7 Tips Your Students Can Use to Start the Year off Right

ll high school students, from anxious new freshman to confident seniors, set their minds to making the most of the year. Four years may sound like a lot, but it’s a short time considering you’re setting the groundwork for the rest of your life. Goal: College!

Here are 7 ways to ensure this school year provides the best support for your future choices and opportunities:

1.  School course choices

Consider your courses and teachers and decide if you’re happy with your choices. Are you challenged? When college counselors see your schedule will they think you tried hard, applied yourself and took challenging courses?

It’s important to take challenging courses, but it’s just as important that you do well in them. Now is the time to switch classes if you need to; don’t wait until the first day of school when staff is busy, ask now. Remember that your senior schedule is usually the last thing that college admissions see before deciding if they want you at their school.

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2. School organizations

Look at your school’s clubs, activities, and student groups. The beginning of the school year is the best time for exploring interests. Once you decide what you want to try, find out how you can get involved in those organizations. Join at least two new student clubs or organizations. Plan on becoming more than just a “member” by junior or senior year. Elected positions look great on student resumes!  

3. Grades/ GPA

Make a commitment to yourself to work hard for the good grades.  If you need help, get it before you fall behind.

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4. Reading and Vocabulary

Build your vocabulary. READ. READ. READ. The PSAT, ACT and SAT all count on your having a good vocabulary, quick reading fluency, and comprehension. It is much easier to build this slowly and naturally than to cram it. Reading will also help your writing, thinking, and speaking.

5. College Visits

There are over 4,000 colleges in the United States. Students will need to narrow those down to a manageable list of 5-12 colleges for applications by the end of junior year. Visiting a couple of colleges during each year will give families time to see more, figure out what they want and don’t want in a school, and get on the college’s list of prospective students.

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6. Social Media

Don’t put anything on social media that would embarrass you if a college admissions officer sees it. (That might!)  Give it the grandma check. If you wouldn’t want grandma (or the admissions director of your #1 college) to see or read something, don’t post it.

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7. Life Choices

Make smart decisions on alcohol, sex, and drugs. And don’t text and drive or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  One dumb mistake can ruin your college prospects.

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Jolyn Brand is a certified teacher who holds a Master’s degree in education and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Higher Education. After years of experience teaching high school and college students, she began assisting with the college process. She’s the founder of Brand College Consulting and works with families across the Houston area and across the country virtually. She can be reached at https://brandcollegeconsulting.com/ or by calling (800) 940-6491.