Trying to wow admissions officers with your academic prowess? book_wormm has some great suggestions. —SparkNotes editors
Do you know the secrets to getting ahead in school? I'll give you a hint. There's no a special muscle in your calf that you have to flex (much as we would all love that). Really, it isn’t complicated at all. Just keep these tips in mind and you are sure to be in the running for valedictorian.
1. Try an honors course. Yes, this sounds like a total “duh,” but many people don’t realize that they are good enough for an honors course.
There are many to choose from at high schools nowadays, so pick the classes you are doing the best in, and move up a level. Also, being in an honors class puts you in an honor-course track. It takes you out of those classes with the not-so-smart people who hold you back, and inspires you to work hard instead of coasting.
2. Drop a class. If you feel overstressed, drop a class (but it will probably be best not to drop the honors class you just signed up for). Try letting go of that card-counting class, or ninja skills (you can learn those on your own in gym). Instead, take a study or, if your school has one, be a teacher’s assistant (they don’t really do much).
3. Pick your teacher. When you get into college, some of the best advice you can receive is to pick a course by the teacher. The same applies to high school. If you get into a class and don’t like the teacher, or think you won’t learn as much from him/her as you would from another prof, consider dropping the class and taking something else instead. You can also talk to your guidance counselor and request to change teachers. If the classroom situation is going to affect your ability to learn, your counselor should be more than willing to help you.
4. Study. Seriously. Studying really does help you get ahead. Even if you have some weird superstition about not studying because you failed once in kindergarten after hitting the books, it's time to get over it and make some flashcards.
5. Don’t party hardy all weekend long. I'm not telling you to give up your social life—just to keep it in check. My advice? Have fun on Friday night. Go out on Saturday, but not all day. Saturday night, or afternoon, relax and little and do your work in intervals. Then you can spend Sunday finishing any work you haven’t already done and still have time to relax.
6. Finally, don’t fall behind. From experience, I can tell you that once you fall behind, it is extremely difficult to catch up—especially for a more difficult course. Try to do your homework right when you get home. Sure, go grab a snack first and maybe read a new Dan Bergstein blog, but then get right to your work. After you've finished, you'll have all night to just hang out, play Farmville, and decipher all the chronology of LOST. Thus, you can get a good night’s sleep, your life is stress-free, and you can get ahead.
What are your transcript secrets?
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