Nearly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to researchers at the University of Scranton. And if you’re a high-school freshmen, you could be making resolutions that affect your high school career and even your plans for college. Here are six resolutions to consider making in 2016:
1. “I will improve my academic performance.”
Rather than simply vowing to raise your grades, set a specific, measurable goal. Making – and keeping – a resolution to study before each math test, for example, is much more specific and measurable than saying, “I will raise my math grade.” Or, if your problem lies in completing homework, your resolution might be to store your class papers in a folder so that you can easily locate and complete them. Whatever resolution you choose, make sure it is relevant to your specific situation.
2. “I will prepare for challenging high school courses.”
Challenging high school coursework, such as AP, honors, and IB classes, can boost your chances of admissions at a competitive college or university. So, do your best in your current courses but begin to think about which classes you enjoy most. Review your school’s course catalog for more challenging classes in the same fields. For example, if you love biology and excel in it, you might take AP biology or honors anatomy in the future. What prerequisites will you need to satisfy in the meantime?
3. “I will explore my passions.”
Use your time in high school to explore a wide variety of activities and subjects. Take diverse courses, try a new extracurricular, or become involved with an academic/career organization outside school. For instance, pursue a part-time job or a volunteer position that will allow you to experience a career that is interesting to you. It might even lead to a possible college major or lifelong hobby.
4. “I will begin to study for the ACT/PSAT/SAT.”
Although you will not sit for the PSAT until your sophomore or junior year (and the ACT or SAT until your junior or senior year), it is never too early to begin familiarizing yourself with these exams. While the ACT, PSAT, and SAT were created to assess what you have learned over the course of your high school career, understanding the content and format of the tests can be invaluable. For example, how long is each exam? Is there a penalty for guessing? Speak with your guidance counselor or look online for more information.
5. “I will start researching colleges.”
The winter of your freshman year is an ideal time to begin researching prospective colleges and universities. Just as schools wish to ensure that you are a great fit for their campus, you should also search for a college that is the perfect fit for you. Does the college offer majors that you are interested in? What about extracurricular activities? If you are undecided on your major and future career, does the school offer a well-rounded education that will allow you to take a variety of classes before declaring your major?
6. “I will remember to enjoy high school.”
High school is a time to learn, explore, and live before you enter the wider world of adulthood. Take advantage of this time, and enjoy it! Attend prom, go to the games, and study with friends. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now, this time will speed by quickly!