Do’s and don’ts of high school: How to manage your four years

It’s that time of year again: hallways are filled with students from all four grade levels, lockers are being opened and slammed shut and teachers are yelling at students to behave. With each new school year, there are new freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors making their way through their education. In addition, this creates the question of what exactly students should and shouldn’t do when they enter a new grade level. 

Do: To begin, freshmen year can be an overwhelming time for many students. In the first week of school, some students struggle to find their classes, open their locker or even understand the bell schedule. Freshmen should get involved in clubs and activities to get to know students and teachers from different grade levels. Another opportunity that freshmen should take advantage of are the Keystone study sessions for the algebra and biology exams. If ever asked whether or not to participate in these meetings, students should be sure to attend.

Don’t: However, there are also tasks that students shouldn’t be doing their freshmen year. The first is walking on the left hand side of the hallway and stairways. Moreover, with lockers, there are some helpful tricks when it comes to opening them. First, the lockers won’t open if the combination is just slightly off. When entering the combination, be careful and make sure to enter the proper numbers. Secondly, once the last number is turned to on a locker, the lock itself will begin to tighten. This allows students to know that they entered their combinations correctly. Once students get to their last number, they must make sure they don’t let go of the lock!

Do: Sophomore year can have its moments as well. When the second year of high school rolls around, students find themselves being faced with yet another Keystone exam, English. Something students should do is pay attention when in their English class. Another recommendation would be to discuss with their teachers any questions they may have. Students will also have to take the PSAT. This test is given to provide students with valuable information to gauge how they will do on the actual SAT. Students are highly advised to take this exam seriously.

Don’t: This second year of high school education also has some don’ts as well. What sophomores shouldn’t do is wait until senior year to think about career planning. This doesn’t mean having their whole life planned out, but simply coming to terms with what they might want to do for a living. Students should take the time to research their career choice to better understand if it is in fact what they want to do. 

Do: Subsequently, junior year is that friendly reminder that senior year is just one more year away. However, there are several tasks students should complete before their final year. Students are encouraged to take the SAT and ACT during this time. This provides them with plenty of time in which they can choose to retake these exams if needed. Juniors should also start researching and touring colleges to determine whether or not they want to attend a particular one. 

Don’t: Juniors shouldn’t wait until the last minute to schedule tours with colleges. In addition, students also shouldn’t take pointless classes that have nothing to do with their majors. Juniors are inspired to gear their classes toward their intended major. This will allow students to better understand whether or not they want to pursue that major.

Do: Finally, senior year is something every student longs to achieve. Seniors are encouraged to apply to college. Not every college is the same when it comes to the application process. Some schools might require an admissions fee and others might not. Needless to say, three vital pieces of information that every school asks for are a student’s high school transcript, SAT and/or ACT scores, and immunization records from their doctor. In this final year of schooling, students should apply for as many scholarships as possible to cut down on the cost of college. 

Don’t: In contrast, there are tasks that students shouldn’t do like procrastinate on assignments such as homework, reports or even studying for tests. Overall, work ahead of deadlines rather than waiting until it’s too late.

High school is a time for students from all grades to make smart decisions. Whether students are entering their freshman or senior year, there are still steps that students should and shouldn’t take during their high school experience.