work you’ve put in so far, you’ll have everything you’ll need to help your application stand out.