1. Return your library booksYou might not have expected to see this item on your end-of-year to-do list. Nonetheless, it is a simple act of consideration that your high school librarians will thank you for. Returning library books ensures you are not pestered by bills sent to your house, and doing so can reduce clutter as well. This means one less pile to sort through before you leave for college. Some high schools may even prevent you from graduating until all books are returned, so be sure to check this item off your to-do list as soon as possible.
2. Secure extra copies of your transcriptIt cannot hurt to have a few copies of your high school transcript on hand. You may need them for upcoming scholarships, job applications, and internship opportunities. Although for these types of opportunities, the transcript usually must be official, sometimes an unofficial copy can be sent initially as a sort of placeholder. While it may be an unpleasant thought, be aware that about one-third of college students end up transferring schools. Transfer applications may require you to list certain courses you have taken, in addition to your GPA and dates of attendance. Entering all of this information is much easier if you can refer to a personal copy of your transcript.
3. Leave on the right noteWhile you might be eager to walk away from high school and never look back, the past tends to follow us around. You never know who you could run into later in life and how your past interactions could affect you. A high school classmate could end up being your co-worker or even boss! For this reason, it is best not to leave on a sour note, especially not with teachers and school administrators. Resist the urge to say how you really feel if that will jeopardize relationships. Look for the best in every relationship you formed during this period of your life.
4. Save moneyNow is the time to think about getting your finances in order and establishing sound habits. Definitely open a savings account if you do not already have one. If you work a part-time job, consider saving as much of your pay as you can (or at least a certain percentage of each paycheck). You may wish to save money you receive as graduation presents as well. In college, you may not have free time for a side job for a while. During freshman year, many college students choose to put the majority of their focus on adjusting to the rhythm and rigor of college-level work. As such, they may not pick up a job until their sophomore or junior years. If you save money now and over the summer, you will have some extra change for basic needs like food and personal products.
5. Investigate majorsAre you undecided about your college major or doubting the one you already selected? If so, rest assured knowing that you are far from being alone. You can also rest assured knowing that your current choice is not necessarily permanent; changing majors is fairly easy, and in fact, it is something many college students do at least once. Still, you should use your time now to look into some majors and careers that interest you. While changing your major early on is no big deal, it can become more of a headache if you try to change in your junior or senior year of college. Changing majors can imply having to take numerous additional classes and—you guessed it—paying more tuition. Investing a little time to follow these steps could make a big difference for you and your future. Something as easy as returning a library book or requesting a transcript can save you time and frustration in the long run. Enjoy your last few weeks of high school, but be productive, too!
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.