It’s this time of the year again to go back to school. I’ve graduated high school in June 2013 and would like to share some tips with you about how to keep up good grades, apply to college and survive your senior year. Please, keep in mind that I went to an American school and applied to an American University, therefore, you might have or will have different experience studying and applying to colleges in your country. Now, let’s start with the tips.
My 10 tips to help you to survive this overwhelming time of the year and successfully apply to college or University.
Tip 1: Organize your time wisely. This was so important for me. By November 2013, I was struggling to balance my time between doing homework and applying to colleges. I was completely overwhelmed with the workload, so make sure you think about your time and schedule in advance. To be on track, I got myself a journal with a calendar, and I would write everything that I had to do during the day or a week, and then when I’ve completed that essay or written that speech I would check that off my list. This way you’re not going to forget any deadlines and you will be motivated to stay on track. Same tip works well for all the homeschoolers, just write down everything you need to do during the week and doing forget to check off the assignments that you’ve completed.
Please, let me know if you want me to do another post about my experience studying at an online school for a year.
Tip 2 : Take your SAT during your junior year or at the beginning of the senior year. I took my SAT only once, and it was in October, which I think is late, especially if it’s your first time taking the test. If you are going to apply to U.S colleges take your SAT as soon as possible (of course, keep in mind that you have to be prepared to take it). If you are ready to take SAT sign up for the nearest date, a good date is in September because you will get your results in October and if you don’t like them you can retake it again. The last recommended test date is in November. However, you need to inform the colleges you’re applying to that you took your SAT in November, and they will probably accept your results. Please keep in mind that most colleges have different deadlines, so make sure you don’t get late at submitting your materials. I prepared for the SAT by taking the official SAT course; it has definitely helped me to improve my score.
Tip 3: If you haven’t so by now, it’s time to look for colleges you want to apply to and settle with your list. I was changing my list throughout the application process, which I don’t recommend doing because it puts extra weight on your shoulders. You will have to adjust your calendar very frequently to gather all the required materials that specific college requires. Get very familiarized with your list. To stay very organized, you can take a separate piece of paper for each college you’re applying to and write down or type all their requirements. This will help you tremendously, trust me. Organization is the key in successfully applying to Universities or colleges.
Tip 4 : Ask questions. This is a general rule to be successful in life. If you don’t understand something that college requires you to complete, call or email to that college or ask your guidance counselor if you have one.
Tip 5: Don’t get yourself attached to just one college. I’ve seen this happen so many times when a student doesn’t get into his or her dream school and then gets so upset, sad and frustrated. I always wanted to go to NYU, but, unfortunately, I didn’t get in. However, I was mentally ready to accept any outcome because I knew that I’m going to get accepted somewhere, and everything is going to be ok. This mindset will make you feel less stressed if you will be facing a similar situation. Understand that colleges look through your application probably very quickly, and they have never met you in real life, so they don’t even know who you truly are. If they didn’t accept you that just means that they don’t deserve to have such an awesome student in their institution. Don’t take anything personally!
Always find the bright side in any situation.
Tip 6: Don’t let the pressure of your high school, society and guidance counselors make you very stressed. I remember how since my freshman year I heard about how hard it is to get into college, and you have to start thinking about it right away. I think this puts unnecessary pressure on students. It feels like if a person doesn’t get into college, it will be the end of the world, and it’s not the of the world if you didn’t get accepted or decide to just not go to college. I am not saying that you don’t have to do your best, you always need to do your best, what I am saying is you need to be calm and confident in your abilities. Stress can actually harm your body. If you’re interested in how stress affects our body go ahead and read “Why zebras don’t get ulcers” by Robert Sapolsky.
To relax yourself you can listen to calm music, meditate, paint, plan an instrument, watch a funny movie, go for a run, etc.
Tip 7: Enjoy your senior year. It’s your last year being a high schooler. Make some good memories with your friends. Take many photos! Nevertheless, if you hated your high school and didn’t have any good experiences being there, just think about how you will out of that place forever, and a new chapter of your life will begin soon. It’s all about your perspective!
Tip 8: Hard work always pays off but get good night sleep. Sleep is a crucial time for our bodies to recover and restore. Sleep deprivation will not improve your memorization skills and pulling an all-nighter will actually make you feel less ready to pass that upcoming exam or test. I know that sometimes you have to spend those extra hours completing an assignment but don’t make this your regular study habit.
Tip 9: Get your teachers’ recommendations and write your essay in advance. It’s very important to let your teacher know that you want a letter of recommendation, at least two weeks prior the time you really start needing it. Same goes with your essays, write your Common App essay and then spent a week or more just editing it and give it someone else to read and give you feedback. Try not to do anything the last minute. Writing your essays and getting your letter of recommendations at the beginning of your senior year are really good ideas!
Tip 10: And my final tip is to leave your high school with no feelings of regret. Whatever happened to you during your teenage years, leave it behind and enter the new phase of your life with an optimistic outlook. Mistakes make us grow and become stronger, don’t forget that. What happened in the past is forever gone. Whether you are going off to college or taking a gap year, remember to educate yourself, never stop learning. Good luck!
For those of you who are not a high school senior yet, my tips are to study hard, be kind, take care of yourself and think about your future but don’t get obsessed over it.
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