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College Admissions: 6 Things To Do Before School Starts

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

 

School will be in before you know it, and college-bound students should be getting ready now. Photo: Avolore/flickr.

The beginning of the school year is just around the corner. Rather than letting it creep up on you, take the bull by the horns and start strong.  A little planning can make the difference between a great year and a mediocre one. Here are a few things I suggest college-bound students do now.

1. Establish goals for the year.

What grades do you want to achieve? What activities do you want to participate in? What leadership roles are you striving to attain? How do you want to be viewed by your teachers? If you don’t set goals, you can’t really hope to excel in high school.

2. Plan your schedule for the week.

If you have sports or work after school, designate time for those activities and sufficient time for homework. Commit to the hours that you will study each night and on the weekends. Post your schedule in a highly visible place near where you do your school work.

3. Organize your study area.

Clean up last year’s items and store them. Stock your desk with new folders, notebooks, a calendar, highlighters, pens, a bulletin board, etc.

4. Review your extra-curricular activities.

Make certain that you have a continuous commitment to at least 4-5 clubs, sports, community service organizations, student government, visual or performing arts groups. Colleges want to see a demonstrated and consistent commitment to activities beginning in 9th grade. 11th grade is too late to begin your participation.

5. Explore and understand the resources available at your school or in your community if you face academic challenges this year.

Raise the red flag early if you stumble in any subject. Many schools have peer tutoring, teacher assistance after class, or academic support available to students who are struggling. Unfortunately, many students don’t take advantage of these resources.

6. Commit to turning off media devices when you study and when you sleep this year.

Most students try to study with texts and IMs coming in—and it isn’t effective. Study for 45 minutes at a time, then give yourself 15 minutes to check your messages, repeat. When it’s time for bed, shut off your computer screen and your phone. Too many students aren’t getting enough sleep because they are up past midnight on their media devices. The bottom line is that if you aren’t well rested, you can’t possibly reach your potential in the classroom.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.

 

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