Did I take enough AP credits? Should I have pushed myself harder in math? Did I explore all possible electives offered at my school? All of these are valid questions to ask, but hopefully, with the guidance of parents, family, counselors, and teachers, students will have finished their senior year with a well-rounded list of courses under their belt that will prepare them for the academic challenges that lie ahead.
But perhaps a more pertinent question that should be asked as students end their high school careers is have I done all I can to prepare myself socially and emotionally for college? For many students at Woodlynde and across the nation, the transition to college and living independently is the biggest hurdle they have had to face so far in their lives. While no amount of preparation can really help students understand living on their own, they can take proactive measures in high school to build upon their social-emotional experiences. Below is a list of tips that can help young, inexperienced high school freshmen blossom and mature over the high school years into college-ready, independent students.
1. Step outside of your comfort zone - Whether it is on the majestic tennis court, serving up aces, or nestled away writing a creative fan-fiction piece, every student has a comfort zone. Although we all deserve rest, relaxation, and comfort, pushing oneself to explore new areas of the world is a great way to breed independence and confidence. Although this is broad advice, stepping outside of their comfort zone to experience the world in all its glory and splendor will help any student develop a greater global perspective.
2. Participate in community service in your area - While community service has a bevy of benefits, participating in community service activities once again puts students outside of their comfort zone and helps them work towards independence and understanding.
3.Visit new places and foreign countries - Nothing quite jump starts self-advocacy and independence than being in a different city, state, or country where students must adapt to new surroundings, new people, and perhaps even a new language.
4. Attend camps and summer preparatory programs - Although the summer is most definitely a time of well-needed relaxation, it is also a very useful time for students to explore their interests and skills in a focused environment with like-minded individuals. Any sort of camp or summer college preparatory program is always a beneficial choice.
5. Explore various clubs and extracurricular activities in high school - Although it may seem obvious, engaging in clubs, athletics, or extracurricular activities during their high school years really can help students make great strides towards expanding their social circle and becoming more independent.
The predictors of college success are no doubt a daunting list. Although academic preparedness is at the vanguard of that list, the social and emotional experiences that lead up to college are just as vital in order to ensure that students leave high school with a wealth of experiences that will prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead in the collegiate environment.