I recently was talking to a group of young adults about what they might advise students beginning high school. Here are some of their tips for making high school a positive experience.
1. Be nice. Really, be friendly with everybody. You’d be amazed how the people from your past have a way of turning up after graduation. One recent college grad I spoke with mentioned that when she couldn’t get a job in her field, she applied for a job waitressing at a popular restaurant. Wasn’t she surprised when the interviewing manager turned out to be a guy she had teased (not in a good way) through high school. Needless to say she didn’t get the job.
2. Freshman year counts. When colleges look at your GPA, they look at all four years of high school. So even if you improve your grades by senior year, if you get off to a rocky start, that first year will lower your overall GPA. Most colleges have a range of scores they accept and you could end up missing the mark to get into your favorite school.
3. If you’re having problems in a class talk to the teacher early on. Most teachers will give you extra help if you need it. They can also arrange a peer study partner or give you extra time to make up missed work. Even though colleges want to see that you have expanded yourself by taking more difficult classes, sometimes it’s better to do well in a lower level course than to get a C in a class you’re struggling through.
4. Make the effort to join clubs, play sports, and be involved in extracurricular activities. Not only will you have more fun, broaden your horizons and meet new people, colleges are going to look at how you spent your free time in high school.