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  • Karen Luo

Complete High School Guide

High schoolers have a lot of stress. That’s why they have a lot of acne. But the biggest stressor for high school students comes from college applications. Why? Because it decides high schooler's entire future. If any high schooler has told you that they weren’t stressed out about college applications, they were lying.

What are college applications, and why is it important to be ready for them? The college application process is long and complicated. In order to be prepared for college applications, students must start thinking about them in the summer of their sophomore year. Many already strive to start in their freshman years, with some freshman taking AP classes and others looking at doing extracurriculars.

As a freshman in high school, you should focus on getting as involved as possible at school and outside of school. Freshman year is the year that you can explore all of your hobbies, as well as new things, to find out what you are passionate about. During this year, you should join as many clubs as possible, and pick 2-5 to stay in for your sophomore year. During this time, you should also try out for a sport if you play one, and take an elective you enjoy.

As a freshman, you should also reach out to your counselor. Counselors are there to help you with anything you need help with. They will help you with your classes, and are also there if you need someone to talk to. In addition, colleges require a letter of recommendation from your counselor, so you should visit your counselor at least once throughout your high school career. You should build a relationship with your counselor, so that they can get to know you.

From your freshman to sophomore year, you should now narrow down your scope of what you do and don’t want to do. Use this time to go to camps, to go to summer school classes, to gain volunteer experience, and to plan out what the rest of your high school years will look like. Once you get to 10th grade, most of the stress and pressure is on. You have to focus a lot on your grades and getting as much as possible in, especially with extracurriculars. Try applying for board positions for student-led nonprofits or school clubs. Be extremely involved in the 2-5 clubs that you have picked, and gain volunteer experience.

In 10th grade, you will find that you are busier than before, and that you will often be in high stress situations. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, you should go outside to take a bike ride or walk. This will help you to clear your head so that you can refocus. . You should also remember that throughout your entire life, you have faced high stress situations, and made it through all of them. You are strong, and you can make it through high school!

If you are looking to go to one of the top 20 colleges, taking one or two AP’s during your sophomore year will help you to balance out your classes during your 11th grade year. This will also give you a stronger AP distribution for your college application. This will also show colleges that you are a strong student, and can handle rigorous, high level classes. Moving into the summer of your 11th grade year, you should focus on extracurriculars, what you want to major in, and what college you want to go to. You should also go to camps you want to go to, focus on gaining meaningful volunteer experience, and participate in extracurriculars. You should also look into scholarships and apply for some.

In your 11th grade year, you should focus a lot on your academics, especially if you are taking AP’s. Most of your classes- if you are planning on going to a top 20 college- will be APs, which gives very little time for extracurriculars-even though you should focus a lot on those as well. You will have less free time than your 10th grade year, as 11th grade is the most important part of high school.

Make sure that you have good time management skills, and that you are on task with everything. During the spring or winter break of your 11th grade year, , you should go on college tours. Pick about 10 or so colleges to go tour around the US. These colleges should include your dream school or schools that you really want to go to. This way, you will have a feel for the colleges that you want to go to. This can help you to prioritize certain colleges when you are filling out your college applications.

Finally, during the summer of your junior year, you should relax a little bit. However, you also need to make sure that you are writing your college applications. At the very latest, you should start writing your college applications by August. You should also make sure that your transcript, and any scholarships you have won, are ready. The fall semester of your senior year is the most stressful time. You will have to write multiple essays for early decisions and eatplu applications. You also need to fill out apps for normal decisions, which are due in December.

The spring of senior year is one of the least stressful times. Now that you are done with your college applications, and are waiting for your results, you can relax a little bit with your grades. You have done the best that you can, and you should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. Decisions will come before Spring Break, and during that time, you will be deciding which colleges you want to go to.

Finally, remember that you shouldn’t be scared of the college application process. It sounds scary, but as your high school career progresses, you will figure out what you need to do, and get it done. The college application process gets better, and you will do amazing!

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