Setting Yourself Up for Success in the Spring Semester
Freshmen: Congratulations on completing your first semester of high school! You have officially started your official transcript, and most colleges will consider all academic grades during the review process. If you didn't have the most successful term, you have time to switch gears and address any challenges. Maybe you need to find a better study spot or create a habit to review your notes each night. Reach out to your teachers to see when tutorials or study sessions are available. Consider additional resources (like Khan Academy for Math or Duolingo for World Language) to fill any gaps and extra practice. Creating these habits now will make the rest of high school so much easier. If your school only does spring grades, you still have five months for the outcome you desire, and if your school gives quarter or semester grades, remember each term is a fresh start!
Sophomores: Much of the advice in the freshmen section may be helpful if you're still finding your groove. The Pandemic has created a very different schooling experience, and if you've been fluctuating between in-person and virtual, it makes sense that your grades may not be where you hoped. If you are still in a virtual setting, check out these tips for success. You will also be getting your recommendations for your Junior year courses, what some people consider "the hardest year." I've found that it doesn't have to be with active planning. Talk with your teachers and take their recommendations to heart. If it feels overwhelming, remember they are only advising you in one subject area, not considering all of the other courses you will take. For more advice on choosing courses, check out my post here.
Juniors: If you haven't already done so, take time to get to know your academic teachers this semester. Colleges that require a teacher recommendation letter typically want to see an 11th-grade teacher from a core subject (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, or World Language). Some schools require two, and a few require that they need to be from different subject areas (ex. Math/Science and English/History). You don't have to choose the class where you had the highest grade, but instead, consider a teacher whose class required sustainable effort. Teachers should be able to address your intellectual curiosity, creative thought, and work habits. Even if you didn't put in as much effort last term, the teacher could highlight the growth they saw as the course progressed, including the willingness to seek help.
Seniors: Many of you have submitted your college applications, and some have even committed to schools. It may be tempting to take it easy and coast until graduation. You may want to drop an academic course that's not required for graduation, let your grades slip, or engage in questionable behavior. Remember that you will need to send your final transcript to the college you intend to enroll, and they could rescind your admissions.