Senior Advice

Get your advice from students who have already gone through it all.

Senior Class of 2018, Author

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Academic
  • Plan for summer homework
  • Be aggressive with your schedule: be informed about requirements and make sure you get the classes you want
  • Go to office hours
  • Befriend your teachers (even the ones you don’t like)
  • Use Khan academy and Quizlet
  • Take AP classes / dual enrollment (community college classes)
College
  • Be close with a few teachers that you can use for letters of recommendation
  • Start your UC and CSU applications in the summer/early in the school year
  • Start your financial aid applications (FAFSA and CSS profile) early
  • Have teachers and friends read over your college apps
  • Take advantage of the College and Career Center
Social
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Don’t worry about being popular / don’t worry about what other people think about you
  • Save up money in advance for prom and senior events
Emotional
  • It’s ok to take a break
  • Emotional health is more important than grades
  • Don’t take more challenging classes than you can handle
Extracurricular
  • Take advantage of our summer internship program
  • Volunteer!
  • Don’t worry about joining a lot of clubs: quality over quantity
    • Stay dedicated to your extracurricular activities for all 4 years
  • Manage your time!

 

For Seniors, the end of this school year marks the end of an era. For everyone else, it only marks the middle of a seemingly endless four years. With the right attitude, one’s high school experience can be the highlight of one’s young adult life, but it could just as easily be a minefield of stressful classes, confusion and negativity. Even though high school can never be completely stress-free, following this advice can help minimize the pressure that high school life puts on students.

First of all, mental health should always be a main priority. It is not worthwhile to sacrifice emotional health for grades, test scores and extracurriculars. Academic success is important, but it is far less valuable than one’s physical and mental well-being. Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take a break if necessary and don’t feel pressured to take more challenging classes than you can handle. Also, if you are particularly concerned about your mental health, you can always talk to a trusted adult (especially a teacher or counselor) or a call a hotline.

High school is a time to build a healthy and supportive social life. This is easiest when surrounded by positive and caring individuals. In high school, many people encounter “fake friends” who always end up being more negative and harmful than beneficial. Even though it may be challenging or even painful to cut ties with a fake friend, it can be even more detrimental to keep a friend who does not truly care about you. In addition, it is vital to recognize which friends are the most important to you and to maintain good relationships with them. Those friends are the ones that will provide support and encouragement, even at your worst moments.

Academically, be proactive in every way possible. Plan your schedule ahead of time, and ensure that you will complete all requirements for graduation and college applications (become familiar with the A through G requirements for UC’s and CSU’s). Counselors can be useful resources for planning your schedule, but they can sometimes be reluctant to make schedule changes or give students the schedules they want. If you are absolutely sure that your desired schedule will not hinder the completion of any graduation requirements, do not be afraid to be assertive about your schedule.

Once classes are in session, continue to be proactive so that you do the best you possibly can in your classes. Even though it may be tempting, do not procrastinate, especially on large or important assignments. If studying is difficult, form study groups, find study guides online, or watch Crash Course or Khan Academy videos to prepare for exams. Also, no matter how much you dislike a teacher, be respectful to them, participate in class, do your homework and go to office hours – anything that helps establish a positive relationship with your teachers.

Finally, be sure to plan for the future so that you have some idea of what to do after you graduate. Know ahead of time whether it is best for you to attend a four-year university, start at a community college and then transfer to a university, go to a trade school, or seek employment. Each has its benefits and downsides, so thoroughly consider all angles (academic, financial and personal) of your decision.

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Senior Advice