“Top Tips For Remaining‘College-Motivated’
During TheHigh School Years”
During the “dog days” of summer it can be easy – for both students and parents – to allow our frenzied minds to drift away from the rigors that are inherent to performing well in high school, and all of the many machinations and requirements that are a vital part of the college preparation experience. Heck, we will gladly admit that college funding professionals enjoy a good vacation as much as the next person! And hey, there is definitely something to be said for allowing the body and mind to have a good break, as well. Summer is the perfect time for it, and we urge you and your family to take full advantage of this wonderful season.
With that said, however, there are also some times when taking an unscheduled or poorly-timed break can have deleterious consequences for a college bound high school student, so it is important to make sure that proper priorities are set, and that everyone is on the same page. Even with the best organization, though, plans can be sent awry if the future college student is unable to remain focused and highly motivated throughout the school year. This is one reason that vacations are important, of course, to allow for a mental and physical unwinding.
Even highly gifted and talented students can sometimes be tempted to “drift” a bit during the school year – in fact, intelligent kids are sometimes even more at risk because they may lack academic stimulation and challenges in some cases. For this reason, it is important for parents and students to have an eye on the best ways to remain focused on the goals at hand, even if/when others may tend to fall by the wayside, either temporarily or (unfortunately) permanently. There will almost always be ebbs and flows during a school year for a variety of reasons, but the students who are able to keep themselves on target with the most consistency during their high school experience are usually those who end up in the best situations when they graduate and move on to the next level.
Fortunately there are a number of excellent strategies that can help students to remain focused on their college goals throughout the year, and discovering which ones are the most effective for the college bound youngster(s) in your family can pay great dividends over the course of the high school experience.
For this month’s newsletter, we are dedicating these pages to some of the top tips for keeping a student’s eye on the college ball during their preparatory years. If you have any specific questions about them, or would like some more personalized suggestions, please do feel free to give us a call. As college funding professionals – and as the college application experts – we are uniquely prepared to provide details, planning, and important information that can positively affect your family’s college preparation efforts.
Tip 1) Focus On Specifics
The “specifics” are going to be different for every person depending on who they are, and where they are in school. Everyone has a set of both strengths and weaknesses. For example, one student may have difficulty staying on top of notes or materials from a certain class. One way to combat that would be to use specific actions to stay motivated on certain tasks and goals. In this case, it could be to put all the notes and materials in one place immediately after class. This would fix the problem of lost notes and materials.
Another example could be related to homework. Procrastination is virtually universal. However, if specifics are attached to certain goals then this can help to keep the student focused and motivated. One specific goal could be to finish homework prior to doing any other social activity. This takes discipline, but it is specific and can help to build motivation and confidence if followed through regularly.
Tip 2) Stay Positive
So much of life has to do with attitude. If teachers and classmates are getting a student down, there is almost always something that can be done to improve a situation. Charles R. Swindoll once said that “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” This is true in high school and throughout life. There may be classes with less-than-stellar teachers. Maybe an illness presents itself while in school. How one reacts to these challenges can determine the ultimate trajectory of one’s success.
High school, like life in general, is not always easy. However, keeping a positive attitude or looking for the positives within a negative situation can help one to not get mired in all of the negativity that can sap focus and motivation.
Tip 3) Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
It is usually pretty easy to see when there are several tasks that lie ahead, but the inclination for most people is to do the easiest thing first. However, if one prioritizes, the easiest task might (or might not) be the one that needs to be done last – or in the middle – or even not at all.
It’s important to look at the long-term goal and break down tasks and priorities accordingly. Classes that are easier may not need immediate attention, for example. By the same token, more challenging classes may need to be prioritized first in order to stay on course and achieve the level of academic success desired. Take time for the classes that need the attention and focus efforts accordingly.
Tip 4) Swallow Pride – Ask For Help When Needed
It is not always easy to admit that one needs help. It is crucial, however, to ask for help promptly before things unravel and one gets too far behind. If there are certain areas that need attention, there is nothing wrong with requesting extra assistance or support. It is a sign of maturity and strength to know when one’s limit has been reached.
Getting even a little bit of additional support may just be what’s needed in order to stay on track and motivated.
Tip 5) Set Goals
Setting goals can be incredibly rewarding and they are a great tool to use to become and stay motivated. Here’s a well-known – but often quite effective – acronym to help high school students to set goals: Goals should be SMART. This means S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant, T – Timely.
Goals should be specific. Starting off the school year with a question about what one would like to accomplish and writing down those desires is one way to get to the specifics of one’s goal(s). Goals should also be measurable. This means that they should be created and tracked in a way that allows one to see that progress is being made. Goals should be something attainable. Big, impressive goals are great, but they should always be framed within the realm of the capabilities of the student. Goals should be relevant to the desired outcome. Setting a goal to watch 50 classic science-fiction movies may be fascinating and fun, but it will not do much to help a failing grade in math. Goals should be set that put (and help to keep) one on a trajectory towards ultimate academic success. Finally, goals should be timely. It is a good idea to have some calendars in hand when setting goals. Create timelines and expectations for when benchmarks are to be met. Keeping these cues in mind can help with effective goal setting each semester, and throughout the high school years.
Tip 6) Take Time to Reassess
Life happens. No matter how much one strategizes and plans, things can always get in the way to throw a kink in things. That is why it is a really good idea to regularly look at goals and see which things are working, which things are not, and determine overall whether things are moving in the right direction. If not, it may be time to make an evaluation of precisely where things stand, and whether they need to be tweaked a bit in order to stay on the right path.
Remember, assessment and reassessment are not only for before and after the process – they are also tools for constant correction throughout the high school years, and one of the things that leads to ultimate success!
All of these tips can help a future college student to be as ultimately prepared as possible for the college years, thereby making our work as college funding professionals and college application experts a lot easier! It also means that the overarching goal then must become helping the parents to find effective and targeted strategies for their personal financial circumstances, so that their assets will cover the best possible college options for their child’s academic future. It is not a work that we take lightly!
These efforts work out optimally, quite simply put, if parents can be prepped in advance, with a roadmap to assist with all aspects of preparation for their kid’s future college and university experience… not to mention the considerable college and university expenses that go along with that experience!
One of the finest options we offer for the parents of college-bound students is our live, in-person, College Funding Workshops, which are delivered by the most effective college funding professionals in this area. These presenters deliver the information-loaded workshops as a remarkable service to interested parents who seek details regarding the money side of preparing for their child’s future in higher education.
These College Funding Workshops are presented without any admission fees, and they are organized during times and days of the week that tend to make the most sense for busy parents. We also plan a number of them on weekends for working parents who wish to attend. Please do note that while there is not an admission charge, we must keep the group to a size that meets our space limits and is conducive to a good learning environment. Because of this we require an advance reservation for attendance, and we appreciate your kind understanding in following this planning requirement.
For additional information about forthcoming College Funding Workshops in your area, please contact our excellent workshop team at 614.934.1515. These staff members will be happy to assist with all of the details regarding scheduling, locations, and other workshop-related questions. Of course, if you are already interested in attending a workshop in the coming weeks or months, and would like to make a reservation, they will be more than happy to help with that, as well.
In addition, we are also duly proud of the excellent informational report that we have published covering the management of increasing education costs. This report was written specifically with the parents of college-bound youngsters in mind, and covers the most important topics related to today’s top issues in college funding. The report is titled “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” and it is also offered without any cost or obligation. For a personal copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” just ring our staff members at 614.934.1515. We will be pleased to send one via e mail for you immediately. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Until next month,