It is hard to believe that four years of high school are behind me, and that I now stand at the very edge of uncertainty, challenge, and adventure. Despite any difficulty I may have encountered, my high school experience was fortunately a joyous one, marked with fond memories and treasured friendships.
I hope you too are enjoying all that high school can offer, but also that you are making good use of your time there. While it is important to have fun and enjoy your high school years, any amount of preparation for the inevitable leap into the adult world is a good idea. Drawing on my own experience and mishaps as I prepared for life after high school, I’ve compiled a list of the top five goals every high school student should set for themselves, no matter where they’re headed after high school.
Join a club/organization or sports team
It’s what you’ve been told since the first day of high school: GET INVOLVED. Extracurriculars introduce you to an eclectic mix of people, but they also look great on a college application and help develop social skills. Demonstrating that you have a passion for something, be it football or glee club, gives colleges and employers a look at the person behind the GPA and standardized test scores. Plus, learning to work well with others and stay committed to a task are invaluable life lessons.
It seems like a given, but neglecting to turn in a few assignments here and there can seriously jeopardize your grade point average and your chances of landing the job offer or college acceptance of your dreams. I’ve talked to countless classmates who, while battling a bout of senior-itis (or junior-itis, or sophomore-itis, for that matter), decided against studying for an important test or handing in a weighty assignment. The result was either (1) that their GPAs never fully recovered, resulting in lost scholarships or college acceptances, or (2) they were forced to work extra hard during the final semester of their senior years to hoist their grades back up. So don’t put yourself through that kind of anxiety: stay on top of your studies and keep your grades consistent. That way, while your less-advised classmates are freaking out over some missing assignments, you can kick back and enjoy your last few months of high school.Volunteer!
Sure, maybe you’re a math whiz or basketball prodigy. But if you don’t put in your time giving back to the community, admissions officers are going to frown upon your application. Volunteer work is unique in that it demonstrates your character, where you stand when it comes to helping those in need. Many times, students get so caught up in grades and school-related activities that they forget about all the volunteer opportunities available. Don’t let this happen to you. Look into volunteer services offered by your church, animal shelter, food pantry, or annual benefits in your area. Giving back to the community through volunteer work is another way to show colleges and coworkers the person behind the grades, and it beautifies the world in which you live.Find a balance in your activities
Don’t just focus all of your energy on schoolwork, athletics, or volunteering, as colleges look for a balance among these activities. No matter what a college’s average ACT score is, they are looking for well-rounded people. Be sure to devote just as much time to studying as practicing for the next big game or volunteering at the animal shelter. Demonstrating to institutions of higher learning that you can handle multiple commitments shows you are capable of handling the rigors of college life and beyond.And finally...
Don’t forget to have some fun! Live every high school moment to its fullest, because what you’ve heard is true: these four years will fly by.
By keeping the above list in mind and immersing yourself fully in the transformative and exciting high school journey, you will be well-prepared for whatever the future holds.