Entering high school can be overwhelming; you’ll have far more options and opportunities as well as greater expectations. The choices you make through high school will have an impact on your future education. It is important to choose wisely both classes and extracurricular activities so that you can enjoy your high school years.
Each year, try to increase your level of academic challenge in your coursework. However, while AP, IB, and honors level classes are impressive to universities, so are good grades? If taking every subject at the highest level will start to drop grades below a B, students should prioritize taking difficult classes in subjects they are either best at or most interested in. It may be better to have all as and a mix of AP and CP classes than Bs and Cs in all APs. When choosing classes, try not to be influenced by your friends; choose courses that are best suited to you. High school classes are challenging, and you should seek support before your grades tumble. Emailing teachers to set up time outside of class, looking into a school’s offerings such as lunch-time writing programs or TAs, utilizing free online study materials, or forming study groups with peers are all good ideas. Students can also hire tutors or take advantage of free local or virtual tutoring programs.
Extracurricular allow individuals to find and pursue activities that interest them. Examples include sports, clubs, volunteering, artistic pursuits, internships, and other hobbies. Try out any extracurricular that appeal to you, but remember depth of involvement is more important than quantity. Classes and extracurricular can help you discover where your passions and strengths lie. College admission officers look for depth of community involvement. Leadership roles are particularly appealing.
Have fun and take time for yourself
High school is not just about getting high grades and building an impressive resume. It is also a great time to make friends and explore engaging activities. Check out any school-run events that interest you, such as school dances, sports games, or rallies. There is no right way to enjoy high school, but with the sheer number of opportunities and requirements, doing too much can be overwhelming. Build in time to take care of yourself. Self-care looks different for everyone, but ideas include getting adequate sleep, setting a weekly TV night, reading before bedtime, hanging out with friends, cooking or baking, finding time to exercise, and making time to be with those you love.
Balancing classes, friends, extracurricular, and self-care time may seem daunting. For this reason, high school is a great time to learn how to create a schedule that works for you. Experimentation is key. While some students do homework best at night, others benefit from starting right after school. People need different amounts of time to complete assignments, so it is up to each student to discover when to start each project and how much time to devote to them. Finally, individuals crave different amounts of downtime and socialization. This delicate balance will change over time, but beginning to attune to this will have lifelong benefits.
The high school years provide the opportunity to develop many important life skills as well as an academic education. Make the most of these years by embracing the experience!