Early in the new school year, it’s important students decide which extracurricular activities they would like to continue or to try. How can they continue to develop natural interests into skills? How can they balance time between academics and outside enrichment? Setting clear and intentional goals each school year for academics and engagement can help students to not only map their time, but also cultivate passions that may be beneficial on their way to college.
What to Choose + Why
With so many options for engagement, it can be challenging to know where to start. We recommend students first explore what clubs and activities their school might offer and sign up for what interests them most. If the options you seek don’t exist, broaden your search to the community. There are many businesses and local resources waiting to be leveraged, whether in the arts or coding, or beyond. Taking the first step is often the most difficult, but with a bit of parental encouragement and support, students can be on their way to engaging their time in a way that is both meaningful and fun.
Stay Open to Opportunities
In selecting activities, we recommend seeking those that students are naturally drawn to and are open to where they might lead.What starts as an interest in sketching may eventually lead to a successful career in fashion design, graphic design, or architecture. Through purposefully exploring opportunities, students can begin to determine components of majors and career interests that will be vital to both the admissions process and future success.
Students should make the most of the opportunities around them, but do so in a balanced way. The goal, in preparation for college, is high academic performance, standardized test scores, and deep subject matter learning. We encourage a healthy understanding of where a student falls relative to their peers and their overall trajectory, so that they might seek targeted improvement, be knowledgeable of realistic college prospects, and, most important, be able to adapt before it’s too late.
Tony Di Giacomo Ph.D. is an educator and founder of Novella Prep. He has 20 years of university experience in admissions, development, teaching, and research. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org