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High School Senior Mistakes to Avoid

It is not uncommon for high school seniors to feel the pull towards the future and to get distracted during the school year. It will indeed be a busy year rife with big life-changing decisions along with a need to be organized and focused on college admissions. This energy needs to be effectively harnessed in order to get the most out of your final year in high school and vault into college.

As a result of the myriad competing priorities, we assembled a list of the 7 most common mistakes of a high school senior as a means to check yourself before, during, and after the school year. Take a minute to digest the most common items on the list and rectify them quickly to stay on track.

  1. Suffering from too much syndrome. While it is common for a high school senior to feel overwhelmed with the day to day requirements of school in addition to upcoming changes in college, it is vital to stay focused. When feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and think about the pre-established goals you have written down for yourself. Take those goals and break them down into manageable milestones. The final step is to take the milestones and break them down into discrete activities. Bit by bit, the combination of activities will become milestones which become achieved goals.
  1. Poor attendance. Electing to not attend class is a sure-fire way to sabotage your academic goals. Make sure you place the proper emphasis on attendance and academic preparedness in order to keep progressing. Not attending classes is a choice and one that can lead to poor outcomes if not closely managed.
  1. Cruising to the Finish Line. As stated before, it is important to strike a healthy balance of work and play both in school and in life. That being said, it is worth noting that the majority of colleges and universities look at your second semester grades. In fact, we have heard from several students that have had their college acceptance rescinded after letting grades sink. Think of your grades in the second half of your senior year a reflection of your work ethic and keep going strong.
  1. Poor Time Management. You have already experienced three years worth of homework, tests, essays, labs, and projects in high school at this point. With that resident understanding of time investment, make sure to allow yourself ample time to complete each homework assignment or project. Allotting 45 minutes for a 90 minute project will surely backfire and reflect poorly upon your academic trajectory. Plan accordingly to give yourself sufficient time to get your school work taken care of plus time for college-readiness activities.
  1. Being Too Narrowly Focused. A very common mistake of high school seniors is to quickly move through an activity to simply get it done even if it means skipping challenging sections to do so. Make sure to utilize the resources you have available to you and ask your teachers thoughtful, important questions about the material in an on-going effort to gain proficiency. The rewards will be far greater than you expect by staying focused in your final year of high school.
  1. Not Living in the Moment. This mistake is more directed at those that suffer from trying to compress time and skip to college without completing the necessary steps today. Try not to spend countless hours dreaming about your summer vacation to Peru or surfing trip in California; rather, enjoy the moment and stay present to continue building your knowledge base and competencies.
  1. Sidestepping the Basics. It may sound basic, but investing time to write a quality essay may make the difference between you and the next college applicant. Digging in and spending more time reviewing your class notes may yield a better grade on your final that could tip the scale in your favor. Stay curious, inquisitive, organized, and focused during the final few months of your senior year.

Suggested Reading Material:

Cal Newport: How to be a High School Super Star

John C. Maxwell: Developing the Leader Within You

Steve Pavlina: Personal Development for Smart People

Valerie Pierce: Countdown to College

Cal Newport: Deep Work

Adam Robinson: What Smart Students Know

Sally Springer: Admission Matters

For additional resources, make sure to visit MatchCollege and subscribe to our blog for the latest in college information.

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