20 Tips for Success in High School

Tips for Success in High School
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Your high school years should be filled with great experiences. Increasingly, students are finding that high school is also a time of stress and anxiety. It seems that students are feeling more pressure than ever before when it comes to performing well.

There are some things you can do to make sure the high school experience is enjoyable and successful.

1. Embrace a Healthy Life Balance. Don't stress about your grades so much that you forget to have fun.

This is supposed to be an exciting time in your life. On the other hand, don't let too much fun get in the way of your study time. Establish a healthy balance and don't let yourself go overboard either way.

2. Understand What Time Management Really Means. Sometimes, students assume there's some magical trick or shortcut to time management. Time management means being aware and taking action. Be aware of the things that waste time and reduce them. You don't have to stop them, just reduce them. Take action to replace time wasters with active and responsible study habits.

3. Eliminate Those Time Wasters. 

4. Find Tools that Work for You. There are many time management tools and tactics, but you'll find that you are more likely to stick with a few. Different people find different methods that work for them. Use a big wall calendar, use color-coded supplies, use a planner, or find your own methods of managing your time.

5. Choose Extracurricular Activities Wisely. You may feel pressured to select several extracurricular activities that might look good on a college application. This can cause you to overextend yourself and get swamped in commitments that you don't enjoy. Instead, select clubs and activities that match your passions and your personality.

 

6. Appreciate the Importance of Sleep. We all joke around a lot about the poor sleep habits of teens. But the reality is that you have to find a way to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to poor concentration, and poor concentration leads to bad grades. You're the one who pays the price if you don't sleep enough. Force yourself to turn off the gadgets and go to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep.

7. Do Things for Yourself. Are you the child of a helicopter parent? If so, your parent is not doing you any favors by saving you from failures. Parents who monitor every bit of a child's life, from waking them in the morning, to monitoring homework and test days, to hiring professionals to help with college preparations; those parents are setting students up for failure in college. Learn to do things for yourself and ask your parents to give you space to succeed or fail on your own. 

8. Communicate with Your Teachers. You don't have to be best friends with your teacher, but you should ask questions, accept feedback, and give feedback when your teacher asks for it. Teachers appreciate it when they see that students try.

9. Practice Active Study Methods. Studies show that you learn more when you study the same material two or three ways with a time delay between study methods.

Rewrite your notes, test yourself and your friends, write practice essay answers: be creative and be active when you study!

10. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Do Assignments. There are so many reasons you should get an early start on assignments. Too many things can go wrong if you procrastinate. You could come down with a bad cold on the night before your due date, you can find that you're missing some needed research or supplies--there are dozens of possibilities. 

11. Use Smart Test Prep. Studies show that the best way to prepare for a test is to create and use practice tests. For best results, use a study group to create test questions and practice quizzing each other.

12. Eat Well to Feel Better. Nutrition makes a world of difference when it comes to brain function. If you feel groggy, tired, or sleepy because of they way you eat, your ability to retain and recall information will be impaired.

13. Improve Reading Habits. In order to remember what you read, you will need to practice active reading techniques. Stop every few pages to attempt to summarize what you've read. Mark and research any words that you can't define. Read all critical texts at least twice.

14. Reward Yourself. Be sure to find ways to reward yourself for every good result. Make time to watch a marathon of your favorite shows on the weekends, or take time to have fun with friends and let off a little steam. 

15. Make Smart College Planning Choices.  The goal of most high school students is to gain acceptance into a college of choice. One common mistake is to "follow the pack" and select colleges for the wrong reasons. Big football colleges and Ivy League schools might be great choices for you, but then again, you might be better off at a small private college or a middle-sized state college. Think about how the college you pursue really matches your personality and your goals.

16. Write Down Your Goals. There's no magical power to writing down your goals, except that it helps you identify and prioritize the things you want to accomplish. Turn your ambitions from vague thoughts to specific goals by making a list.

17. Don't Let Friends Bring You Down. Are your friends seeking the same goals as you? Are you picking up any bad habits from your friends? You don't have to change your friends because of your ambitions, but you should be aware of the influences that might affect you. Be sure to make choices based on your own ambitions and goals. Don't make choices just to make your friends happy.

18. Choose Your Challenges Wisely. You may be tempted to take honors classes or AP courses because they'll make you look good. Be aware that taking too many challenging courses can backfire. Determine your strengths and be selective about them. Excelling in a few challenging courses is much better than performing poorly in several. 

19. Take Advantage of Tutoring. If you have the opportunity to receive free help, be sure to take advantage.

The extra time you take to review lessons, solve problems, and talk over the information from class lectures, will pay off in your report cards.

20. Learn to Accept Criticism. It can be disheartening to find lots of red teacher's marks and comments on a paper you spent hours crafting. Take the time to read the comments carefully and consider what the teacher has to say. It's sometimes painful to read about your weaknesses and mistakes, but this is the only way to really avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over. Also notice any patterns when it comes to grammar mistakes or wrong word choices.