Make it Count!MCM’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of High School

The high school years are one of life’s most important transition periods. It’s a time when teens begin discovering who they are, what they like to do, and what they want to do in the future. Ideas are formed and dreams are had, key relationships are cultivated, and significant lessons are learned. To really get the most out of this key stage of life both intellectually and socially, teens should be encouraged to incorporate these five suggestions into the experience.

1. Find Your Interests.

What subjects do you enjoy most? Choose electives that pique your curiosity or go one further and choose something completely different. Take a class in computer systems or automotive technology. Try electives in history or creative writing. Uncover your passion. Something might “click” and lead you down a path you never thought of taking.

2. Challenge Yourself.

Stretch your limits. Make an effort to learn a foreign language or advanced mathematics. Take a vocal or drama class. Get out of your comfort zone at least once a year. Now is the time!

3. Be a Joiner!

This doesn’t just mean playing sports; join the drama club, band, anime club, robotics, yearbook, etc. Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet students who share your interests. Plus, they always look good listed on a college or job application.

4. Engage with the Community.

During high school, students should get to know their local community and start participating in its maintenance and betterment. Sign up for a local food drive, volunteer at blood drives or at city festivals. Learn how to give back. Not to mention, community service really shines on a college or job application.

5. Visit Your Guidance Counselor or Advisor.

High school counselors are there to guide you to the outcome you desire. They can help you make sure you have the number of credits needed for graduation, as well as enrolling in the correct classes to help get you into your dream college and possibly, your dream job. Good advisors will go out of their way to make sure things run smoothly through your high school experience.

For seniors, the final year of high school may feel like wasted time. Some students have wrapped up the credits needed to graduate and others are pretty sure they know what they will do after, so why bother? Well, now is not the time for slacking! Make sure you maintain what you need to move toward your future goals, but you should also enjoy your time. To make your final year an unforgettable one, keep these things in mind:

1. Be Involved.

If you went your first three years in school without attending sporting events or dances, you need to check these boxes. Go to that football game and cheer with your class. Go to the homecoming dance or prom. Show up to watch your classmates perform in the year-end musical. Soak up as much as you can in your final year – simply be present for the experience.

2. Leave Your Comfort Zone.

Take a few chances here and there in a drama class or maybe the choir. Join the ski club. Volunteer for school and community functions. Be visible. Now is the best time to test your anxiety. If you can get past your uneasiness in high school, everything that comes later will be a breeze.

3. Extend a Hand.

Be a mentor to an underclassman. If you see a freshman struggling, lend a hand. Help show them the ropes and they will never forget that you helped them when no one else would. Also, just being a leader by modeling success in the classroom can go a long way in helping an underclassman find their own success.

4. Schedule Your College Visits.

Take the time to make official visits to schools you are interested in. Tour the grounds and facilities, talk to students there. You may find a place where you feel at home. (If you don’t plan to attend college after graduation, take the tours anyway. You never know.)

5. Capture the Memories.

Keep a daily journal of your final year. Take photos. Interview friends and teachers. Your final year will fly by, so take the time to remember it. Most adults will agree … you’ll be glad you did.


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