Archive for the ‘High School Life & Advice’ Category

Your Sophomore Year: The Back-to-School Checklist

When you head back to school this month, you’re no longer a lowly freshman who doesn’t know the campus, doesn’t have a set group of friends, and isn’t too self-assured. You’re a sophomore now, and while that brings the relief of no longer being the new kid on the block, it does mean it’s time to get moving on your college search. Here’s your checklist for sophomore year.

Highschool friends hanging out in the hallway.

Get Involved
Didn’t join a club, sports team, or extracurricular activity last year? No problem – you’ve still got time. Make sure you get involved with at least one after-school program this fall. Not only will it keep you busy and look good during the college admissions process, it’ll also allow you to meet some new people and expand your social circle.

Think About Community Service
Between homework, friends, and that club you’re supposed to be thinking about joining, it can be hard to make time for civic engagement. But getting more involved with your community has tons of perks – including looking great on college applications! You don’t have to stretch yourself, either. Plenty of volunteer organizations are happy for teens to help out just a few days a month!

Land an After-School Job
A part-time job teaches you responsibility, puts you in touch with great contacts, and also shows admissions counselors you know how to prioritize and manage your time. Bonus: Working after school also lets you save some money for college and scale back on student loans.

What else are you doing sophomore year? Let us know!

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Your Freshman Year: Start Your College Plans Now!

The beginning of freshman year is right around the corner. Four years seems like a long time, but trust us – high school will be over before you know it. Sure, that’s a good thing (you’ll be headed to college after graduation!), but it also means you need to start thinking about the future right away. What should you put on your to-do list?

Highschool friends hanging out in the hallway.

Identify Your Skills and Interests
Start thinking about what you’re good at and what you love to do. Take classes in an area you excel in or join a club or sport that allows you to develop your talent more. You’ll meet new friends, feel happier and more confident in your high school courses and extracurriculars, and develop an expertise or skill that could be useful when applying for colleges or scholarships down the line. Who knows, you passion for poetry now may turn into a scholarship opportunity in the future!

If you aren’t sure where you excel or what hobbies you really enjoy yet, that’s fine! Freshman year is great for exploring new opportunities – after all, there are plenty of clubs, classes, and sports to try out. Get your feet wet exploring a few different things and see what speaks to you.

Set (And Accomplish!) Goals
Being held accountable is part of growing up, so it’s best to start early on. Set goals for yourself each semester or school year, but don’t stop there – create an action plan to make sure you achieve them. Want to earn a 3.5 GPA this year? Create a study schedule that you stick to and give yourself rewards for hitting your goals. Thinking about how you can make the varsity football team sophomore year? List everything you need to work on and come up with a practice plan that will sharpen your skills on the field.  

What are your tips for freshman year? Let us know!

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Easy Ways to Start Planning for College This Summer

If you’re still an underclassman or just getting ready for junior year, it’s easy to put off college planning. You’ve still got plenty of time to think about college, right?

Wrong. Remember last time you didn’t start studying for a test or writing a paper until the night before you had to? Chances are, you felt stressed beyond belief and didn’t get the grade you wanted. And those bags under your eyes from a sleepless night weren’t too pretty, either.

That’s why it’s so important to start planning for college early. Summer may be underway, but we’re not telling you to start doing the heavy lifting just yet. Here are a few simple things you can do this summer to start adding schools to your college list.

Consider Your Strengths
If you thrive in arts and humanities classes but struggle with numbers, chances are you won’t want to become a statistics major. Think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy. How will these translate into a major or career down the line? What topics will you still find interesting years from now? Which schools offer these programs?

Think About What Environments You Thrive In
You may not be thinking about specific colleges yet, but it’s really never too early to get a head start. If rankings, reviews, and programs are too much to handle right now, start small. What environments do you prefer? Big cities? Small rural towns? Do you love big groups and meeting lots of new people, or do you prefer knowing everyone in your town? Use these preferences to help you start determining which colleges could be a good fit and add them to your list.

Don’t Despair if You Aren’t Sure
No idea what you want to study or where to study it? Try taking our Careers and Majors quiz. It’s a quick and easy personality assessment that shows you which majors and careers would be a good fit for you. You can then find out which colleges offer these degrees and learn more about them – it’s easy!

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