This New Year's Ritual Will Get You Into College

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Okay, I know some people hate it, but personally? I love the New Year. Everything about it: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Intentions…maybe even “New Year’s Goals” (if the traditional “resolutions” are more your thing, I can even work with those!).

And here’s what I love the most: with the New Year upon us, we have a chance to take stock at where we currently are and an invitation to course-correct. It’s a chance to reflect on what’s been working and what needs to change—and the social peer pressure to finally MAKE that change (peer pressure can be a force for good!). And furthermore, it’s an opportunity to forgive ourselves for past mistakes as we embark on a clean slate.

“Out with the old” comes before “in with the new,” remember?

So regardless of where you are in high school (or in parenting a high-schooler!), let me help you take stock and turn over a new leaf for the new year. Here are some questions to ask yourself, some issues to keep an eye on, and some words of advice targeted for the milestones you’re reaching and the challenges you’re facing.


 For Seniors

  • Have you put your all into your college applications?

  • Have you kept up your grades despite said applications?

  • Have you kept up your interests and hobbies, even though you’ve had so much to do this fall?

Whatever mistakes you’ve made so far, forgive them. They’re over. Focus on staying true to yourself and putting your best possible foot forward for any remaining applications you have. And remember to cherish the time you have left at home. 

For Juniors

  • Have you kept up with your increasingly harder homework and classes so far this year?

  • Have you gained any clarity on which schools you’d like to possibly attend for college?

  • Have you figured out your “niche”?

  • Have you been diligent about your SAT or ACT prep and are on track to get your target score?

Whatever missteps you’ve had so far, the past is in the past now. You can’t change it. However, you CAN change how to finish out this school year! Double down on your academics and make strides in your extracurriculars. If you’re behind on your test prep, really focus on it this coming semester! (And contact me if you need help, because…) You have half your year left!

For Sophomores

  • Have you started to figure out what your passions are?

  • Have you been taking the most challenging classes you possibly can?

  • Have you surpassed your Freshman year GPA, stayed the same, or fallen behind?

  • Have you let personal drama distract you from your school work?

Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t performed as well as you know you can. You have the rest of this year to change your story—and the story in your transcript! Once grades are on good footing, make sure you start you ACT or SAT prep this coming summer!


For Freshmen

  • Have you gotten a handle on your new high school work load?

  • Have you made new friends and started finding your place?

  • Have you started exploring new clubs and hobbies and extracurriculars to see if they fit with your vibe?

  • Have you stretched yourself and gotten outside your comfort zone?

Even if you feel like you haven’t begun to process this whole “high school” thing, you’re only one semester in. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, make it a point to take the most challenging classes you can for NEXT YEAR, and to try out new activities until you find the ones that gel with you.


For Parents

  • Have you managed your stress level over your high schooler’s test prep and/or grades?

  • Have you outsourced what you can’t do yourself? (Tutors, standardized test prep experts, counselors, etc.)

  • Have you found that balance between keeping your kid safe and also giving her the breathing room to discover who she is?

  • Have you stayed on top of information you need to know about the SAT, ACT, and the college process?

We all have moments when we don’t act 100% in line with our perfect vision of who we are, so don’t beat yourself up (notice a theme here?) if you had some less than graceful parenting moments. Teens are tough! That said, leave 2018 in 2018, and starting tomorrow, aim to do and be better. Not perfect, just better.

No matter where you are in this challenging process, I hope asking yourself these questions gives you the opportunity to pause, reflect, and course-correct. If you need help making that happen, you know where to find me. Until then, I’m wishing you a happy, healthy, and fruitful New Year, full of all the opportunity and success you can envision.