What I Wish I Knew When Graduating High School

The following is a guest post written by Tiffany Sorensen, a tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors.

Congratulations on graduating high school! Sure, you may feel tired of being lectured by your elders on what to do next—but for me, there are a few little pieces of advice I wish someone had given me during my last months of high school. You may be surprised by what they are...    

1. I should maintain a professional network

Depending on the experience you had, you may look at high school as a chapter of your life you would like to close. But the truth is that you will probably be thankful if you maintain relationships with certain teachers, advisors, and coaches from high school. Networking is an excellent way to land jobs and internships both during college and after. For instance, I was glad that I stayed in touched with my Spanish teachers from high school because they informed me of district openings for substitute teachers. One teacher even wrote a recommendation on my behalf, which I am fairly certain helped me to secure the job.

Having to transfer colleges is not a situation most students want to imagine. However, this is a reality for nearly one-third of college students; it was a reality for me, too. Transfer applications often require recommendations from high school teachers. For this reason also, it is wise to keep in communication with instructors from your high school. You may be able to ask college professors from your first school for recommendations, but you should only do that if you feel they know you well enough to fairly discuss your academic abilities.

2. I should not agonize over low grades or SAT scores

At this point, there is no sense in torturing yourself over grades or test scores you wish would have been higher. Most likely, you have already received admissions decisions and have accepted or declined those offers. Look at college as a fresh start: a blank canvas you can make into anything you like. You will have a chance to rebuild your GPA from scratch, and if you apply to graduate school later on, those schools will be interested in a different standardized test score; the SAT will not be as relevant as it once was for you. Depending on the program you apply for, you will likely have to take the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, or another exam—but you have plenty of time before you need to think about that!  

3. I should make the most of the summer

Many of my classmates spent the summer after graduating high school preparing for their first semester of college. This included reading books about college life, shopping for cool gadgets for their dorm rooms, etc. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to arrive ready for college, you will never be totally prepared for this big step in your life until you actually live it. Reading college students’ blogs is vastly different from experiencing college first-hand. Your first week at college may feel like a culture shock, but you are sure to get into the groove before you know it. Just believe in yourself.

[RELATED: What I Wish I Knew Before My First College Class]

I was pleased that I decided to enjoy to the utmost my last summer before college. For me, this meant spending time with my classmates at graduation and farewell get-togethers, as well as doing some traveling. I went to Europe with my siblings for the first time and was able to practice my Spanish naturally with native speakers. I took classes and worked internships during my summers in college, so I would not have had the time to see my high school friends at that point. It is normal to grow apart, move away, and go down different paths, so this might be your last chance to see high school friends regularly. Take advantage of it.

These three simple suggestions can help you have an enjoyable and gratifying break before it is time to start college. Maybe you were expecting the advice to solely be college study tips, but keeping in touch, having a healthy outlook, and using your time wisely is just as important as academics.

Check out Tiffany’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.