The Countdown is On: 6 Tips for Back to School

It’s that time of year again! How are you preparing for the new school year? Here are some tips that will enhance your chances of success this year and in your future years.

1. Know your schedule and courses

Start the year with an organized approach! Learn your schedule and where your classes are held so that you can avoid the first day confusion of navigating from class to class. Taking a course online? Create a schedule so you can dedicate time to your online learning, too. Depending on the course, you will need certain materials, such as a calculator for math, pencil crayons for art, and a notebook for English. Get the materials you need beforehand so that you can focus on learning from the start.

2. Set goals, prioritize, and reward yourselfcalendar-33006_960_720

Successful students are goal-setters. Having something to work toward instills drive and increases motivation in your learning. Do you want to achieve a 75% average? Get an A+ in English? Make the podium in track & field? Earn your diploma? Get accepted to a prestigious program? Everyone’s goals will look different – and they should! We all have different abilities and aspirations, and each of us will learn to identify our own stepping stones that will lead to our success.

It’s also important to prioritize. Knowing what is most important will help with last-minute decision making. For example, is homework or hockey practice more important today? The answer will vary. Perhaps the student-athlete is working towards the ultimate goal of being in the NHL. If so, hockey may be more important tonight, and homework the next. This is why many athletes choose online courses, like those offered by our Ontario sister school, Virtual High School (VHS) – if you can’t work on your course today, but can tomorrow, you won’t be penalized. You will choose when and how to complete your courses. We obviously value and encourage a focus on education, but we also realize that our talented students lead full, active lives. For those reasons, VHS courses allow students to excel in the academics and the many other activities that are important to them.

When you achieve a goal – celebrate the achievement! Having something to look forward to at the end of your hard work increases the importance of goal-setting and motivates you to set a new goal.

3. Get involved

circle-159252_960_720Being part of a community is an important part of learning, one that can open up so many opportunities. Choose your community – at school, at a religious facility, on the soccer field, at the local theatre, or in any other community that interests you. Having a group of people who share your interests creates a supportive, encouraging environment. The various events and gatherings that occur within communities create opportunities for meeting new people, learning new skills, and volunteering.

4. Know your learning style

An important part of being successful is knowing how you learn best. Take this quiz to see how you might benefit from your unique approach to learning: Learning Style Quiz.

5. Know your post-secondary prerequisite requirementstarget-1414775_960_720

Are you planning to attend college or university, or do you hope to enter the workforce in the next year or two? Do you have an idea of what type of program you’re going to apply for? Every post-secondary program, and many career opportunities, have specific prerequisite requirements that applicants must meet in order to be considered for acceptance. For example, you may need to achieve over 75% in ENG4U, over 80% in SCH4U, or have earned a grade 12 mathematics credit. If you know this ahead of time, you will be able to work toward those goals in planning for post-secondary studies. Knowing and meeting those prerequisites will ensure your acceptance and ultimate success.

6. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity

Above all, understand that mistakes may happen, and you may fail to achieve one of your goals. Learn from such experiences. After all, failure provides one of the best opportunities for growth. Did you miss your 75% grade requirement for post-secondary? Well, it’s time to problem solve. What are your options? Will you retake the course as an upgrade or take a year off to improve your grades even further and re-apply next year? The options are endless. While events will occur that present themselves as failures, see them as opportunities to learn and grow, perhaps by moving in another direction altogether!

After all, learning never ends.

Best wishes to all heading back to school – whether you’re entering your first day of high school, first day of grade 12, or first day of college/university—those first days happen only once, so make the most of them!

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