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Fall 2012 Must-Dos for High School Students

Fall 2012 Must-Dos for High School Students

Check out what you need to get accomplished during your first semester.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

August 17, 2012

Last spring, we identified the must-dos for students in high school at all grade levels, and what better way to start the new school year than similar guidance for the fall. The start of the school year provides a clean slate – so brush off last year if it wasn’t so stellar or build off of it if it was particularly spectacular. Either way, you’ve got a few things to get done – so get started now!

High School Freshmen

As you walk through the doors of your new high school, the farthest thing from your mind is most likely stepping foot on a college campus for the first time. But it’s going to happen, and four years goes by pretty fast – just ask the upperclassmen.

In light of that, do just a few things to establish a firm foundation as a high school student. This might be obvious, but work hard and stay attentive during class. The goal for sophomore year is to start honors classes so push yourself and get used to the pace of high school learning sooner rather than later.

Experiment with extracurricular activities. Chances are your high school has way more extracurricular opportunities than your middle school. Take advantage of this and attend informational sessions or inaugural meetings to see if a new club or organization might be of interest.

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The more extracurricular activities on your resume, in addition to an awesome GPA, shows colleges that you’re ready for the time management demanded of college students.

High School Sophomores

Last year was a learning experience for you, and you either learned from mistakes or discovered that you’ve got it all figured. This year, capitalize on those lessons learned through participation in class, diligence in homework and commitment to extracurricular activities.

But give equal importance to the elephant in the room this year: the start of standardized testing. While you’re not ready for the SAT or ACT, it’s time to start gearing up with the PSAT, offered this year nationally on October 17 and October 20, as well as the PLAN, which will be administered by your school on a date specified by the school administration.

These tests can help determine a lot for you, like which is best suited for your college applications. Some students perform better on the SAT than the ACT and vice versa, and these tests are indicative of which will paint you in the best light. In addition to the practice you’ll no doubt do in the classroom, prepare on your own as well, i.e. start taking practice tests now.

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