blog | 4min Read
Published on March 11, 2021
High school can be very hard, but its new shift to online mode has made things way more complicated. However, luckily not much has changed when it comes to the measures one should be taking to ace that high school career. Even though “taking life as it comes” is a great motto way to live by, having a strategy enhances the results and brings in more certainty. Every year in high school can be uniquely challenging, so we at The Big Red Group have made a high school Checklist for you to have a smooth sail through these four years.
Freshman Year (9th Grade):
1. Study! Study! Study! Your grades now contribute to your overall GPA used for college admissions. And seeing the fact that it only gets harder and more rigorous in the senior years, it’s better to have had a strong background in your early years.
2. Get involved! You don’t have to join every club, but at least find one interest that you’re passionate about. Over the years, we have seen how college admissions officers stress upon taking one thing up early in your high school career and sticking to it throughout. This is a more reliable way to get your foot in the door at a prestigious college.
3. Identify your field of interest for a career or major through online research. Even though any “Liberal Arts” college will always have your back with their impressive flexibility in terms of courses. However, looking into it early on and being sure by the time you graduate from high school is not all bad either.
4. Start making a list of accomplishments, awards, and recognition you receive. Even though you can get to it at the twelfth hour in your senior year and still get it done, maintaining a list gives you a sense of accomplishment as well as a realistic idea of where you stand.
Sophomore Year (10th Grade):
1. Make use of your summer! Work, play sports, volunteer, or attend a summer school. Earning recognition, certificates, as well as new friends and connections through these experiences, pay off in the long run.
2. Begin attending college and career fairs or events. This would save you a lot of time in your senior year touring colleges and also give you a sense of the kind of surroundings you’d prefer during college.
3. Research funding for colleges including scholarships, grants, loans, etc. Some of us have the means of attending college without any of these and some of us don’t. In any case, this helps take the immense amount of load on your parents off their shoulders and would also open up many more college options for you that were previously out of your reach.
4. Consider taking a practice test to prepare for PSAT. Many of the schools that conduct SATs, do have PSAT for their freshman and sophomore students. However, if your school doesn’t, it’s not a bad idea to register for one and get a head start on the process.
Junior Year (11th Grade):
1. Build a resume with your list of activities, awards, and recognition. By this time in high school, we have a good sense of the extra as well as co-curricular activities that interest us and have taken part in enough of them to start building a resume.
2. Begin taking on leadership roles in your school council, extracurricular activities, or sports team. This would not only help you during your school life but help your college application stand out from the rest.
3. Decide and register for ACT/SAT. By this time, you’d have gotten a good idea of how the test works and it would be good for you to take an official test so that you could start thinking about a retest if the score doesn’t come as expected.
4. Learn more about Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular deadlines. In most cases, it’s best to apply early. So it would help you in your application process to start looking into it as early as you can.
Senior Year (12th Grade):
1. Make sure you’re set to complete all graduation requirements for both high school as well as the colleges you’re applying for. A good way to go about it would be to check the “requirements” section on their websites and not turn a blind eye to it until it’s very late.
2. Retake SAT/ACT if you feel you can get a better score! Do not worry about the number of retests because colleges don’t care about the number of attempts you took, just your best score!
3. Start requesting your teachers and guidance counselors early to write letters of recommendation. It can get very hard and hectic to get those letters when the entire senior class is rushing to get it done at the last minute.
4. Complete and submit college scholarship applications before the deadline! In most cases, colleges have their scholarship deadlines much before their regular and we don’t want to miss that at any cost.
5. Lastly, as college acceptance letters arrive, explore the campus, the financial aid package, and other things that matter to “you” and then make the right decision!
Share this checklist with your friends and family so they also have a clear idea of how to go about doing this and it turns into a cakewalk for them as well!