How to Earn the Highest Grades You Can
Chloe shares her insider knowledge on how to excel in high school and earn the highest grades you can.
2021-07-06 How to Earn the Highest Grades You Can
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on How to Earn the Highest Grades You Can. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. I’m so excited to be chatting with you all today. Um, thank you so much for coming. My name is Chloe. I use she, her, her pronouns, and I am from Massachusetts. Um, I will be starting at Princeton university as a first year student in the fall. Um, studying neuroscience, um, as well as music performance and music theater, um, among other subjects.
Uh, so I’m very excited to be here with all of you.
Um, so I’m here to talk about how to earn the [00:01:00] highest grades you can. Um, but first I want to talk a little bit about my experience, um, adjusting to high school. Um, so about five years ago now, um, I was right where some of you probably are right now. I’m just about to start high school. And I was feeling a lot of different emotions.
Um, for one thing I was feeling anxious about the adjustment, um, because transitioning to high school, um, is really a major adjustment, um, both academically and otherwise. Um, I was also feeling excited to start a new chapter and to meet new people. Um, so as may be the case for some of you, um, I was transitioning to a completely new community, um, a private school, uh, but for some of you.
You know, the change may be just moving to a new building. Um, but no matter what kind of transition you’re going through, [00:02:00] um, it’s, it’s a big adjustment. Um, and it can be intimidating at times. Um, I was also feeling worried about, you know, taking harder courses, um, standardized tests and the college process.
Um, I was feeling unprepared, um, for some of these new challenges when I was first coming into high school. And I fear that others knew things about them that I didn’t. Um, I’m here to tell you, that’s probably not the case, um, for all of you. Um, but I was, you know, feeling that way at the time. Um, and I’m sure lots of you are as well.
Um, so some of my advice, um, for, uh, students who are first entering high school, um, or even students who are already in high school, um, maybe going into your [00:03:00] sophomore or junior year, um, first of all, balance is really key, uh, take care of yourself. Uh, so I know for some people, um, they tend to sacrifice things like sleep, um, and social experiences, um, in the interest of earning better grades.
Um, but keep in mind that you can only do your best work when you’re both happy and healthy. Um, so it’s important not to neglect those other areas of your life. For your first few years of high school, I recommend focusing on getting everything you can out of your high school experience, rather than worrying too much about college quite yet.
Um, for some people they pour a lot of their time and energy into thinking about college, um, right off the bat, even when they’re just freshmen or sophomores. [00:04:00] Um, and while of course the college process is very important, um, or else we wouldn’t be here. Um, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re still in high school, right?
Um, you want to focus a lot of your energy on your classes, your extracurriculars and everything that makes up your high school experience right now. And finally, most people are probably feeling the same way that you. Um, no matter what you’re feeling, I guarantee that that’s the case. Um, so as I said before, it’s an adjustment for everybody, right.
Um, going into high school or going into the second half of high school, um, it’s, it’s always a challenge. Um, so you’re not alone. I promised.
So some of the factors, um, that can make it difficult to get strong grades. Um, there are a lot of different possible factors, but these are just some of the main [00:05:00] ones, um, have your workload and new subjects. Um, so w when you advance a grade level, um, the work gets harder right by design. Um, it’s not something that you’ll be unprepared for, um, but it can feel like it’s coming out of the blue, um, Additionally distractions.
Um, whether that’s, you know, the student who sits next to you is tapping his toes really loud. Um, and you can’t listen to the lecture, um, or if that’s a major event is happening in your life, um, and you find it hard to concentrate on your classwork, um, distractions, no matter how big or small are a challenge.
Um, and finally we have learning differences. Um, so this can mean diagnosed learning differences, um, such as attention deficit disorder [00:06:00] or dyslexia, for example, but it can also mean differing learning styles. Um, for example, maybe you’re a visual learner, um, but one of your classes is a lecture style class, meaning the teacher just talks at you for 45 minutes straight.
Um, and you don’t feel like. You can do your best work in that class for that reason.
Um, so these are, in my opinion, some of the most important things to do, um, in order to get strong rates, um, for, for one thing, time management, um, that’s a big one. Um, time management is a skill that we all wrestle with, um, throughout our whole lives. Right. Um, but it’s especially important when you’re in.
Right. Especially in high school. Um, so there are lots of ways you [00:07:00] can try to improve your time management skills, if you feel like, um, they’re not as good as they could be. Um, this could be creating an agenda or a planner for yourself, um, to keep track of the tasks you have to do and how much time you have to do them.
Um, this can mean limiting your screen time. Um, that’s a big distractor for a lot of us, right? Um, not just high school students, all of us. Um, that’s one way to control your time management. Um, there are lots of different methods that you can use. Um, prioritization. Um, so again, this can mean a lot of things.
Um, sometimes this is prioritizing doing your homework over spending time with your friends, um, which we all have to do sometimes. Right. Um, it’s a bummer. Um, but if you want to, you know, um, see that academic [00:08:00] success, um, you will have to make some sacrifices. Um, this can also mean prioritizing one class over another.
Um, so for example, if you’re struggling more in, um, a more challenging class, um, putting in the time to really work on that class and maybe setting aside some of the work for another class, um, that you find easier, uh, temporarily. Um, let’s see asking lots of questions. Um, I know some people feel that asking questions can make them seem like they don’t understand, um, or that they’re not as smart as somebody else.
Um, this is absolutely not the case. Um, asking questions is one of the most important ways that we learn. Um, so it’s a method that I would highly recommend, um, no matter what you’re learning. Um, and there’s no reason to be ashamed of asking lots [00:09:00] of questions. Um, and finally practice makes perfect. Um, this is the case with lots of things in life.
Um, but sometimes, you know, uh, I’ll hear a student say that they feel that they understand the concepts, um, and they feel that they understand what’s being taught in class. Uh, but when it comes to homework assignments or tests, They struggle applying that knowledge to the problems or the essays or whatever it is.
Um, so this is one instance in which practice really does make perfect. Um, sometimes that means, you know, finding extra problems online. Um, so you can get that extra practice. Um, sometimes you will have to go that extra mile, um, and putting the time to practice, um, in order to see better results.[00:10:00]
So if you’re struggling academically, what should you do? Um, this depends on the person, but these are my recommendations. Um, if you feel that you’re struggling. Um, so first of all, try to determine why you’re having trouble. Um, There’s as we’ve talked about, you know, uh, a wide variety of reasons you could be having trouble with your coursework.
This could be an outside distraction, um, or it could just be that you’re, you’re not quite grasping the content. Um, so determining the root of the problem is a really important first step. Um, next I’d say trying to set a set set aside some time dedicated to getting back on track, um, with whatever it is you’re struggling with.
Um, so this may mean, you know, again, [00:11:00] sacrificing, um, some of your other priorities temporarily, um, So that you can really put in that extra time and effort to getting back on track, um, in that class. Um, and finally asking for help. Um, this is never a bad idea. Um, there are lots of resources you can use, um, your teacher, your counselor.
Um, sometimes you can get a peer tutor or a professional tutor, um, if you really feel that you’re having trouble. Um, and of course, like we talked about before, um, you can find lots of other resources books, um, the internet, uh, as long as you’re being academically honest and not plagiarizing, um, those are all really useful resources, um, to again, getting back on track.[00:12:00]
Um, so one. Challenge that a lot of students face is balancing, getting good grades with taking challenging classes. Um, and some of my advice, um, with this challenge is first of all, being mindful and realistic when selecting your classes. Um, so for example, if you want to take five AP courses, um, during your junior year, and you’ve got, you know, college preparation going on and, um, you’ve got two sports and five extra curriculars, um, that’s going to be a lot on your plate, right.
Um, so again, being realistic, um, and asking yourself how much can I handle? Um, well, challenging myself, but not pushing myself to the point where I’m going to be constantly stressed. Um, because again, that’s never useful, um, taking classes that you [00:13:00] really care about. Um, everyone tends to do better, um, with things that they’re really passionate about versus things where they’re kind of just doing it, um, for, you know, your college transcript, for example, um, taking an AP course or an IB course, um, just because it’s an AP or an IB, um, you may not do quite as well in that class because you’re not really invested in the subject matter.
Um, and finally using the add drop period to your advantage. Um, a lot of schools have a period where you’ve selected your classes and you start going, um, but you can still change your courses around. Um, so if you have this at your school, Um, it’s a very helpful period of time. Um, if you’re interested in a more challenging course, um, but you’re not quite sure if it’s going to be too difficult for you, you can always [00:14:00] start off in that course.
Um, attend the first few classes, determine whether, oh, this is a healthy challenge for me. Um, or I think I’m going to completely fail this class and, um, be totally stressed out. Um, and then you can go from there, um, before the add drop period ends.
Okay. So we’ve got a poll. Um, if people could enter this, it would be lovely to get a better sense of foot grade. Everyone is.
Okay. So we’re answers are starting to come in. We have one person who will be entering eighth grade, uh, 40, uh, numbers. Keep going up 52, who who’ll be entering ninth grade 53, who will be entering 10th [00:15:00] grade 91 who are entering 11th grade and 22 who are entering 12th grade and two who are entering another grade.
Yeah. So it seems like 11th grade is, uh, by far the largest. Yeah. Awesome. If anyone else would like to respond, please do so now, and then I’m going to close out the poll.
Wonderful. Uh, it’s great to get a better sense of, um, whom I’m actually speaking to. Um, and it’s wonderful that some of you are just starting out in high school, like we’ve talked about, and some of you are a little further along, um, and getting into, you know, the, the second half of your high school experience.
Um, very exciting. All right. Um, so there [00:16:00] are new challenges, um, that can get in the way of academic success. Um, when you are entering sophomore, junior or senior year, um, For one thing, you’ll likely be taking more challenging classes. Again, this is by design as you get older, um, there’ll be more and more challenged with your classes.
Um, you’ll also have more options for different classes, um, which is a good thing you have more say. Um, but it can also be overwhelming if you’re not sure. Um, which subjects you’re most passionate about or, uh, you’re not sure which level is right for you. Um, this can be confusing and overwhelming and finally more involvement with the college process at this point.
Um, of course, especially during, uh, junior and senior year, you’ll really be, um, either starting or wrapping up, um, your [00:17:00] college process. And that is a huge investment of time and energy. Um, You can even think about it as, you know, an additional class. Um, yeah. It’s not something to be taken lightly. It will be a big investment of your time.
Um, so that’s just one more thing that you’ll need to balance, um, on top of your coursework and everything outside of that,
there are things, however that get easier about high school as you progress. Um, thankfully, um, for one thing you’re typically more adjusted to the school environment at this point. Um, so academically, um, socially you all around, um, you’re, you’re typically more used to the types of classes you’ll be taking in the rigor.
Um, And there’s less of a transition between grade levels typically. Um, additionally, your study [00:18:00] skills are likely more developed, um, at this point in your high school career. Um, so your time management, which we talked about, um, your organization, all that good stuff, um, as you get older, um, those skills get more and more refined.
Um, and finally, as I mentioned before, you have more say in the classes that you take at this point, um, which can be overwhelming, like I said, um, but it’s also a great thing, right? Um, there are more electives. Um, there are a lot more choices, um, and if you’re really passionate about certain subjects, um, it’s awesome.
Uh, you get to focus more on the things that you really care about. Um, and like I said before, you tend to do better, um, in the classes that you, you really care about.
Um, so some things that were exciting and satisfying [00:19:00] about my personal academic journey in high school, um, that I hope all of you will feel the same way when you’ve wrapped up your high school experience. Um, I discovered several new academic passions. Um, for me that was science. Um, in middle school, I wasn’t too interested in science.
Um, I was more involved with the arts, um, but by the time I finished high school, I loved science, um, particularly chemistry and neuroscience. And now that’s what I’ll be majoring in, in college. Um, so that’s one example of how your passions can really develop in these four or so years of high school. Um, and it’s very.
Um, let’s see when starting high school, you do have more independence, um, which I found to be a wonderful thing. Um, and I felt that I was more in charge of my own learning at this point. Um, this can be a [00:20:00] double edged sword, right? Um, it’s more responsibility. Um, you do have to advocate for yourself more, um, and that can be intimidating.
That can be challenging. Um, but it’s also very rewarding and looking back, I’m so glad that was an opportunity that I had, um, throughout my four years of high school. Um, I also found that I eventually struck a pretty satisfying balance between academics and my other priorities. Um, my family, my extracurricular interests, um, my social life.
Um, music and theater, um, all that good stuff and trying to strike that balance is, um, it’s a lifelong endeavor, right. Um, it’s always going to be a challenge. Um, but it’s a challenge that we want to put all of our effort into. Um, because again, it’s very rewarding when that pays off. Um, and finally [00:21:00] I found that overall, I challenged myself and it really paid off.
Um, and again, looking back, I’m really glad that I pushed myself in the ways that I did. Um, and even though it’s, it can be tough and scary in the moment. Um, it, it all up eventually, um, we’ll come back and reward you.
All right. So my final advice, um, to students starting high school, um, who want to get the best grades that they can. Um, I would say, first of all, be patient with yourself. Um, it’s always going to be a learning curve and the most valuable experiences involve challenge. Um, and, and some struggle. Um, if it were easy, straight A’s all the time, you really wouldn’t learn anything.
Um, so be sure to be patient with yourself, um, and keep in mind, um, [00:22:00] that I’m also maintaining perspective, um, remembering that grades aren’t everything. Right. Um, we all know they’re very important. Um, When it comes to college when it comes to life in general. Um, but they, aren’t the only thing that define you, um, as a college applicant and as a person, um, I promise and finally creating an effective support network.
Um, so it doesn’t matter who is a part of this network, um, as long as they are there for you in your best moments and in your worst moments. Um, and again, if you feel that you’re struggling asking for help is the most important step to success.
Okay. So this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, [00:23:00] moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a. Paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. So our first question is what would you recommend an already high achieving student do to maintain their grades?
Will there be possible study habits or tips? Yeah, absolutely. Um, so first of all, congratulations, um, that you’ve been doing well so far, um, it’s important early on to establish a good foundation, um, when you’re first starting high school and even before, um, As I mentioned earlier, um, things do get more challenging throughout high school.
[00:24:00] Um, so I’d say, you know, keeping up with the good habits that you’ve developed so far, um, time management organization, um, all of those really essential study skills, um, and just really committing to, um, the academic subjects and, um, the extracurricular subjects, all that good stuff that you really care about.
Um, because as you go on in high school, those are the things that are gonna make you stand out and that are ultimately going to make you happy and fulfilled. Uh, so that would be my advice. Okay. We are having lots of great questions coming in. These are great. Um, our next question is, does studying longer mean better grades and how do I study efficiently?
Yeah, great question. Um, so w sometimes people will use the phrases, um, working smarter versus working [00:25:00] harder. Um, and so I think that goes hand in hand with, you know, studying longer versus studying, um, more efficiently, like you mentioned, um, in my opinion, working smart and working hard are both important for success.
Um, Let’s in terms of efficiency. Um, I think that scheduling out blocks, um, to focus on specific subjects and specific assignments, um, that’s a technique that’s always worked for me. Um, and really trying to hold yourself to the schedule that you set. Um, of course, sometimes there’ll be setbacks, there’ll be distractions.
Um, but if you can, again, try to hold yourself to the goals that you set. Um, that is one way of studying really efficiently. I also would say that, uh, the more [00:26:00] you can, uh, Find out what works for you because you know, different people’s minds work really differently. I was someone who it really helped me to sh study and short, concentrated bursts.
And if I tried to study for more than 30 minutes in high school, it would just all slip right out of my brain. Um, versus some people they just want to do it in long chunks. So the more you can figure out what works for you, if it works for you, that’s the correct way to do it. Okay. Our next question is please offer some tips on how to balance a rigorous collegiate sports schedule with my college work.
Yeah. Um, so I am not an athlete. Um, I must say, um, but it’s great that you have something you’re really committed to outside of the classroom. Um, I would say, you know, this is really a question about time management, um, and a lot of the strategies we talked about, [00:27:00] um, locking out your day, um, trying to get a rough outline of how much time you’ll be spending practices, how much time you have to study.
Um, and again, what study strategies are going to work best for you. Um, so if you have a long chunk, um, and that you’re able to pay attention for however many hours and, um, Uh, really do well in that long period versus, um, like Hannah said, you know, breaking out into smaller periods, um, but really just scheduling out your day, keeping track of how much time you have.
Um, and planning ahead is very important. Um, especially when you have a busy schedule. Um, so not starting assignments the night before. Um, that’s always a good idea. Our next question is what are some ways to limit screen time? Hm, that’s a great question. Um, [00:28:00] so. For some folks, it works to just say, I’m not going to use my phone for this amount of hours.
And that works for them for some people, um, that does not work. So there are, I know some applications and programs that you can use to actually, um, like shut off your phone for a period of time or you can’t access certain apps. Um, I don’t know the names of any of them off hand, but I think that’s a really good resource.
Um, especially if you have a designated study period, um, you can say, oh, I’m going to turn off my phone for this amount of time. And I won’t be able to get back in. I also recommend, I feel like I often will like pick up my phone compulsively, like I’m not mentally. Thinking it, I just do it automatically.
If you can turn all your devices onto airplane mode so you can pick it up and like try and go on something. And then when it doesn’t work, you’re reminded like, oh right. I’m not supposed to be [00:29:00] on this. I’m going to put it back down. Just something like that that gets in the way can be very helpful. Okay.
Our next question is I struggle with perfectionism and end up spending too much time on each assignment. Any suggestions on how to know when my work is good enough? Yeah. This is an awesome question. Um, I have definitely been through the same thing. Um, perfectionism is one of those things that while it seems like a positive thing and it can be a positive thing because you’re very detail oriented and you put in a lot of effort.
Um, it can also be debilitating, right? Um, like, uh, The student mentioned, um, you can end up spending too much time on every assignment, um, and it can end up being an issue. Um, I’d say one practical solution is setting a time limit. Um, so you don’t want to give yourself too short, a [00:30:00] period of time to the point where you’re rushing and you’re stressed.
Um, but saying, um, I’m going to work on it for this amount of time. Um, and I’m going to see where I stand. Um, and if you finish and you feel like you’ve gotten to look it over, um, just stopping it and leaving it there, um, I feel that sometimes it really is the best choice to just put something away and maybe come back to it later.
Um, because then you’re less, you know, wrapped up in it and you really want everything to be perfect. Um, coming at it with a fresh set of eyes, um, after a little bit of time has passed, um, is one way that I found can be very helpful as well. Definitely. Okay. Our next question is how do you not get stressed with a lot of classes that you selected?
Yes, the ultimate question. Um, [00:31:00] so like I, um, talked about before balance is really important. Um, and. Sometimes I found that if I’m really, again, wrapped up in something and I feel like I’m just not getting it, um, or I’m spending too much time on something and fixating on it. Um, sometimes it is best to just step away.
Um, I found that my, um, extracurricular interests, um, are a great sort of separate, um, entity that I can focus on, um, when I’m frustrated with something. Um, and that’s one benefit to having, um, Interests outside of the classroom that you’re really invested in. Um, that’s one way they’re really beneficial is you can say, well, I’m going to leave this for now.
This is causing me too much anxiety, and it’s not good for me. Right. I can’t do my [00:32:00] best work when I’m stressed out. Um, so that would be one of my recommendations is, um, just to voting that time to your passions and going back to your passions, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve gotten quite a few questions sort of to this, um, to this point.
So our next question is what are your personal study habits and what techniques do you use? Yeah. Um, let’s see, I’ve mentioned a few of them, um, writing out, um, the free time I have in the day where I’m not in class or, um, in another commitment, um, And saying, well, I have this much time here this much time here.
Um, what can I work on here? Um, what can I work on here and making sure I get, um, to a good place by the end of the day? Um, one thing [00:33:00] I do that I recommend for everyone, um, is setting a bedtime for yourself. Um, I did this throughout all of high school and I’m very happy I did because sleep is not something to be taken lightly.
Um, so saying if I’m up till let’s say midnight, um, working on homework or studying, um, I need to go to bed at this time. Like, it doesn’t matter where I am. Um, I can ask for an extension. I can, um, work on it in the morning, but really, um, setting that, that boundary for yourself. Um, Even though it’s sort of a personal boundary.
It’s also an academic boundary because you need sleep to do your best in class the next day. And do your best if you have an assessment. Um, yeah, that’s one of my recommendations. Our next question is actually combined. Two questions is what is the best settings [00:34:00] to do work in that you find most helpful to stay concentrated?
And should I join a study group? Yeah. Um, so for settings, um, it really depends on what works for you. Um, I find that. I like to study and complete silence. I’m the opposite. I’m really like group settings where they like music. Um, yeah. Um, this just goes to show that it really depends on the person. Um, so I would recommend if you’re not quite sure what works best for you, you know, trying a few things out, trying to do a few different settings out.
Um, do I work best when I’m at home or when I’m at the library in my classroom, um, just testing those kinds of things out and seeing what works best for you. Um, yeah. And then for study group, um, again, I think [00:35:00] that depends on the person. Um, but I’d say it’s probably a great idea. Um, as long as the other people in the group are really committed and focused, um, I think it’s great to have other people’s perspectives and to collaborate on your assignments that way, again, as long as it’s allowed, um, with your teacher to, to work through problems with other folks.
Um, but yeah, I think that’s probably a wonderful idea. Our next question is how late is too late to study and is studying in the morning better than studying at night. Hmm. Um, I would say again, this probably depends on you. Um, I find that let’s see if I stay up too late and I try to study, um, my brain is like mush.
Um, so I think, you know, again, [00:36:00] setting a boundary for yourself and saying, I don’t want to study. Around this hour or else, I know I’m going to be too tired to focus or I’m going to be too tired the next day. Um, it depends sort of if you’re a morning person or a night person as well. Um, um, the only thing I’d say with morning studying, like studying right before class is you want to make sure you’re not rushing.
Um, so if you’re doing work for your first period class, like 20 minutes before your first period, um, you’ll probably get to a point where you’re a little stressed out. Um, so you probably want to avoid that if you can, uh, on that topic, I’ll, we’ll say there’s a lot of really compelling research that says that if you study the night before and get a good rest, um, You have a much better rate of remembering than if you study in the morning, but again, that’s only if you get a full night’s sleep, which it means at [00:37:00] least eight and a half hours, so that your brain has time in REM sleep to digest that information.
So similar to how Chloe has been saying, if you’re not actually getting a good sleep, then you’re probably not going to perform well on an exam. Okay. Our next question is, can you share your journey on how you wrote your personal statement when you started, how many edits, et cetera? Yeah. Um, so the personal statement I found to be, um, the most intimidating part of the college process, honestly, um, I, I do love writing, but I found that there was a lot of pressure placed on this one, um, piece of writing, um, But that said I did start my personal essay sort of brainstorming, um, the summer before my senior year.
Um, which is, I’d say a pretty typical timeline. Some people start before some people [00:38:00] start after. Um, but I think it was a good amount of time for me to, you know, really not put pressure on myself and, um, try to produce something under pressure. Um, so I, you know, I took a few months to brainstorm topics, um, because that was one part of the process I was, um, pretty nervous about was finding the right topic.
Um, and it is important, right. Um, because you, you want to decide what you want to tell colleges about yourself. Um, and that is an important decision. Um, so I gave myself lots of time with that. Um, let’s see. I. Started drafting, um, in around August, um, before my senior year, um, I took a few weeks to, to write and to draft and to revise.
Um, I [00:39:00] got a few pairs of eyes on my essay, um, just to give their suggestions. Um, I think it’s really useful to get a bunch of different points of view on your writing, um, and taking their feedback. Um, whether that’s an advisor, um, a guidance counselor, a teacher, um, a friend, whoever it is, um, Again, just making sure that your words are your own of course.
Um, but feedback is a really valuable step. Um, and I tried to, um, complete all of my writing a few weeks before the deadline. Um, whether or not I did that. I, um, it’s good to aim to, um, give yourself some time, so you’re not right up against the deadline. Um, but yeah, just giving yourself lots of time to, um, reflect.
I think that’s really important in, in [00:40:00] writing all of your, um, statements, especially your main personal statement.
Okay. Our next question is I study concentrating when doing work. Do you have any tips? Yeah. Um, so again, Experimenting, um, Hannah’s strategy might work for you of studying in shorter bursts rather than trying to force yourself to, um, work for hours on end without a break. Um, uh, yeah, there’s no correct answer with, um, how to study.
Um, again, it really comes down to what works best for you. Um, otherwise,
yeah, self-discipline is tough. Um, so I’d say [00:41:00] for one thing, I’m trying to limit your screen time again. Um, That’s a big distractor for a lot of people. Um, and just trying to put aside, whatever’s distracting you as best you can. Um, and just giving yourself that time uninterrupted, um, however much time it is to, um, to focus my, my personal advice, which may run very contrary to what people usually tell you.
So a little, a little bit, in terms of my own experience, I, uh, have ADHD which was fully undiagnosed for all of high school. And so I could not concentrate for long chunks of time. And so if you can develop, if you have that kind of brain, that just isn’t going to do that. There are some coping mechanisms that I found really helped me.
So I’m having timers so that you could do like 30 minutes of writing an essay to 15 minutes of TV. And then I would just [00:42:00] cycle through that until I finished an essay like four or five hours later. I’m also moving where you’re working every 30 minutes to an hour. So I, in college, I would go to a coffee shop to this library, to that library until I finished a problem set, things like that, that can break up the way your brain is experiencing things.
Um, if you have sort of a neurodiverse brain, a brain that just can’t concentrate for long periods of time sometimes, uh, you know, just, just like that’s, that’s my kind of working smarter, not harder, um, because if your brain isn’t able to concentrate for hours at a time, no amount of. Willpower is going to make your brain want to do that.
So that’s my, if, if your brain just isn’t working like that, that is my recommendation is try out some of those things and see if they help. Oh, we just got a question about ADHD other than those mechanisms, [00:43:00] um, what coping mechanisms, mechanisms are best for ADHD other than those coping mechanisms. Yeah.
This might be a question for you, Hannah. I don’t have experience with that personally. Um, yeah, so as I, as I mentioned, all of mine are pretty much self-taught. I wasn’t diagnosed, um, in high school and it was pretty much me just finding workarounds that didn’t make me want to slam my head against the wall.
Um, and so. I really do recommend experimenting with like, just any way to, to keep your brain occupied. So another one I know that people do is like study while you’re walking or moving around. Um, so you’re not just sort of having to sit in a chair and, uh, and I’m trying to hammer the information into your brain.
Um, if you can, if you’re able to [00:44:00] read and walk at the same time, some people are better at that than others. I recommend that, um, or listening to music helps me being in loud places helps me. Um, and I really do think that try just trying things out and, and I’m promised you’ll find something that makes it a little easier.
Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the Q and a we’re having wonderful questions, keep them coming in. And I want to let you know what you can do if you would like to. One-on-one with one of our advisors from our team of over 155 admissions officers and advisors, you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom.
Right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member. We’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us and back to the Q and a. Okay. Our next question is, do you have [00:45:00] any tips on how to avoid plagiarizing? Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, and it’s interesting because plagiarism can be intentional, but it can also be accidental.
Um, so avoiding, um, Hmm. Um, I would say one thing that might help is keeping track of your sources. Um, so. For example, you’re doing a project on, um, a certain topic and you’re looking around for potential sources and you, um, you read a few sentences of one and then you sort of forget about it. Um, and then later on you’re, you’re writing your paper or creating your presentation and you may not even recognize it, but that information is still in your brain and it comes up and you’re like, oh, um, maybe I should say this.
Um, so that would be an [00:46:00] incidence of accidental plagiarism. Right. Um, so in that way, keeping track of your sources, um, if you’re not sure where something’s coming from, um, double check, um, and always feel free to ask questions. Um, if you’re not sure if something is plagiarism or not, um, ask your teacher.
Yeah. Um, yeah, they’ll, they’ll be able to help you out.
Okay. Our next question is I sometimes struggle with holding myself to too high expectations and it’s hard for me to lower it. What would you should guess suggest and should I use stress relieving techniques? Yeah, absolutely. Um, so first of all, stress relieving techniques I’d recommend for anybody. Um, again, finding what works for you.
Um, yeah. High school is a stressful time as I mentioned. Um, but yeah, holding yourself to too high [00:47:00] expectations, um, it’s, it’s a wonderful thing to be ambitious. Um, so that’s not something you have to beat yourself up for, you know, um, wanting again for your work to be at its best. Um, and just really acknowledging that when you’re in the moment, um, And not beating yourself up for it.
Um, and again, I’d say seeking support from your network. Um, so establishing who those people are, who make you feel really good about yourself, um, who make you feel like whatever you’re putting out into the world is, is wonderful. Um, and in those moments where you’re too hard on yourself, um, I I’d say going to other people, um, and reaching out to them, um, that’s something that I have found to be really helpful, um, in those [00:48:00] moments for myself.
Our next question is, do you have any suggestions for determining when to focus on your extracurriculars and passions compared to your grades, what is more important in the admissions process? Yeah. Um, so. This is a great question. Um, I’d say if, from my perspective, if I had to choose, I’d say grades are a bit more important.
Um, but everything is important. Um, it’s a holistic process, right? They’re going to be looking at everything. Um, and so again, you don’t want to put all of your energy into one section of that and neglect all of your others. Um, I find that for myself, you know, designating those times, um, throughout your day, for example, [00:49:00] um, if I’m interested in singing, um, I have choir rehearsal from seven to eight 30, um, and that’s my time to be like super engaged in my, my love of singing.
Um, And then, you know, from eight 30 to 10 30, that’s my time to, to study. Um, so again, I recommend planning out your schedule, planning out your day, um, and seeing what you have in terms of balance. Um, if it’s too heavy on one side or the other, trying to adjust that, um, yeah, there is no secret to balancing, um, all these parts of your life.
Um, like I said, it’s, it’s a constant challenge, um, but just sort of listen to yourself, listen to your gut, um, and try to plan ahead as best you can. I would say the one other thing to keep in mind is [00:50:00] the kind of schools that you’re interested in applying to. So if you’re, um, looking to go to. A big state school with that you can probably get into with grades, but you’re an athlete.
And that’s your ticket in, um, maybe your grades, aren’t the most important thing. If you’re, um, a violinist applying to a conservatory, again, maybe your extracurricular and your passion and, and, you know, even if you’re, um, applying to an Ivy league school, your passions are incredibly important. Um, not to freak anyone out, but we did a webinar last month with someone who had straight A’s and a perfect score on the SATs.
And they were rejected from their early admissions, the school that they applied to early admissions, because they seemed like they were only capable of academics, even though that wasn’t true for that student. Um, so she rewrote [00:51:00] some of her essays to try. Uh, and then got into S you know, six IVs. So she did fine, but, um, but, uh, school’s really do care about passion and they care about, um, what kind of a member of the community you’re going to be.
So that’s both the academic community, which is why grades are important. They want to know that you’re not setting yourself up to fail, but they also want to know, okay, are you going to join clubs? Are you going to be, are you going to be like, if you’ve done bassoon for 10 years, are you going to keep playing bassoon with us?
Um, are, do you care about things other than just like what it means to be high achieving? Um, so again, that’s not really helpful. The answer is both, but, um, but don’t, but try and see if you can lead with the things that you can. Okay, our next question is I’m an athlete going into my junior year [00:52:00] and my ninth grade year I had A’s and B’s while on honor, roll with COVID and everything it’s affected my 10th grade year with my grades being above a 3.5 to now 3.2.
How can I get myself back on track towards straight A’s for college? Yeah. Great question. Um, so first of all, I’ll say that colleges are aware of the toll that COVID has taken on students on high school students. Um, and they already sensitive to that. Um, right. A lot of people have had this kind of experience where the pandemic has negatively impacted, um, their grades or, or another part of their experience.
Um, so they are understanding, um, however I’d say, you know, trying to get back on track, especially now that classes will hopefully. Be going back to in-person. Um, if they haven’t already, um, [00:53:00] I’d say, like I mentioned earlier, setting aside some time to do that, giving yourself sort of a grace period, um, and you will need to prioritize, um, your, your grades.
Um, but for a spell while you’re, again, getting back into the swing of things, um, because when you hit a rough patch, you know, part of, um, one of the hardest parts is getting back into it, right? Um, it will take time. It will take a lot of hard work. Um, but I’d say, you know, you mentioned you’re an athlete, um, depending on how involved you are with that, you may have to sacrifice, um, Part of that experience, um, in order to get back on track, um, and again, not sacrificing your well-being or the things that you care about truly.
Um, but just giving yourself, you know, some leeway and, [00:54:00] um, giving yourself the extra time that you need. Um, so again, it’s an issue of balance. Um, and some things, sometimes things will be knocked out of whack for a bit. Um, and you do need to give yourself the space to, um, get back on track. Our next question is how do I deal with really tough teachers?
That’s a great question. Absolutely. Um, so I take keeping in mind that probably, I don’t know them personally, um, but I’d say it’s very likely that they do care about you and they do want you to succeed and they want you to learn, um, Sometimes, you know, the best teachers are the ones who, who really push us.
Um, that’s what I found throughout my high school experience. Um, there were teachers where they made life a little harder for me. Um, and I was, I really [00:55:00] appreciated in the end. Um, so keeping that perspective, um, also just sometimes just talking to them, one-on-one, um, asking them if they have time after class to chat and saying, Hey, like I might have, I’m struggling right now a little bit, or I feel like you’re hard on me, um, in particular and just really getting into their head and, um, connecting with them on that level.
Um, because often, you know, the answer will be, I want you to learn. Um, and I know that you’re capable and that’s why I push you harder. Um, So again, just, you know, talking to them outside of a classroom setting, um, and just connecting with them as a person. Um, that’s one thing that I’ve I’ve, um, found is very helpful, um, with teachers that you may struggle with, [00:56:00] I would say that about 95% of teachers really aren’t, they’re not out to get you.
They just want you to care and work hard. Um, and sometimes the best way to show that you do care and work hard is to go to them and say, Hey, I’m working hard, but I’m not doing as well as I would. Like, how can you help me, you know, do better. Um, and some, and then there’s that like, you know, three, four or 5% of teachers who really are just mean.
Um, and, and sometimes that’s just a storm to be well, Um, unfortunately, but for the most part, I think if you talk to them and say, I I’m working hard, I want to do well. How do I do well, most teachers, that’s all they want to hear. Okay. Our next question is how do you feel about class rank and should I use it to measure my success?
Hmm. Um, [00:57:00] yeah, that’s a great question. So, um, it is one metric, um, for academic achievement. Um, but all it’s really doing is placing you in the context of your grade. Um, so. It’s not to say, oh, you’re a poor student. If you’re not number one. Um, and it definitely shouldn’t be the only metric you use to measure your success.
Um, yeah. Um, it, it can be something that puts a lot of pressure on you. Um, so my recommendation is to not pay much mind to it, if possible. Um, and just focus on what do migrates look like? Um, what does my GPA look like rather than am I doing better than this person? Um, yeah, my high school actually did not have class rank on either.[00:58:00]
And I was, I was pretty thankful for that because, um, I felt that it can easily be turned into, um, you know, something competitive, um, between students and, um, something that ends up being sort of toxic. Um, But yeah, just trying not to, um, compare yourself as much as possible, um, because 99% of the time, um, that’s not going to help you.
Okay. I think this last question or this question is going to be our last one. Um, so I’m trying to look for a good last one. Um,
which is, uh,
how much multitasking is too much. Ah, [00:59:00] that is an excellent question. Um, I think this is another one where I’m going to say it depends on the person for some people. Um, I know a lot of people who are. Awesome at multitasking. And they find that it actually helps them focus, um, or it helps them get their work done.
Like Hannah was saying, you know, listening to music, um, being in louder spaces, not necessarily multitasking, but having that, um, other stimuli while you’re trying to do your work can be very helpful. Um, for me personally, I was terrible at multitasking and I find that I need to be like a hundred percent zoned in, on one thing, um, in order to do it well.
Um, so that would be my take on it. But again, I think it depends who you ask. Um, if you feel that you’re not really giving a hundred percent of your attention to whatever you’re trying to [01:00:00] accomplish, that’s probably too much multitasking. Um, yeah. Again, just finding what works for you. Um, yeah, that would be my.
I think that has been the theme of tonight’s webinar, finding what works for you. Okay. Uh, thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight and thank you, Chloe so much for presenting. Thank you all for being here. Yeah. Okay. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about how to earn the highest grades you can, and here’s the rest of our July series.
So tomorrow we have adjusting the high school. Thank you so much for coming out tonight and have a wonderful night.