Thanksgiving break acts as a reminder of the semester’s impending close. To ensure that the final weeks of class are as stress-free as possible, you can start being proactive now. Make the upcoming weeks and months much more enjoyable by taking the following steps:
1. Schedule a campus visit
No matter what year in high school you are in, you can certainly benefit from getting a jumpstart on college tours. You do not have to go and visit the campus before Thanksgiving break; just make rough plans to do so at a later date.
Pencil in a potential date, or range of dates, in your agenda and look into how you will get to your destination. If the school is several hours away, you will probably want to stay overnight at a hotel in the area. Contact the school’s admissions office to ensure someone will be able to give you a proper tour.
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While you might consider roaming the campus yourself, you are likely to miss out on ample information that only a tour guide can supply.
2. Determine where your grades stand
Once Thanksgiving break comes to an end, there will only be a few weeks left in the semester. One of those weeks may be dedicated entirely to final exams. Therefore, if you are unsure of where your class grades stand, now is the time to find out.
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Refer to your course syllabi to get a feel for the percentage breakdown; most of the time, high school teachers calculate final grades based on homework, participation, attendance, and tests/quizzes. Projects and lab reports may be factored in as well, depending on the type of class it is.
Be sure to talk to your teachers if you feel in the dark about grading procedures. By asking questions, you can get a sense of how well you must perform in the remaining weeks in order to receive a certain grade. Use your current average to motivate yourself to do better.
3. Start preparing for finals
The period between Thanksgiving and winter break is a hectic time for students and teachers alike. You may be scrambling to turn in late assignments or working on extra credit to boost your grade. As such, it can serve you well to start preparing for finals in advance.
Finals preparation does not have to involve deep studying right away—rather, you can start by organizing loose papers, catching up on any notes you missed, reserving a quiet study space, attending extra help sessions, making flashcards, and more.
There is no single right way to get ready for final exams; everyone has a different approach. The key is to make your life easier through baby steps so that you are not overwhelmed later on.
4. Plan a productive winter break
Have you thought about how you will spend your winter break this year? There are many options to choose from. Maybe you will go on a vacation to the tropics, reorganize your bedroom, or spend a lot of time at the gym. After all, winter break is supposed to be an opportunity for students to kick back and recharge their batteries!
You should certainly set aside time for rest and relaxation during the holiday break. However, you could also use some of this free time to your academic advantage. Why not visit a museum on your getaway or volunteer for a few hours at a soup kitchen? There is no reason why you cannot both learn and lounge.
Get started now on college planning and final exams. Although this may be a dreadful thought, you are sure to save yourself some headache later.
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized experiences to accelerate academic achievement.