MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) - It's the first day of school for many students in our area and with the excitement can often times come the anxiety.
Here with tips to get us through, is family therapist Jane Marks:
Question: My twin sons are going into their junior year and as we know, the junior year is the toughest year. Getting them mentally prepared for back to school is more challenging this year. What are your general recommendations for school prep for returning students?
Answer: Juniors and Seniors may think this is a particularly easy time because they feel like they've been there and done that but there is a lot to remember with regards to returning to school because you are on your final trip headed toward college, so a world of thought
1. Set up a study routine. As you prepare to head for college in your junior year you are creating a study routine which becomes increasingly important once you get to college. Set aside a certain amount of time so that it no longer becomes a decision but becomes second nature.
2. Begin the process of researching colleges that you are interested in. Now is the time to begin to explore college opportunities. Create a list of what you would like in a school and begin researching what schools you are thinking about applying to.
3. Fine tune your college resume. This is the time to begin to challenge yourself and make sure that you start filling in the dotted lines. Clubs, organizations. Look at your GPA. Make sure it is college worthy. If it is not, clearly if this is your junior year, you have a lot of work ahead of you. If it's not, if your grades are already good, then it's just a matter of creating opportunities that you have never used before, but challenging is an important part.
4. Prepare regularly for college admission tests. For example, if you are going to take the ACT or the SAT, now is the time to begin to utilize online practice tests. Or get a set of books of questions or flashcards that you can begin to work with in your junior year. The earlier you begin this process the easier it will be once you are moving toward college.
5. Do not wait until your senior year to search and apply for scholarships. Now is the time, in your junior year, to begin to look at what the possibilities are so that you can make choices that will lend themselves toward certain scholarships.
6. Start brainstorming ideas about college admissions essay topics. This is the time to jot down any ideas that you have had. You may have had a wonderful summer or a very traumatic summer. Both are great stepping stones to wonderful essays with which to begin the college process.
7. Map out deadlines and due dates on your calendar. As you begin to look at your schedule for this year keep a planner of some sort, whether you do It on your phone or a regular planner, it depends on how organized or disorganized you have been historically. But this is the time to set our deadlines and make this a part of your academic life.
8. Make sure that you connect with your teachers. Befriend them in as many cases as possible. You will need letters of recommendation. This is the time to establish those working relationships. While befriending your teachers, also check in with your guidance counselor. Make sure that your coursework is where it needs to be and that your courses are in line with any college classes or admissions that might have thought about.
9. You want to make sure that you meet graduation requirements. Too often seniors who are close to graduation discover that something is missing so make sure you start that process in your junior year.
10. Make sure you complete the FASFA, the Free Application for Student Financial Aid. This is one of the most time consuming and can be one of the most difficult tasks of the whole year. So, to start in your junior year, this will save you a lot of grief and aggravation in your senior year.
11. Take time to research possible majors. The more you can formulate this ahead of schedule the easier it will be for you to begin to make college choices. Researching college majors will save you time and money once you get to college by avoiding major switches and spending a lot of time thinking about this goes a long way in the long-term completion of goals.
12. Finally, one of the things that you hopefully have done is completing your profile that will impress admission offices. Any kind of mentorship programs you can do in your last two years of high school will make a big difference. It is through these mentorship programs that typically we discover our passions and we continue to build resumes and I think these tips may go a long way in making these last two years the most successful ones of your high school years.