Tips for your High School Years

High school is one of those places that are exciting to think of as a middle schooler. Those currently facing the high school years, like I am, realize the long and drawled out process it can be. But, the end of the ‘best years of your life’ will be over until a new endeavor starts. Before even thinking about that, though, listed are certain steps I suggest you accomplish before that grade level ends. Trust me, you’ll be ahead of many in your class and will prevent the “I have no idea,” answer in senior year.

(This is all on the U.S. grade system. For those in the Dutch system, it will be equivalent to forms 1-4. In the UK, this is equivalent to years 10-13.)

9th grade:

  • Take honors classes or even a DE or AP class if available.
  • Make a list of hobbies and find out what you may want to do in the future after graduating from high school.
  • Do your homework! This is great practice for more strenuous work in higher grade levels and even better practice for college.
  • If you want to graduate with honors or honors with distinction (why not?) look at your school’s handbook and see the requirements. Some schools require additional electives, AP and DE courses or, more foreign language classes.
  • Join clubs at school before junior year, this way it doesn’t look like you’re trying to do so for college acceptance!

10th grade:

  •  Research colleges that you want to go to and look at their undergraduate majors! Going to college fairs is a great opportunity for you and your parents to explore them together!
  • Talk with your parents about college and what fits your family regarding location, scholarships, etc.
  • Take more honors and AP/DE classes at school.
  • Join clubs at school before your junior and senior year! Seek officer positions in organizations.
  • Start practicing and even taking an SAT or ACT the summer before junior year.

11th grade:

  • Know what you want to major in and have five colleges on your list. Don’t forget to schedule tours and talk to current students!
  • Take honors and AP/DE classes at school.
  • Take the SAT and ACT. Take both at least once. When you receive the results, then decide which is best for you. Continue taking and practicing them.
  • Seek officer positions in clubs.

12th grade:

  • The summer before senior year, write all your essays for your colleges and apply! The more you get done, the sooner you can ask for recommendation forms and submit them!
  • Send out applications by October/November. Make this your deadline if your chosen college has a later one. This way everything is out of your hair!
  • Participate in overnight college visits!
  • Take honors and AP/DE classes. Make your schedule challenging but bearable. Don’t bury yourself in senioritis and stress!
  • Take the SAT or ACT to reach your score goal. Remember, your score goal should attain your admission to the college and honors program as well as scholarships.
  • Seek officer positions in clubs and part-time jobs.

I was given this advice many times during my high school years, and now, I’m going to give you the same: cherish these moments.


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