College Application Booster​®: High School Seniors, Get ahead on your college application!

What High School Students Should Do in 2024 To Impress Ivy League Admissions Officers

Jan 8, 2024

New Years is the perfect time for high school students to reflect on their goals, aspirations, and opportunities for personal growth. As many students are halfway through their academic years, they should reflect back on the first half of their school year and assess their progress, course correct where necessary, and set achievable yet challenging goals for themselves as they complete the remainder of the year. Here are New Year’s resolutions for students in every stage of their high school journey who want to seize the fresh start the new year brings:

Freshman year: Cultivate consistent study habits and set academic goals.

Freshman year lays the foundation for your high school career, and as such, it is critical to set good habits and goals for yourself. Resolve to establish and maintain consistent study routines to ensure that you equip yourself for success before facing the more challenging coursework that sophomore, junior and senior years will bring. Whether it’s designating specific hours for homework, breaking larger tasks into manageable chunks, or creating a distraction-free study space, cultivating effective study habits is a cornerstone for academic success.

Additionally, the beginning of the year is an opportune time to set clear academic goals. Whether it’s achieving a specific GPA, excelling in a challenging subject, or mastering a new skill, specificity is key. Break larger goals down into manageable milestones, creating a roadmap for success. Regularly revisit and adjust these goals as needed, ensuring a sense of purpose and direction throughout the academic year. This resolution not only contributes to better grades but will also instill discipline and time management skills crucial for your future endeavors.

Sophomore year: Deepen your engagement with your core passion.

While freshman year and the fall of sophomore year afford students the opportunity to explore the breadth of their interests, the second half of sophomore year is the time to begin tailoring your activities and involvements to your specific hook. With the start of the new year, get serious about evaluating which extracurriculars are helping to advance your engagement with your core interest and which are distracting from that core interest. From there, you should also begin to identify leadership opportunities that you can pursue this new year. If you have struggled to find a club or activity that aligns with your interest, your New Year’s resolution could be to found your own club, demonstrating your initiative and commitment to your passions.

Junior year: Develop your passion project.

If you haven’t started developing your passion project yet, the start of 2024 is the perfect time to get your passion project off the ground. A passion project is an independent initiative that mobilizes your core passion for the good of your community. A standout project is one that is authentic and unique, demonstrating your singular interest to colleges. Whether you are interested in literature, sports, or video games, every student can use their passion to craft a meaningful project that will have a positive impact. For instance, students interested in medicine may start an organization that brings CPR training to local community centers. A student interested in literature could organize a book club for at-risk youth in their area, while a student passionate about technology could organize online webinars and social media posts aimed at helping others better understand and responsibly use their devices. The start of a new year is the time to start brainstorming and creating a plan for how you can use your core interests to better your local community.

Senior year: Look back and look ahead.

For most seniors, the start of the new year marks the end of the college application process. With applications submitted and admissions decisions on the horizon, the start of a fresh year is the perfect opportunity to look back on your high school career with gratitude and ahead to your college years with motivation. Take the time to write out a list of your achievements and areas of growth that you are most proud of from the last year. Doing so will not only help you to appreciate the lessons you have learned, but it will also keep you focused on your own development regardless of the outcome of the admissions process.

Additionally, begin to set goals for the start of your college career, which you will embark on in 2024. What do you want to accomplish before you set foot on campus? What do you want to prioritize when you get there? What do you want to accomplish during your college years, regardless of where you choose to enroll? Determining the answers to these questions will help you remain focused, complete your senior year with confidence and clarity, and start your college career in the fall with strategy and motivation.

As high school students embark on a new year, these resolutions can serve as a compass for personal and academic growth. Whether it’s enhancing study habits, deepening your interests, or charting a positive course for your college career, creating thoughtful resolutions will contribute to a well-rounded and fulfilling high school experience. Embrace the opportunities that the coming year presents, and make 2024 a year of growth, achievement, and memorable experiences.

Originally published on Forbes.

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