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My New Year Resolution Essay Student Life

The New Year is a great time to reflect on the changes we want to or need to make. If you’re a student looking at ways to improve yourself and make the transition to college easier, International College Counselors offers a few more resolutions you might want to add to your list.

1. Stop procrastinating. How often have you underestimated how much time it will take to get something done? Then, how sad are you when you don’t have the time to do your best. At some point, the procrastinator has to write four college essays in one night – on top of completing schoolwork. Usually, this doesn’t turn out so well. If you finish a project earlier than you thought you would, then consider yourself ahead.

2. Commit yourself to getting good grades. Good grades are entirely necessary to get into a good school unless you’re a top notch athlete. The best case scenario is that you have good grades from the beginning. However, if you start off badly and improve your grades, colleges will give you points for this. Many admissions officers won’t look at your application if your grades are too low or show a steady decline. Spending a night studying while your friends play Wii may not excite you, but you need to look at this long-term. Think of it this way, grades are a bridge. They will serve you to get into a college where you will have more freedom. In college, grades may not be as important as in high school.

3. Don’t do it all. It’s better to concentrate on a few things and excel in them than if you join every sport, activity and club that you can cram into your schedule. Anyone can join 10 clubs and be marginally involved in them all. Schools are looking for commitment that shows you’re willing to stick with something and make the most of it.

4. Keep a calendar. Deadlines creep up quickly. And the closer the date, the more you’ll feel the pressure. Most students don’t do their best under pressure. And colleges, scholarships, federal aid, and standardized testing services are not going to be sympathetic to any excuses you have about missing a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you miss an opportunity.

5. Take standardized tests early. You won’t know how high you can score until you take the test. Wait too long and you won’t have enough time to retake it. And many things can affect your test score on any given day, including the state of your health, and you can’t plan not to get the flu or food poisoning. Taking the test early will also allow time to take a test prep course if necessary.

6. Do your research. Know what the choices are when it comes to colleges. This way you can avoid any coulda, shoulda, woulda regrets later in life. Research could be as simple as visiting a school’s website.

7. Try something new. High school is a great time to spread your wings. It’s about new experiences and self-discovery. Want a certain internship, there’s no harm in calling up and asking if they have any room for an eager high school student to work there. Want to try a new sport or activity, go ahead and try it. You’re not expected to leave high school knowing exactly what you want to do, but this is a chance to start narrowing down your interests. You’ll never know what you like – or how good you are at something – until you try something.

8. Be excited about going to college. Wherever you go to college, you’re going to meet new people, learn new things, and have a great time. That’s reason enough to be excited whether you end up attending a first choice school or a safety.

9. Do what your college counselor tells you. Students: We at International College Counselors are here to get you what you want out of life.

10. Banish the self-doubt. Doubting your own abilities only holds you back from achieving what you want to achieve. Just say no to these thoughts and others like them:

“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not as smart as my classmates.”
“I’ll never get better than a 2.7 grade-point average.”
“I’ll only get into a community college anyway”
“There’s no point in thinking I’ll get into my first choice college.”

HAPPY 2011!

Home » Academic Life » New Year’s Resolutions for Current High School Students

New Year’s Resolutions for Current High School Students

Posted by Carolyn Pippen on Friday, January 13, 2012

I love new beginnings.  I always make a note to seize any landmark moment or transitional time period to create productive change in my life.  This makes January one of my favorite times of year, because it gives me a chance to step back and assess what habits and mindsets need to be altered, eliminated, or strengthened in the coming year.

In the spirit of the season, I would like to suggest a few New Year’s Resolutions for high school students who find themselves eyeing college admissions, no matter what stage of the process they’re in right now.

Seniors:  All of our admissions deadlines have passed – along with the deadlines for most other universities as well – so for the vast majority of you who have completed this part of the process, congratulations!  Take a moment to commend yourself on all the work you put into your applications, and relax knowing that it is now out of your hands.  Begin working with your parents, guardians, and counselors on completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile for need-based financial aid.  Be sure to contact our financial aid office with any questions you have about these forms and deadlines.  In the meantime, do your best not to succumb to the tempting clutches of senioritis.  There is a strong possibility that we will be reviewing your grades and involvement throughout the semester, so buckle down and finish strong!

(A cautionary tale: my senior year of high school, I thought it would be a good idea to skip out on our final reading assignment, Siddhartha, since we weren’t being tested on it and I had already received my offer of admission from Vanderbilt.  Three months later, my first assignment as a college student was to read Siddhartha.  If we don’t catch you, karma will.)

Juniors:  If you have not already taken the SAT or ACT, sign up and begin studying now.  If you are not happy with your score, think about a retest.  Start researching the type of schools that interest you and build your application list.  Use your parents, your older siblings, your counselor, your teachers, the internet, and whatever other resources you have available.  Ask a ton of questions, and once you have the list narrowed down, VISIT VISIT VISIT.  There’s no better opportunity to accurately assess a school than setting foot on campus and talking to the people there.  Moreover, try not to let your grades slip – junior year is notoriously rigorous and downward grade trends are red flags in admissions offices – and pursue leadership opportunities in the activities you truly care about.

Sophomores:  Stay in close contact with your school counselor and make sure your course schedule is as rigorous moving forward as it can possibly be.  Keep an eye out for academic areas that you are really enjoying and make sure you are ready to take advantage of any honors, AP, IB, or dual credit opportunities available to you in those areas.  Keep getting involved, searching out those activities you truly care about and can see yourself dedicating time and energy to over the course of multiple years.

Freshmen:  Pat yourself on the back for making it through your first semester!  Make sure that you have hit the ground running in every area.  Let your teachers know that you are a serious student who’s going to make waves in the future.  Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your counselor and let him or her know what your goals are for these four years and beyond.  Try new things: sign up for clubs and organizations and activities and electives.  Now is the time to stick your toes in the water and find out what your true passions are.

Most importantly, to all of you – HAVE FUN!  You only get four years of high school, and they are years that you want to be able to look back on with fondness and pride.  While I hope you are all thinking about the future, never forget that the things you are involved in – the classes you take, the clubs you join, the people you help – are not just ways to build your resume, but ends in themselves.

By: Carolyn Pippen

Posted in Academic Life, Admissions Committee, Preparing for College and tagged: ACT, college visits, CSS Profile, FASFA, Financial Aid, New Year's Resolutions, Preparing for College, SAT, siddhartha, visit vanderbilt

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