Tips for High School Students to Start the New Year

The school year is beginning and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with everything you have to do—identifying where your classes are located, organizing your folders and notebooks, and especially for juniors and seniors, thinking seriously about college. Here are some quick tips for high school students to start the new year off on the right foot. 

Set goals

Having aspirations for the future is important – attending college, having a future career, etc. However, it is also crucial to set realistic goals specifically for this school year. Do you need a certain grade point average to gain acceptance into your dream university, or perhaps need to take certain AP classes? You can also set goals for extracurricular activities, such as discovering an impressive internship or a volunteering opportunity. Write your goals down, be as specific as possible, and post them where you know you will see them every day.

Determine the most effective way for you to take notes

Note-taking is a valuable skill in both high school and college. As it turns out, there is more to taking class notes than you might think! Take the time to look for different note-taking strategies, such as using bullet points, writing in multiple colors, highlighting particular areas, using smartphone apps, etc. If you have not done so already, it would be highly encouraged to install Microsoft Office or another type of word processing software and see how it can enhance your notes. Here are three note-taking formats every student should try.

Assess your study habits

Everyone studies differently. Some students can easily focus on lengthy tasks in a solitary setting, while others flourish when working in groups. A new school year is the perfect time to evaluate and improve your study methods. If you found yourself distracted last year while studying, find a new study spot or eliminate the distractions around you. If you found yourself cramming the night before tests last year, make a point to set reminders for yourself to study earlier rather than later. Consider using a planner or calendar to organize important deadlines, as well as to manage large projects and assignments. These are some great tips on how to avoid study distractions.

Conquer procrastination

If you are somebody who frequently reschedules tasks for later, you are not alone – unfortunately, procrastination is a problem that plagues many students, but you can overcome it. There are several concrete methods to help ensure you do not procrastinate, so why not try out a few of them to start the new year? When facing a large and complicated task, like a term paper or college application essay, break it down into smaller and more manageable pieces, and use a to-do list to conquer them. If you find yourself procrastinating when faced with a minor task, ask yourself, “why?” Why exactly am I not doing this right now? Reward yourself when you finish work, rather than doing so before or in between the process. This can serve as excellent motivation. Here are a few of the best study habits you should have!

As you prepare to start the new year in the most productive way possible, think about what particular grade you are entering and how that affects your goals. Freshmen and sophomores, for example, should typically be more focused on adjusting to the new aspects of high school classes and attaining high grades. Juniors and seniors, on the other hand, will likely be more focused on paving their way to college; this should include visiting campuses, navigating applications, and taking the SAT or ACT. While the path is different each year for high school students, the way they walk it is similar. If you are able to get organized, move past procrastination, and develop strong study habits, the sky – or rather, your dream college – is the limit.

Best of luck in school as you start the new year!