Archive for the ‘High School Life & Advice’ Category
Beginning your senior year of high school is a whirlwind of emotions–excitement, fear, exhilaration, happiness, and maybe even a little sadness. It’s a very bittersweet time, and that makes focusing on schoolwork more of a chore than a thrill. Senioritis grips even the most diligent of students. Here are five ways you can avoid this dreaded “illness” and make your senior year count.
1. Know your enemy. Senioritis is a dramatically decreased sense of motivation towards homework, classes, and school in general. It makes sense, considering the number of years you’ve been in school and the amount of busy work you’ve completed. You’re over the mundane high school classroom scene. You’re ready for real life! You’re ready for fun. Essentially, your enemy is your impending acceptance to a more interesting establishment (college). You’re bored.
2. Find your enemy’s weakness. Senioritis cannot survive when you become more powerful than it is. Your creativity and imagination have the ability to conquer the hallways of boredom that are destroying your motivation. Get innovative. Gather study groups on a friend’s porch instead of preparing for the SAT alone. If you always take the essay route, choose the video production option for a final group project.
3. Make a plan of attack. Senioritis is sneaky and creeps up on you slowly. Fight back! Try the tips featured in Beat Senioritis! Beat Senioritis! Among other proactive things you can do, there is a bucket list option. How can anyone be bored and unmotivated when there’s a bucket list to be completed?! Making these sorts of plans will motivate you in other ways, too.
4. Get REAL. Nothing wakes you up in the morning like a cold shower. Nothing breaks your bout of Senioritis like a reality check. Take a look at tuition costs at your college and find a fun scholarship application to complete. Knowing you’ve got a more exciting and fulfilling future awaiting you at school will spark a fire under you to get moving! Don’t let these tuition reminders get you down. Yes, college is expensive, but there are tools to help you achieve your goals.
5. Make a peace offering to your enemy. Senioritis probably will not disappear completely. It is hard to stay focused when there are fun senior events and everyone seems to be finding a way to make this final year of high school memorable. Give in to that sentimentality – you’re only a senior once. Make time for the fun, relax after your final applications are sent, and embrace your stage in life. Then perk up! Because college is right around the corner, and pretty soon you’ll be a freshman again!
Today’s high school students are smart, and they dream big! Over the last ten years, more and more students are taking advanced placement exams in a variety of different areas, and more of them are scoring a 3 or higher! For those who are not familiar with AP scoring, students can score between 0 and 5, with 3 being the score needed to count the class for college credit. Not a bad deal!
According to the infographic created by Teach.com, 18% of high school students who take this test score a 3 or higher, with Washington D.C. having the lowest average (6.6%) and Maryland having the highest (27.9%). The data also indicates that the majority of test takers are women (66%). It may be surprising to learn that these exams aren’t only in typical high school subjects such as chemistry and U.S. government. AP courses include what many consider to be electives–computer science, calculus, music theory, microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and psychology, just to name a few. In addition to more students taking and “passing” these exams, the subjects offered for AP exams are becoming more plentiful, with Chinese, Japanese, studio art 2-D design portfolio, studio art 3-D design portfolio, and world history having been added in the past decade.
Not all students who are recommended to take an AP class actually take it. Possible explanations are concerns that the class may be too difficult, not enough time to dedicate to studying, or a lack of confidence that they can pass a college-level test. After all, students as young as fifteen and sixteen can begin taking AP classes. That’s a lot of work for a high school sophomore, but students may be surprised to learn some of the advantages to taking these tests.
What could taking an AP course in high school do for you? Well besides bragging rights, having a class count for college credit is very useful! It often means you don’t have to use your tuition money on a general course that everyone else has to take. It might mean that you have met a prerequisite that allows you to take a course you have more interest in! If you have taken many AP courses in high school and had them all count as college credit, you could actually start your second semester as a freshman as a first semester sophomore, which is a big deal when sophomores get to pick their classes first! Taking AP classes in high school will also better prepare you for your college career. When your fellow freshmen are struggling with their studies, you will have already learned the ropes. You’ll know how to handle your workload and how to take a college level exam before you even take your first steps on your college campus. Talk about a jump start to your degree!
The Rise of the AP:
Being a senior is a pretty big deal. You’re the oldest, the smartest, and before you know it, you’ll be emptying your locker and kissing the school buses and bells goodbye forever! Sure, you could sleep through your classes and skip days. You could take that early dismissal every chance you get. You could blow off your assignments and call it “senior-itis.” But is that really how you want to spend your last year?
This is your last chance to score the lead in the musicals, to make captain of your swim team, and to break personal records. This is your last opportunity to get to know your classmates before you all part ways and only see one another through the lens of a Facebook page. The time to make a difference is now. Here’s how you can hit the ground running this fall!
“It Ain’t Over till the Fat Lady Sings.”
It’s hard to care about high school academics when you’re so close to the end. It gets even harder when you have an acceptance letter in your hand, and your exciting future is quickly beginning to sketch itself right before your eyes! Hard as it may be, it’s crucial that you maintain your motivation and continue to work hard! The truth is, until you have that diploma in your hand, it isn’t over. There will be plenty of time to celebrate (like all summer) when you really have finished your journey! Don’t start the party too soon, as there can still be consequences.
Seize the Year
Since you’re here another year, you may as well make the very most of it. Even if you’re dying to get out, and you think you will never want to see these people or go through this experience again, there will be times you look back on it fondly. Don’t give yourself the chance to wonder if you missed out on an opportunity. Try out for cheerleading if you always wanted to. Go to homecoming, whether you have a date or not. Take an art class, just for the heck of it! Ask that guy or girl out! What do you really have to lose at this point?
Don’t Take Your Reputation Too Seriously
A year from now, you will be somewhere new, with a different life, and new friends to add to your old ones. Most of the people you see on a daily basis, you probably won’t see much, or ever again for that matter. Don’t waste your energy trying to impress the girls in the front row who made it clear back in elementary school that they don’t want to be your friend. Don’t spend the year trying to correct a rumor you once heard about yourself. You’ve got one year left, and it’s not worth it! Focus your energy on what you are going to do, and what you’re going to become! It’s your future that matters now.
If you’re like many high schoolers, at one point you had a vision: you and your best friend, boxes in hand and your parents a few yards behind you, stepping onto your college campus for the first time. You probably sat around a camp fire one summer, or on your bed listening to your favorite song one afternoon, and talked about the wild adventures the two, or three, or four of you would have all together in an eclectic college apartment as young adults facing the world on your own.
But more often than not, when the time comes to formally enroll, things change. You may have taken a shot at a dream school across the country, and in return, was awarded a great scholarship. You might decide you want to pursue a pre-med degree, a major that isn’t offered at the arts school you had all planned to attend.
Finding yourself in this position is extremely tough for high school students. On the one hand, you don’t want to disappoint your friends, or have them mad at you, especially now that you might not see them much in the next four years. On the other hand, this is your future, and you don’t want to compromise it for the sake of making someone else happy.
Here’s a few ways you can open up a dialogue with your best friend, or group of friends, about wanting to attend a school other than the one you had initially planned.
An Emphasis on Your Future
One of the most important aspects of this conversation will be about what you want for your future. By explaining everything you will personally gain from going to your college as opposed to the one you had planned with your friends, they are more likely to see your reasons for taking this opportunity. The best of friends will want what’s best for you, no matter what.
An Emphasis on Your Friendship
The other most important aspect of this conversation will be about how you plan to handle your friendships. Obviously, your friends don’t want to lose you. They won’t be happy to discover you won’t be embarking on the same journey as them. Have a couple of ideas prepared ahead of time, so when they ask you questions such as, “When will I see you?” or when they make statements such as, “We’ll never get to talk to you,” you have a response that will make them more accepting of the situation.
When Your Reasons Are Tricky
Sometimes your reasons for wanting to attend a different school than your friends are far more difficult to explain than something like “one has my major and the other doesn’t.” You might want to go to another school because you want this chance to be on your own. Maybe this decision was made because you want to break away from your friends. When this is the case, you may be better off by explaining that this is simply something you have to do, and that you hope they respect your decision. Again, trust that your true lifelong friends will understand.
Choosing to go to the same college as your high school best friend could be an incredibly fun experience you share and remember for the rest of your lives. It can also be what ends your friendship. It doesn’t matter how long you have been friends or how close you are, or how the ins and outs of your friendship work. The fact of the matter is, attending the same school as your best friend is a complex idea that deserves quite a bit of thinking. Certainly it can be done, but there’s a right way, and a wrong way. Check out these tips on how you and your best friends can attend the same school successfully!
Don’t Do Everything Together
People get sick of one another. Even if after ten years of friendship, and two week-long vacations together, you have never gotten sick of your best friend before, but if in college you do everything together, you will. This is why colleges tend not to match roommates with the same majors. Protect your friendship by rooming with other people, or taking classes at different times. Join different clubs. Eat meals with different people. This will ensure that you aren’t seeing too much of one another, and that you’re not growing dependent on each other.
Don’t Let Your Friendship Interfere with Your Social Life
Part of attending college is meeting new people and starting new relationships. Don’t let your friendship with your best friend hold you back from doing these things. If your high school friends are the only people you spend time with, or if you refuse to go to a club meeting or to get dinner without your best friend there, you’re missing out on one of the best opportunities college has to offer! Make sure that if you are attending the same school as your best friend that you both feel free to do your own thing with other friends in addition to one another.
Don’t Let Your Friendship Interfere with Your Future
College is all about preparing for your future. You will be given many opportunities such as the chance to become a resident assistant, to study abroad, or to take on an internship. You may find yourself wanting to transfer schools or switch majors so you can ensure that you’re receiving the best education for what you want to do. Don’t let your friendship with your best friend stop you from doing any of those things, as this can often lead to resentment. Make sure that you both feel free to pursue your dreams.
Don’t Let Your Friendship Hold You Back from Change
Nobody leaves for college and returns the same person. College is about identifying who you are and becoming comfortable with that. For many, this might mean letting go of high school, or becoming something other than what you were growing up in your home town. Keep in mind that your best friend will remember your past. Don’t let your friendship stop you from becoming the person you want to be.
As a high school student, the college search process can loom over your head for months because you don’t know where to start. A great place to begin is with your advisor or guidance counselor. They will have insider resources for you and will be able to give you accurate application advice since they will have access to your transcript.
Still bashful about approaching your advisor? Here are some questions to get you started!
Am I on track to graduate?
Your counselor will be able to look at your GPA (grade point average), the classes you have completed, and the ones you still need to take. They’ll be honest with you and outline what courses you still need to complete high school. Find this out sooner rather than later!
What electives or extra curricular activities do colleges appreciate the most?
High school guidance counselors look at college applications and requirements ALL. THE. TIME. They will definitely know what types of activities schools enjoy seeing outside of academic performance.
What is the difference between AP, IB, and Honors classes?
These courses are different, and you could end up graduating with some college credit already tucked away in your back pocket after taking some of them. If your school offers these specialty classes, find out from your counselor if they think it is worth it to take some to increase your chances at particular colleges or universities.
What schools are similar to my current choices?
If you go into your advisor’s office with a few options – schools you are considering or that appeal to you already – he or she should be able to find other schools that are similar. You’ll probably find out about schools you didn’t know existed and be able to give yourself more options come application time.
Are there past students who have gone to my school of choice?
See if your guidance counselor remembers students in the past couple of years who ended up attending the same schools you are considering. It is always very helpful to talk to a current student at your potential university – they will have the inside scoop on what campus life is like. Your counselor may be able to connect you to these students for advice or a visit!
College is fast approaching! While you’re loving the idea of being out on your own and having a flexible schedule, your mother is practically in tears that you’ll be moving away. She’s probably pointed out that she’s seen you nearly everyday for the last eighteen years! She carried you in her womb for nine months! She held you when you were moments old, took care of you when you were sick, and came to your bed when there were monsters!
Being a mom is part of who she is! It’s normal for her to be a little sad within all the happiness of you being an adult and about to take the next step in your education. While your summer may be busier than a doctor’s office in flu season, setting aside a few afternoons just to hang out with mom will mean the world to her! Check out these summer activities for some mother-daughter time.
Make a Lunch Date
When was the last time you and your mom had coffee or lunch together, just the two of you? Take two hours to sit down over some french fries or a latte and discuss whatever is on your minds! Having one-on-one time with Mom before leaving for school will increase your chances of maintaining your friendship during college.
Head to the Mall
You’re not too old for back-to-school clothes, and mom’s the perfect person to bring along! While your friends may think you look cute in everything, mom will be the one to speak her mind on a dress that looks completely ridiculous. In the midst of your wardrobe exploration, come up with a game! Choose one silly article of clothing for each other to try on and take pictures! Have a contest to see who can find the ugliest pair of shoes in their aisle. A little harmless mischief with mom can be some of your fondest memories with her!
Spend an afternoon with your mom at a salon getting your nails or hair done, or do it at home yourself. Perhaps your mom has three other kids and a full-time job, and doesn’t get out often to do these kinds of activities. Maybe your mom really likes how you do your makeup and would like a few pointers. By bonding over “girl stuff,” you and mom are relating on a “friend” level, which will be very important to your mother-daughter relationship in your adult life.
Schedule a Movie Night
Reserve a night where you and mom can each pick one of your favorite movies to watch. Grab the take-out menu, or make your own snacks, and cozy up on the couch in some comfortable clothes. While watching your mom’s favorite movie, think about why it’s her favorite. Sometimes just by knowing someone’s favorite songs, movies, or books, we can tell a lot about a person. What does this movie tell you about your mom?
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Throughout your college application process, utilizing your family can be a great way to ensure that you apply to, and pick, the perfect school. Family members know you very well, may have insightful thoughts on which schools you should consider, and can be great company on college campus tours. Although you may be ready to conquer the world on your own, listening to your family and working together will help the process run very smoothly. They’ve been in your shoes, and they know what to expect!
To Stay In State, or Not To Stay In State
You have a big decision to make here. When you start your selection process, consider the following: Do you want to be within driving distance from your family? Do you want to go far away? Is distance from home important to you? Or does it not matter how far it is, if it’s the right school? While some students find comfort in having family close by, others may see going to college as an opportunity to venture out fully on their own. Understanding what proximity you want to your family can help narrow down the list of which schools are the best options for you.
For students who live in states with good public universities, applying only to these colleges may seem like a smart option to parents who are helping pay tuition. Though it narrows down the range of your decision, talking through this idea with your family can ensure that you understand their point of view and the reasons they think it is a viable option for you both financially and academically. Parents may like the idea that you can get a great education at a lower cost, and this is something to consider when making your college decision.
Lets Hear It For The Alma Mater!
Did your parents meet in college? Is your sister always raving about how much she loves her school? Were you raised as a diehard college football fan? These schools are a great option for you, too!
College pride can run deep within families, and you may be encouraged to apply to the alma maters of your parents and siblings. These schools may seem desirable to you because of the great stories you’ve heard about them over the years. If they fit the criteria of what you want out of your college experience (research the different majors, student life, and campus culture when making this decision), it’s a great way to start a new family tradition. Many schools like the idea of creating a legacy within families, and having family members who are alumni will be noted on your application. Sharing college spirit with your family can keep you connected after you’ve moved away from home and give you something you can enjoy together. You’ll love walking around campus with your mom as she tells you all about her college experience thirty years ago, and she’ll love watching you have as great of a time as she did.
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You know that having leadership roles on your resume looks good to potential colleges, but have you ever thought about why? After all, not everyone wants to be a leader. Not everyone wants to own their own business, supervise a team, or have authority over anyone else. So why is indicating leadership important on a college application? Here’s some of the reasons why your job as secretary of the photography club, or editor of the school newspaper can indicate you’re ready for college!
You Have Interests
If you’re acting in a leadership role for a club or organization, you probably have an interest in that area. You care about something enough that you’re taking time out of your life to fulfill that passion. As the secretary of the photography club, you want your voice to be heard when it comes to deciding on issues relating to your group. As the editor of the school newspaper, you care about the finished product.
College students are expected to have a passion for their field. They are expected to care about issues related to their future career. Sometimes they’re expected to have to sacrifice an afternoon game of football or a Saturday night dinner with friends for the sake of finishing up a major project. If you’re the leader of a club, you’ve got what it takes to pick a major that interests you and run with it.
You Can Handle An Intense Schedule
As a leader in high school, you know how to manage your time and balance your schedule. In addition to the hours spent at school, doing homework, and hanging out with friends, you have the responsibility of managing an after-school activity. You’ve taken on more work than the typical high school student.
In college, your classes will be at all different times. You’ll have more homework than you have now. In addition, nobody is going to make you go to class or do your homework. Your professors won’t tell you when to start studying for a test. Your parents won’t tell you when it’s time to eat. Your schedule and your workload are in your own hands. It’s up to you to make it work. If you’re managing a complicated schedule in high school, you’ll be more likely able to handle yourself well in college.
You Go Above and Beyond
By taking on a leadership role in high school, you’re doing more than you have to do as a high school student, because you want to. For one reason or another, you chose to take on more responsibilities and more work.
In college, it’s all about self-motivation. You don’t have to go to college. Your grades will be what you make them, and your career will be what you make it. If you’re willing to go above and beyond in high school, you show a lot of promise in college!
With that being said, leadership roles are not the only ways to get into college, nor are they a guarantee.
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As a high school graduate preparing for college in August, whether you know it yet or not, your life is about to change! There’s a big difference between life as a high school senior and life as a college freshman. Even those who loved high school and are reluctant to leave can enjoy college even more! Here are five things you can look forward to about your college education this Fall!
In high school, you had a very set schedule, and not much control over it. Your school day began and ended at a particular time. Your parents might have made tacos for dinner every Tuesday for as long as you can remember. You’ve probably spent weekends being dragged to department stores and family parties instead of being able to do what you wanted.
In college, for the most part, you can choose when you want to take classes. You decide when and where you want to study. It’s up to you to determine when and what you want to eat for every meal. You’re in control, and at 17 or 18 years old, you’re ready for it!
The Chance to Be a Rock Star
Between middle school and high school, you’ve had to take science, math, English, social studies, home economics, gym, technology, music, and art. Some of those things you were great at, while others you struggled with. Some subjects bored you to tears. In college, most of the classes you take will be what you’re good at and what interests you, making you feel like a rock star!
In college, you’ll meet new people unlike the people you’ve known your whole life. There will be people from other parts of the country and other parts of the world, all with different beliefs, expressions, values, experiences, and ways of having fun! In addition to all of your high school pals, you’ll have a whole different group of people to hang out with.
Because college is a place where people from all over gather to learn, you’ll find college has a lot more opportunities than high school to learn and try new things. Your college might offer snow shoeing, ice skating, and Irish dancing as physical education courses. Your dining hall may serve meals from other countries, as well as gluten-free and vegan options. There will be clubs on campus that support a variety of different political parties. In college, you’ll have the chance to try so many things you’ve never had the opportunity to try before.
A Fresh Start
As a college freshman, you may be the last to pick your classes and you may be too young to live off campus, but you also have the most time ahead of you to seize opportunities and make your mark. You have a clean slate in which you can do and become anything. You have your whole college career ahead of you. Your road is only beginning!
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