If your first instinct is to wish away the days until high school is over and college begins, think again. Even if your standardized tests are done, your college applications are turned in, and you possibly know the university you are going to attend, your last semester of high school can still be one of the most important! Make sure you maximize it.
1. Plan ahead
With the right preparation, you can ensure that every move you make in college, from the moment you step on campus, helps you reach your goals. Take your last semester of high school to look at the different types of degrees your future college, or some of your college choices, offer. If you are certain of the school you are attending, research degree requirements and start a very rough schedule of the classes you will need to take to graduate.
2. Refine your study skills
College work will no doubt be more difficult than that of your high school classes. Instead of blowing off assignments your last semester, consider them practice for the more difficult work that lies ahead. Even if your teacher provides notes in class, try taking notes on your own and finding which style works best for you—this may help you learn how to take notes in a college lecture later on! Practice studying for tests in different ways, or polish your essay skills with an essay editing tutor so you are prepared for your future classes.
3. Expand your interests
Regardless of what school you plan on attending, the opportunity for campus involvement will be plentiful. To make the most out of your college career, you will want to get involved on campus and find a passion. If you haven’t found your passion yet, or if you’re interested in expanding your interests, use your last semester of high school to explore your options. Try attending some after-school club meetings or playing on a sports team either for your school or for an outside league. Take a class that seems intriguing, even if it’s out of your usual realm of experience.
4. Find a part-time job
The truth is, college can be expensive. Between your books, food, and brand new living expenses, the extra costs add up. Use your last semester of high school to build up your savings so you can enter college with some extra spending money. As an added bonus, try to find a job that is related to the field you want to study in college—this can help you get some early experience and decide if it is the right choice for you.
5. Get some real-world skills
For most students, their first year in college is the first time that they’ve truly been on their own. While there is no shame in not knowing how to do your own laundry, it can only help to learn early (hint: don’t mix whites and reds!). Brush up on some basic cooking skills while you are still at home so you will be prepared to make your own meals. If you will have your car on campus, learn some basic repair skills such as how to change a tire or check tire pressure. Your parents or guardians may only be a phone call away while you’re at school, but it’s best to avoid a major freak-out by learning these skills while you still have your family right next to you.
6. Make the most of your time with friends and family
Whether you are leaving the state for school or staying in your city, big changes are going to come. Use your last semester to enjoy the time you have with your high school friends. Although you will make tons of new friends while attending college, your high school friendships are irreplaceable. Take this time to also appreciate your family. Many college students will tell you that once you are away from home, you really realize how much your family matters. Don’t wait until your first semester of college to recognize this!
Think of your last semester of high school as a chance to complete your “lasts” and start some “firsts.” Make the most of your last semester by enjoying it with family and friends, but also use this time to prepare for your college career.