Time Management: Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student

Join our exclusive webinar on “Time Management: Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student.” In this insightful session, we will delve into practical strategies and valuable insights to help you master the art of time management during the crucial high school years. Former admissions officer Brandon Mack will cover essential topics to empower students and parents alike:

  • Balancing Act: Learn effective techniques to balance academic commitments, extracurricular activities, and personal time.
  • Strategic Planning: Discover how to create realistic schedules and set achievable goals to stay on top of coursework and activities.
  • Stress Management: Gain insights into managing stress and maintaining mental well-being in the demanding high school environment.
  • College Preparation: Understand how effective time management plays a crucial role in the college application process and beyond.

This webinar aims to equip you with practical tools and a holistic approach to time management, ensuring a successful and fulfilling high school journey. Don’t miss this opportunity to set a strong foundation for a balanced and successful future. Register now to secure your spot!

Date 03/12/2024
Duration 57:53

Webinar Transcription

2024-03-12 – Time Management/ Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student
Hello, hello, hello. Hi, my name is Sydney Mantel and I will be your moderator today. Welcome to Time Management, Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student. As I said, my name is Sydney and I am a proud first generation college student and graduate of the North Carolina, um, at Chapel Hill.
I am also a CollegeAdvisor here with CollegeAdvisor. com and I really enjoy working with students. And then in my day job, I do science communications with Noah. Um, just really quickly before we get started, I just want to orient everyone with the timing of the webinar. We will start off with the presentation and then answer some of your questions in a live Q and A.
On the sidebar, you can go ahead and download the slides and start submitting questions in that Q and A tab. All right, so let’s go ahead and get started. So let’s get started and meet our presenter, Brandon Mack. So hello everyone. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Whenever you decide to watch this webinar and thank you for all of you who decided to attend us live today.
My name is Brandon Mack, pronouns he, him, his, and I am a former admission officer. I was spent. The majority of my admission career at my alma mater, Rice University, where I started as an admission officer and worked my way up to being an associate director of admission. So, I actually got to chair admission committees for all of the undergraduate schools at rice.
In addition to that, I’ve also worked with the National Association for college admission counseling as part of their guiding the way to inclusion faculty leads on and educating people on how to make the college admission process more accessible and equitable. For I’ve been with CollegeAdvisor as a former admission officer for the past two years, and I’ve enjoyed working with students and families directly on navigating the admission process.
And I’m very proud to present this webinar today. So let’s get into it. First and foremost, by asking you all a question, we would like to know who is with us today live. So if you could tell us what grade are you currently in just so we can get a sense of who is with us today. All right, so let me figure out how to open up this poll.
so we have the options for 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and other. So, please be sure to let us know what grade are you currently in.
Alright, awesome. So, if I’m looking at this correctly, uh, about 20 percent of our attendees are in 9th grade. 20 percent Are in 10th grade. We have 40 percent that are in 11th grade and 1 percent that is others. So that is or 20 percent that is others. So that is awesome seeing that we have a variety of different students because this topic does impact all students.
So regardless of if you’re just starting out on your college admissions journey in 8th, 9th and 10th grade, or you’re in the thick of it as an 11th or senior, This is definitely going to be applicable to you, and we thank you once again for joining us. And also, thank you for all of you who are listening to this webinar today.
So just to start off, why is time management so important? It is important for a variety of reasons, but it is especially important for you as a high school student because you are balancing a lot of things and a lot of different areas of your lives. You have classes and academics, so this can include not only your traditional course curriculum, but this can also include research, internships, and other elements of your academic progression and academic exploration of your interests.
You also have a variety of extracurricular activities that can take up your time. This can also include having a job, but also having other responsibilities related to your extracurriculars, such as being an officer or participating in a variety of different activities. Then you also have your family and friends.
You want to spend time and enjoy the time that you have with your family and friends, but you also may have family responsibilities, such as taking care of younger brothers and sisters and other family members. And then of course, you have to take care of yourself. So that means taking care of yourself physically by Exercising, eating right or whatever you do to make sure that you maintain your physical form, but then also your mental form.
So that could include meditation that can include therapy that include any number of things that you do to take care of all of yourself. But what we want to make sure is that you’re putting that time and attention into every single one of the aspects of your lives. Now, when you add to that, you also add to that the fact that you want to go to a college or university.
As I often tell students, you need to look at this particular process sometimes as if you’re adding an extra class. Because you’re doing a lot of work related to it, right? You’re preparing drafts of essays. You’re writing. Writing out your extracurriculars. You’re thinking about what schools you want to go to and doing the research related to that and preparing for your meetings with your advisors and with the other individuals who are helping you.
So you want to make sure that you’re putting that time and attention even into the application process. So Seen as an additional class, but also an additional area that you’re adding to your life. And that means making sure that you’re taking care of applying and putting all the attention that you need to to each of the different elements of the application.
It also means. Making sure that you are talking to the people who are going to write your letters or a recommendation in a timely fashion. So that way they’re not rushing to get your letter in and also that you’re making sure that they have all the materials that they need to write the most effective letter possible.
It’s also making sure that you put the elements needed into your essays and to your supplements and also doing the research necessary to see why do you specifically want to go into that college or university. But ultimately, time management is going to be a skill that is going to be needed for the future.
As adults, we can definitely tell you that we continuously try to manage our time effectively to be able to fit in it. All of our different responsibilities, all of our different commitments, all the different things that we want out of life into the life that we have and the time that we have. So learning time management is always going to be important because of the fact it is a skill that you’re going to use throughout your entire life, but also.
Managing your time effectively also means that you’re maximizing the things that you do and maximizing the opportunities that you have because you’ve made the space and time to accomplish all of those things. So what are some tips for time management? First and foremost is to get organized. This means getting a real sense of all the different commitments that you have.
So one of the things I recommend is that you actually make a work plan by using a spreadsheet or a written document. One of the ways that I’ve used a spreadsheet in order to do this is literally to have A column with all the different times down the down the side of it, using them in 30 minute increments starting from 6 a.
m. because usually that’s when I get up to about midnight. Usually that’s the time. I usually go to bed and being able to plan out. Well, what exactly do I do during most of my days? And then across the top, you have the different days of the week. And then you literally are blocking out the times that you know are fixed.
That’s a good way of being able to see, okay, when are the times in which I usually have free to be able to fit in other things that I want to do. Another method of doing that is actually using a written document, where you literally write out all of your different commitments, so you’re writing out the classes that you have, the extracurriculars that you’re involved in, your family, the things that you want to devote your time into, so that way you get a real picture of what are the things that are occupying my time, and what are the things that I want to make space for.
Then you want to block out those things that are fixed. This could be your classes. This could be your club meetings, your work hours. These are the things that you know are not going to change because you know, they’re going to be done at a fixed time, literally every single week on that particular day during those particular times.
One thing that I would always do after I got my syllabus for any class that I have was usually going into my calendar and blocking off those times because I knew I was going to be busy with class during those times or I knew that I would have assignments coming up and those were fixed and I wanted to make sure that I was making time available.
To make the best submission possible for those particular assignments or be prepared for those particular tests. Same thing with club meetings. If I knew that a club meeting was going to be on the first Wednesday of every single month during seven to 9 PM, I would always make sure to block off that time.
So that way I knew I had that fixed commitment and would always make sure that there were no other commitments or no other obligations or things that would, uh, that would mess up with that time. And then when you always get that work schedule, you always want to make sure that you’re blocking out that time because you want to make the money related to that particular job.
And you want to make sure that there’s nothing that there’s nothing that’s going to interfere with those times. So blocking out those times is very, very important. But also you want to make note of all the upcoming milestones. So if you have a tournament, you want to make sure that you have that date blocked off because you know you’re going to be busy going to that tournament performing your best and hopefully coming away with that trophy or that medal.
Big exams. You want to make sure that you’re putting the time and attention to prepare for those exams, but also blocking off the times that you know that you’re not going to be interrupted when those big, big exams happen and then application deadlines. Application deadlines are known. They are fixed and you want to make sure that you’re submitting your application.
Before that deadline date to ensure that you get the fullest consideration, but that particular college or university and also making a list and outline of tasks that you need to complete for those milestones. So it’s taking those big things and breaking them down. So if you know that the application is due on that particular day.
Maybe you want to make sure that the other parts of the application are completed before then you want to make sure that you’ve asked for the letters of recommendation if they’re needed before then and breaking down those particular tasks. Same thing as it goes with the particular class that you’re wanting to go to.
It could be that you’re making sure that you’re building in the steady breaks and the steady times that you need to be effectively prepared for that particular class. So you want to make sure that with any of your major milestones, such as research applications and deadlines for your schools, or outlining the number of essays for the amount of schools that you’re going to apply to.
And in asking for teachers and their recommendation letters, you want to make sure that you’re breaking down those tasks and building in the time effectively to ask for what you need. So that is submitted and received by you in a timely manner. Another good piece of advice is to work backwards from those big deadlines.
This is also giving you the ability to make sure that you understand the amount of work that is going to be needed. So maybe you’re using that main application deadline and working backwards to figure out. When do I need my essay to be completed? When do I need to submit those letters of recommendation?
When do I need to make sure the other elements that I want included are also going to be completed and included in a timely fashion? Now you always have a lot of people you can use to get advice from. So I definitely encourage you to talk to your parents. Talk to other teachers. Talk to your counselor.
Talk to your advisors here, a CollegeAdvisor who can help you with time management and helping you figure out what are those things that you may need to better effectively use your time. Maybe you need someone who can be an accountability partner, meaning you need someone who is willing to check you on your progress and say, Hey, have you worked on that essay?
How’s that essay coming along? How is preparing for that particular test? Are you ready for that particular tournament and us as advisors as well as your support system can serve as those accountability partners because you don’t want to let them down and they’re going to be there to support you and make sure that you do meet those deadlines effectively and then you can also once again ask your teachers and counselors for feedback on the relative parts of your work plan.
So making sure, Hey, did I count? for everything that I know of that is a part of my life and that I should make time for because we do want you to sleep. Sleep is wonderful and sleep is needed. So make sure that you do that. Make sure that you’re building in the time. To take care of all the different aspects of your life, but also make sure that the things that you really do care about are accounted for in your work plan.
So these are some good pieces of advice, but also there are many tools that are out there to help you with effective time management. And here are a few that I definitely recommend to students. I recommend doing a time tracker. A time tracker is a great way for you to get a sense of how do you spend your time?
You can use it to start and stop when you’re working on particular projects. So that really gives you a sense of this is how long it takes me to devote to robotics, or maybe to devote to debate, or how long I spend working on a particular project or at a particular job. And it can give you a real good analysis to say, Hey, you’re spending about eight hours here on schoolwork.
Maybe a couple of hours here on your extracurriculars, and then you’re able to see that and make adjustments as needed to fit the things that you want to accomplish. Toggle is one of the time trackers that I use, but there are many apps that you can find in any of the app stores and online to help you track your time and see.
How exactly are you using the time that you have? I also definitely recommend a calendar. A calendar is a great place to keep all those major deadlines. It’s also a great way of getting a bigger picture of what your month is looking like, what your year is looking like, but even what your individual days are looking like.
Some people prefer to use an online calendar such as Google Calendar or any number of calendar apps. But we also have some individuals who also love to use the traditional, uh, Uh, planner method. I am one of those people. I have a daily planner that I use, and I literally use it to plan out my days, um, to make sure I know what I have to do, but also where do I have space to work on different things as well?
And then I also encourage people to have a to do list. This is a great way of keeping track of all the individual things that you’re doing. Maybe you’re in a club meeting and you get assigned a particular task. You can easily add it to your to do list. So that way, you know, These are the things that I need to do.
Also, it’s a great way of keeping track of maybe your daily routine to make sure that you’re doing all the things that you normally need to do to make sure you’re accomplishing all of your goals and tasks to do is is one of the great, uh, to do list applications that I personally use. But once again, There are many different options out there.
So use these tools to help you manage your time effectively and keep track of all of your different obligations and needs. Definitely make sure that your calendar is up to date. Things change. We live in an ever changing world and environment. Sometimes things get canceled. Sometimes things get added. So you always want to make sure that your calendar is up to date because it helps you to know what’s going on.
What time do you have and what time it has already been blocked off and then make some time to plan It really is going to help you in the long run and it doesn’t take that long. So Literally, I usually recommend taking maybe Saturday afternoon or evening to plan your entire week It gives you a sense of knowing okay These are the big things that I know of that I absolutely have to do, but also here is where I have some additional free time to be able to add in additional steady time or additional preparation for that tournament or for that particular aspect that I want to devote more time to, or it’s a great way of knowing here’s where I can take a break and go watch Netflix or go do something fun for myself.
But getting that big picture of the week is going to be worth it for about the 10 maybe 30 minutes it takes to plan out your entire week. But also I do recommend taking the time in the morning to plan out your day. It’s a great way once again to make sure that the obligations that you have are still the obligations that you need to meet but also to make adjustments in the event that something gets canceled or something gets moved around and then you know what time do I have to devote to other things.
So, taking the time to plan actually saves you time in the long run, because once again, you know the time that you have to devote to things, but you also know when you’re going to be busy and have other obligations. So how can students best balance extracurriculars with academics? You do want to be strategic about your course selection and your extracurriculars, because all of these things are going to require time.
Many students often ask, what do you need when it comes to applying to a college or university? What you need is to demonstrate that you are an academically capable student, but also that you’ve explored the different things that you’re interested in. And also, how are you going to contribute to being a community member at that particular college or university?
And your course selection and extracurriculars are great ways of demonstrating that. And so you want to be strategic in terms of making sure that you are balancing the time and attention that is needed to make sure that you are challenging yourself academically, but also performing well in your classes.
So that means you need to know yourself. Do you know that you’re someone who is going to be strong in all of their different academic areas of interest and therefore can handle multiple advanced placement classes? Or do you know that you’re someone who maybe needs a little bit more time and a little bit more attention in certain areas?
So therefore, your academic rigor may still be challenging, but you need to devote a little bit more studying time and a little bit more preparation time. To be effective in those classes and then are you building in the time to explore your different interests by getting involved in extracurricular activities?
It may be getting a job or many or many of the other things you do outside of your time. So front loading some of those difficult classes in the beginning can give you some time in the later part of your years. So for example, you can make sure that in your freshman, sophomore, and junior years, that you’re taking advantage of as many honors classes as possible, and also taking advantage of many APs.
So that way, by the time that you become a senior, you’ve completed your academic requirements for graduation, and therefore it gives you some space in your schedule to devote a little bit more free time, and maybe have an off period, to where while you’re still maintaining your academic course load with having The four main academic areas of English, science, social studies, and math taken care of.
You also then have that built in time for elective time to where maybe you can take an off period that you’re using to apply to colleges and universities. Giving yourself that front loading of difficult classes frees you up to where you now have that space for the additional added activity of applying to a college or university.
Same thing when it comes to standardized test prep. You want to make sure that you’re putting that time and attention to study effectively for the SAT and the ACT. So maybe that means doing that during your ninth grade year, doing that during your 10th grade year. So that way, during your 11th grade year, you’ve taken the score, you’ve taken the test, made that score that you really want to make.
And then that frees you up for other time where you’re not devoting it to test prep. But also give yourself once again that space to focus on your applications and extracurricular leadership in your senior year. Many times senior year is where you become president, chair, or the head of that particular organization, and you’ve worked so hard.
In those first few years to get to that final position. So you want to make sure that you’re able to do it effectively in the way in which you can leave a long lasting legacy in that particular activity and front loading that involvement in the beginning and giving yourself that space in your senior year to be that effective leader.
We’ll definitely maximize that activity for you. Same thing in terms of life, as I mentioned, uh, giving yourself that additional space and time to devote to your college applications by maybe giving yourself a free period because you’ve done all the advanced level coursework ahead of time to give yourself that free period at the end of your senior oh, towards your senior year.
And also when it comes to extracurriculars, you should really focus on. extracurriculars that are going to demonstrate your passion and impact. You really should be doing extracurriculars because you enjoy them. It’s because of the fact that they give you an outlet, they give you a way of expressing yourself, a way of exploring your academic interests.
You shouldn’t be doing it just because you’re doing it to put it on your college application. Every single year I have students who ask me, what’s the minimum number of community service hours I should do? I always ask them, do you like doing community service? If they say no, don’t do it. Don’t do it. The purpose of community service is to be in service of the community because you want to give your time and your gifts to that particular endeavor.
Not to just say, oh, I did 100 hours of community service. Because think about it. If you just did those 100 hours to put it there, but it doesn’t demonstrate any passion and you’re not making any impact, could you have used those 100 hours towards something that is your passion and something that you could have made an impact in?
Absolutely. So you should, once again, Make sure that the extracurriculars that you’re involving yourself in are truly things that you’re going to be passionate about, that you’re going to give all of yourself into it, so that you’re making that huge impact. If it is not something that you’re truly devoted to, go ahead.
Quit that activity. I know it seems a little scary for me to say that, but once again, I’m going to emphasize it. It’s okay to quit those activities that are not your passion and not demonstrating your impact. Because once again, that is time you’re using up that you could devote to other endeavors that are going to prove that passion and prove that impact.
So once again, think about those activities, think about the impact you want to have on, on others and in your community. That’s going to be worth your time. And also many people say, Oh, should I do a passion project? The emphasis once again should be passion. It should be something you’re inherently passionate about, because if you’re passionate about it, you’re going to be willingly able to devote your time.
So think about these things and they all go into time management because the time that we have should be devoted to the things that we truly want to do and the things that are truly going to make an impact. And if it’s not going to do that, it’s okay to try it out and maybe say, That wasn’t for me.
I’ll move on to the other endeavors that are going to demonstrate that passion and impact. So how can students going into their senior year stay on top of their college applications while also committing to other activities? Once again, this is where having that full picture of what’s going on in your senior year is going to be helpful because it’s going to let you know what time do you have.
So once again, make that work plan. Make that work plan and create some buffer room for you. So if you know. I got a block off this time for class. I need to block off this time for my extracurriculars and for my job. The remaining time is how you want to use it. So you want to make sure, okay, I’m going to devote this particular number of time and hours towards my college applications so that you’re consistently working on it, not necessarily just saving it all towards the end.
Because if you save it all towards the end, you’re not going to have enough time effectively making sure. Does this essay say what I want it to say? Am I really conveying to the college and university that I’ve done the research and know the understanding of why I want to go there? So once again, that work plan is going to be helpful, especially at the beginning of your senior year, to say, Hey, I know I want to apply to 15 colleges and universities.
I’m making sure that I’m making the time every single week to devote towards that endeavor, to make sure that those applications are going to be the best effective applications to give me the best opportunity to go to that school. Also finalizing your college list prior to the start of your senior year is going to save you a lot of time because you’ll know how many essays am I truly Going to work on how many supplements am I truly going to devote.
So, if you do that work, especially before the summer of your senior year, it will help you in managing your workload. Cause you’re going to know how much work is ahead of you. And speaking of that, I encourage you to use the summer to work on your on your college applications. The common applications, uh, essay topics are generally available before the start of your, of the summer of your senior year.
It’s a great time to work on those drafts because you know, you’re going to need that one central application essay to go to every single one of those colleges and universities. And you can use that summer to work on those drafts. You can also use it to do that college research to know why you want to go to that particular school.
You can also look at those previous colleges. Essay topics on supplements to see maybe I can go ahead and start writing and think about thinking about what I want to say in response to that particular prompt so that when August 1st comes, I already know what I’m going to write out. And once again, it saves you time and then use that calendar.
Use that calendar to mark off all those important deadlines and milestones because you’ll have it in your head. That visual representation often will get planted in your brain that I know well. These applications are coming up, or I know I have these schools all due on November 1st or on November 15th.
So I can plan ahead to make sure I’m not cramming all that in towards the, uh, towards the end of the application deadline. So what should students do if they’re struggling with managing their time? Be honest. Be honest, asking for help is so important and you want to be sure that you give yourself that ability to ask for help.
So I always encourage students to do just that, to make sure that when they need help, that they are asking for that help. So reaching out to your CollegeAdvisor and saying, Hey, I need help. Can you help me with outlining my activities? Can you help me with how much time do I spend on each of these activities?
And also Can I bounce off ideas on which one of these activities do I need to keep, which one do I need to cut, and which ones do I need to focus more time on? Also, try to minimize distractions on your day to day. Uh, I know we love our phones. I know we love our phones. But sometimes our phones can be a great distraction.
And many of the other applications of things of that nature can be a great distraction. So maybe you want to do a report. In terms of do a report in terms of what should be on. Um, how much time am I devoting to my phone? How much time am I devoting to my apps? And then making sure that you are taking the time away from it.
I use this great app called freedom, which actually blocks out the time. Distracting websites and also prevents me from going on the Internet when I’m needing to do some focus work. It’s a great way, once again, of minimizing those distractions, deleting those apps that are taking way too much of your time, but also give yourself some planned breaks.
One time management method that I use in terms of focus work is something called the Pomodoro method or the tomato timer. Literally, you set a timer for about. 25 minutes if you want to use that for a work session, or sometimes maybe 50 minutes, and then at the end, you give yourself an intentional 10 minute break before doing it all over again.
So it’s a great way of planning a session in which, you know, you’re going to be focused and working on that particular one project and one project only, and then giving yourself a built in break before you do it all over again. So utilizing once again. All the different tools and methods is going to help you stay on target and help you to manage your time effectively.
And with that, we’ll take a break for a poll. So we want to know for those of us who are joining us, where are you in the application process? So you can give us a sense of are you currently, you know, starting? Are you in the middle of it? Just to give us a sense, once again, of where you are in the process.
And we’ll give everyone about a minute to fill out the poll. And Brandon, while they’re filling out that poll, I just kind of wanted to ask you a question. What was one of your favorite extracurricular activities that you did in high school? My absolute favorite extracurricular activity was speech and debate.
I absolutely love, love, love debate. I was a policy debater. I also did all of the different speaking events. Those tournaments every single weekend were a great time to get to know my fellow teammates, but also other schools. And so yeah, definitely big fan of speech and debate. That makes sense. You’re an excellent speaker.
Um, I see it. Um, great. Well, I will go ahead and close the poll, which have a couple of responses.
Okay. So we see that we currently have some people who are just starting out. We have Some about 20 percent of our students today are in the ninth grade. 20 percent of our students are in the 10th grade. We have 40 percent that are in the 11th grade and 20 percent that are others. So once again, thank you all.
And once again, it doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out. In this process, gearing up for this process, or in the thick of this process, learning time management is ultimately going to help you. So what advice would I give a student trying to manage their time in high school? First and foremost, I want you all to remember this.
High school is about exploration and, and so it should be filled with exactly that. I know many people think that this is all about applying to colleges and universities, and that’s a part of it. But once again, it’s a part of it. This is an amazing transition period in your life. It is where you’re finally getting to get some autonomy for yourself.
And ask yourself the question, What do I want out of my life? What am I interested in? What do I want to do? And so high school gives you that ability to do that. You get to choose your classes. You get to choose your activities. You get to choose if you want to have a job or not. So utilize that opportunity to explore and have fun.
Ask yourself those questions. What do I really want to do? And how can I be able to explore that? Try out those different things. Try out for cheerleading. Try out for speech and debate. Try out for history club. Anything that you just want to explore and experience, this is the time to do it. But the things you should do should be serving you.
It should be something that is serving your interests. Something that is giving you fun. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. Because if you’re truly not passionate about it, if you’re truly not interested in it, It’s going to come out in your application. It’s going to come out in the way that you write about it because you’re not going to write about it with as much enthusiasm or fun as other people who are truly interested in it are.
It’s also going to come out in the way in which you feel about how did you spend your time? So you want to be proud of the way that you spent your time and feel that you got the most out of your high school experience. Another particular advice is to keep your work with you. So I always, uh, keep my books with me or anything that I’m working on because you never know when you may have a free time or a free moment to be able to work on that.
And that can minimize the amount of work that you have to do later on. So maybe while you’re riding on the bus or any other form of transportation. Maybe it’s for while you’re waiting on an appointment. Maybe it’s in between breaks, um, when you’re doing a sporting event. Those could be great ways for you to maintain your work and to work on the other things while also doing the other things that occupy your time.
Don’t be afraid to say no. No is a complete sentence. Now, I know that there may be a fear that, oh, if I say no to this, does that mean that the opportunity is closed to me? That’s not necessarily true. Maybe you’re saying no because it’s giving you the capacity to be even more impactful, even better. At that thing that you’re currently doing.
So it is perfectly fine to say, no, those opportunities will still be there and they can be revisited when you have more time and capacity. So sometimes it’s best to say, no, I can’t do that additional task right now. No, I can’t do that additional responsibility because I want to make sure that I’m devoting the time and attention to be effective at what it is that I am doing.
Try to stay as focused as you can. Like I said. Eliminate distractions if you need to. If you’re someone who knows you need light music to be effective, do that. If you’re someone who knows that I need to be deeply head down, all distractions eliminated to do my work effectively, do that. But do your best to be as focused as you can.
And you want to not multitask too much. Because if you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to be as effective in that output. So do the things that you need to focus as much as you can. Give yourself grace. We are human. We are human. No one is perfect. No one is. So you may mess up. You may forget.
You may not plan as effectively. It’s okay. You’re a work in progress. You’re always going to continuously improve, improve. And as long as you stay the course of continuously improving and giving yourself that grace, you can always get back to it and be even more effective the next go round. So give yourself that grace and space.
But ultimately also, please get a good night’s sleep. I know you do a lot. Like I said, you manage a lot of different areas, but in order for you to be effective at those areas, you’re going to need the energy to do that. So please get a good night’s sleep. Okay, I know you do a lot. I know it may seem like you need to do a lot in order to get into a good college university.
I’m here to tell you, you can do all that while still getting plenty of good night’s sleep and ultimately, it’s going to help you manage your time better anyway, because you’re going to have the mental clarity that comes with it and the focus that comes with it to do the things that you need to do effectively.
So with that, we’ll open up the floor to any questions and answers. Yes, thank you, Brandon. That was a fantastic presentation. Um, just a reminder for everyone. You can submit your questions through the Q and a box on the side. Um, I will be reading through those questions that you submit on the Q and a tab and post them into the public chat so that you can see them.
And then I’ll read those aloud for our panelists can give you an answer. And just as a heads up, if your Q& A tab is not letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Um, so let’s just start off with a question that I think would be helpful for me.
Um, I do a lot of collaboration in my work and sometimes time management when on a team can be difficult. So, What advice do you have for students who are working on group projects and need to coordinate their schedules with their peers to make sure that everyone is contributing effectively? Absolutely.
What I definitely recommend when you’re collaborating with other people to work on a particular project is maybe using something like a doodle poll or some other type of collective mechanism to where you all can see what time is available that everyone can meet. Right? So that’s a way for maybe scheduling a work session where everyone can work together collectively, because you all know that you’re free at that particular moment.
If that doesn’t necessarily work, then it’s also a matter of asking each other what your particular strengths and interests are. So that way you’re assigning the tasks that go along with those strengths and interests, because If they’re doing something that they’re naturally interested in and naturally strong in, they’re more likely going to devote the time necessarily to do that, even when you’re not collectively working.
So it’s also a matter of making sure that everyone is doing their part effectively and are going to be able to contribute effectively, even if you cannot meet at the same time. But the first and foremost thing is to see, is there a mutual time where everyone can meet? If that’s not necessarily available, then let’s make sure that everyone is doing a portion of it.
That’s going to be equitable for everybody and also is going to play to their strengths. And then you can schedule a check in with each other to make sure that each person is doing the task that they needed before the assignment is due. So hopefully that’ll help you to do an effective group project.
Yes, that was great advice. Um, and we talked, you kind of touched on this a little bit in your advice about how important saying no is. What kind of advice do you give to students who do need to navigate saying no to an opportunity and might feel guilty about missing out or, um, yeah, feeling like that opportunity might not come back up again?
Absolutely. So I know once again, as I mentioned that, that you can, uh, it can feel that way. One of the things that I often help students to realize is that. There are other opportunities that are similar or may even be better than the one that they think that is, that, that they’re really hoping for. So maybe it’s just a matter of you getting a sense of what all is out there, right?
It may seem like, oh, this is the only opportunity I have access to, but oftentimes that is not the case. Also, you can always ask those particular opportunities, can you give me an extension? Right? Cause maybe they’re willing to work with you and give you an extension to where you’re able to apply effectively in the time that you do have, or maybe that opportunity can come up in another time or in another way.
So there’s always ways of being able to maneuver. One first and foremost is let’s ask those questions, not be afraid to ask, to be able to fit it in. But secondly, let’s also see. What other opportunities are out there that can give me a similar or maybe even a better experience? Because I said no because that was the right thing for me.
And then that’s the other thing that I try to help students to realize. Maybe it is truly the best thing for you. Okay, sometimes you need to balance the pros and the cons, and sometimes you need to even write that out to say, hey, what’s the pro of doing this going to give me versus the cons of what doing this could do, right?
And seeing that can also help you to make the best and effective decision for you and also make you realize you’re not missing out. Great. Thank you for that, Brandon. We’re going to take a quick break from the Q& A and talk about CollegeAdvisor for a second. A CollegeAdvisors team has over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts like Brandon and myself.
And we are ready to help you and your family navigate the college admissions process in a one on one advising session. We’ve already helped over 6, 000 clients on their college admissions journey. And after analyzing our data since 2021, we’ve found that CollegeAdvisor students are 3. 3. 6 times more likely to get into Stanford University, 4.
1 times more likely to get into Vanderbilt University, and 2. 7 times more likely to get into Harvard. You can increase your odds and take the next step in your college admissions journey by signing up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admissions specialist on our team. All you have to do is use the QR code on your screen.
During that meeting, we’ll review your current extracurricular list. and your application strategy so far and discuss how that they align with your college list and outline the tools that you need to stand out in a competitive admissions world. Um, so yeah, be sure to scan that QR code and find out some more information.
It’ll stay on the screen, but we will get back to the Q& A. Keep typing those questions and, um, yeah, Brandon, let’s get back into it. So, um, you’ve really touched on a lot of great pieces of advice so far. Um, what is one way that time management might be different in college versus high school? And how can students start preparing for those differences now?
Great question. So one way that time management is very different in college than it is in high school. You actually get a whole lot more freedom of your time in college than you do in high school. So once again, these are like milestones, right? These are So in high school, you get a little bit more freedom than you did in, um, middle school, but still, you know, that you’re going to be in school pretty much from, you know, 830 to 330, depending on your particular school is going to change, but you usually know you’re going to be in school during that time.
Right? So you already know that that time is going to be blocked off for your education. And then you have your extracurricular things that nature in the afternoon and evenings. College, very different. You get to decide when you want classes. Okay, so if you’re someone who knows you don’t want to do any morning classes, you actually have the opportunity ability to decide if you want to do all of your classes in the afternoon that might not actually be able to happen depending on your particular major and things that nature, but you actually get to choose that.
So because of that, the time management is very different because you’re not confined. To a certain space, right? You don’t, you’re not confined to that school time. You decide how you want to spend your time. And on top of that, you don’t necessarily have the same accountability partners there to make sure that you’re doing your homework, right?
Because mom and dad is not there. You’re the one who’s there. You’re the one who gets to decide. Do I go to the library to do studying? Do I go to my room and do it? Do I spend that time where I should be studying on other extracurriculars and things of that nature, right? Sometimes you have meetings during the day.
Sometimes you’re the one who decides when you’re going to meet with your particular professor for study hours. So the biggest transition from high school to college, you have more say. And how you spend your time in college. So therefore your discipline that you need to make those determinations is even more increased or needed when you’re in college, because of the fact that you have more freedom and control of how you spend your time.
So usually that’s why I usually recommend to students learn good time management now, because you will transition those skills when you really need them in college, because of the fact that you have way more freedom and way more say. So if you know. needs to block out this t You know how to do it eff Yeah, it is definitely re those skills early.
I had in college where I only h Wednesday and thursday. S Some weekends were definitely more productive than others. So that actually leads me to my next question. Um, what should we do about weekends? How do we manage, um, to both relax and be productive, um, on our weekends without feeling too overwhelmed?
Absolutely. So, um, once again, this is going to be a very individual question and you’re gonna, you’re gonna want to do that work plan, like I mentioned, because if you’re someone who knows that you need it. Um, those weekends to be able to work, then, you know, how to be able to budget that effectively. If you’re someone who knows that you need a little bit more rest and need to build that time in, then you’re gonna want to work accordingly.
So, for example, for people who want to use their weekends completely and totally free for relaxation, they know they have to do way more work during the weekdays. So this may mean that you’re working Until later in the evening, because you’re needing to do that to complete all your work to make sure that you’re building the capacity to have your weekends completely and totally free.
Or if you’re someone who knows, Hey, I do want to work during the weekends, I will at least budget that time in the weekends to be able to do work, but also to balance it with relaxation. So for me, personally, I make sure that I know that my mornings. In the weekends are devoted to work, but my afternoons are blocked off entirely for personal.
So what does that mean? That means that any appointments, any work commitments, any time that I’m devoting to studying or things of that nature are done and scheduled in the morning. That afternoon, I don’t schedule any work appointments. I don’t schedule any study sessions. I don’t do any of that because that’s the time that I blocked off, but I’ve also made sure that during the week I’m able to honor and accommodate that time.
So once again, When it comes to that, it’s about you making sure that you’re making those allowances in order to do that and also putting in the infrastructure to protect that time by making sure it’s understood. And also you practicing that for yourself that I’m not going to put in work commitments.
I’m not going to put in steady sessions or things of that nature during that time, because that’s going to be the time that I devote towards my relaxation or whatever I’m going to use for the weekend.
Yes, it’s definitely all about balance. I think we just. Keep coming back to that. Um, another question that I have, could you talk a little bit about the concept of breadth of extracurricular activities versus the depth of a certain extracurricular activity? Um, what does that really mean and is one better than the other to CollegeAdvisors and to college admissions offices?
Sure. So let’s talk about first breath. So breath means that there’s a wide range of activities, right? That means that let’s say you’re doing speech and debate. You’re also doing anime club. You’re also doing student council. That also means that you’re doing a part time job. That shows that you have a wide range of activities.
And also those activities are across a lot of different interests, right? That is usually going to be your breadth. This is in the fact that you’re doing a lot of different things. Now, the depth that comes into it is how deeply involved are you in that particular activity. So let’s say, going back to that example, let’s say in speech and debate, you’re the captain of the speech and debate team.
That’s a pretty deep depth. But let’s say in Anime Club, you’re just a member. That’s not as deep because you’re just at the entry level of that particular activity, but then you get into even more depth with student council where you’re the student body president. So notice in both speech and debate and in, um, student council, you have a lot of depth because you’ve gotten deeper and deeper into the involvement of those activities and the amount of time that you devote to those activities is also going to be more within that activity.
Now, many people ask, as was asked in this question, which is better? That’s the wrong question to ask. The reason being is because we see students with both. We see students who have a breadth of experiences. We also see students who have a depth of experiences, and they both bring something to the table.
The question should be, why are you doing it? Right. Are you doing all of those activities because you generally have all those different interests and you want to experience all those different interests. Why are you getting deeper involved in an activity is because you truly enjoy it. You see it as a place and a space for you to make an impact.
Is it something that you do very, very well where you’re getting trophies, you’re getting medals, you’re advancing in the levels of competition. That should be your question. Not whether one is better than the other. Because it’s about what you are going to bring to the table. Because students bring both.
They bring their breadth of experiences. They also bring their depth of experiences. And it’s about, well, what are you bringing? So ask yourself that question is, am I doing this because it really is representative of me, my experiences, and what I’m going to bring to that particular college or university.
Thank you for that. Uh, what about unexpected things that happen? How can students adapt their time management strategies when some kind of disruption happens in their life? Absolutely, because life be lifing. That’s just truth. Life be lifing and we, um, can never accommodate for everything, but that’s reason for why we have to be nimble, right?
This is where giving yourself grace comes in. So let’s say an unexpected illness happens, right? You got to take the time to take care of yourself, so that means Letting other people know, letting your school community know and your teachers know that assignment. I’m going to need extra time to be able to do that assignment effectively.
Letting your extracurriculars. No, I’m not going to be at the meeting. I’m not going to be able to do that particular project because I’m I got to take care of myself. That’s a way of doing that is letting people know you need capacity to take care of that particular emergency. Maybe it means changing up your schedule because you have to accommodate and build in space for that particular additional component that has come into your life.
All those things can be adjustable. It’s a matter of making people know that those adjustments are needed. The same thing happens in a college application. There’s the wonderful additional information section where you can explain that you had to make adjustments because of your circumstances. And trust me, We understand and take that into consideration.
But the key thing is you have to let people know and allow people the opportunity and ability to be able to support you and to give you the ability to build in that capacity.
Yes. Being honest with yourself and with your teachers and counselors is all super important. I have definitely gotten some deadlines extended for many, many reasons. Um, so yeah, that’s great advice. Yeah. Um, and kind of just bouncing off of that. What are some of the signs of burnout that we should look out for?
You mentioned some preventative measures before, but, yeah, just. How can students make sure that they’re treating themselves right while still maintaining their rigorous busy schedule? Absolutely. When you are losing interest in something that you probably have had a lot of interest in, that could be a sign of burnout.
Um, when you are allowing deadlines and things of that nature that you know are really important to pass, that could also, once again, be a sign of burnout. So, check in with yourself, honestly, to say, do I need a break? Do I really need a break and a chance to refocus? Because what you don’t want to happen is, At the point in which you’re burning out, that it ends up impacting your performance and you can’t recover from it.
So that once again requires a lot of self awareness to a certain extent, but also recognizing when things are not the way that they normally are. And it may be because you’re really tired. And you’re starting to lose focus and energy and interest because of burnout. So those are just a few of the signs that I would recommend seeing and checking in with yourself when you feel it coming on.
Most definitely. Once again, being honest with yourself, really important. Yes. Um, and maybe our last question. What kind of advice would you just give for people who are chronic procrastinators? They don’t like to have a schedule. They You know, it’s always, I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow. Um, what kind of advice would you give to them to start helping with their time management strategies today?
Sure. So I definitely know for those procrastinators out there who want to wait to the last minute. Hey, I’ve been guilty of it my own self. But what you also have to see is, is that procrastination serving you? So maybe it is a matter of taking a step back and looking at those times in which you procrastinated too much and how effective was those outcomes for you.
So, for example, When you’re thinking about why did I not get into that particular program, maybe you need to think about did I put in enough time and attention into that application or did I rush to get that application in? Sometimes it’s being aware of your procrastinating behaviors that helps you to mitigate and to fix it because once again, um, the only way you’re going to be able to address anything is you got to face it.
So that requires once again, being honest with yourself. And so usually what I tell students and what I also even tell myself is this is not serving me. I need to put in something to where it’s going to serve me better. So then that means. Putting in and using maybe an app, putting in and maybe using an accountability partner to say, Hey, can you hold me accountable to make sure I meet these deadlines?
Can you hold me accountable to make sure that I’m meeting, um, what it is that I said that I’m going to do and then changing my ways so that I’m not getting into that. But once you start those habits, especially it gets better and it gets easier. And then you procrastinate a little less.
Great. Well, that is all fantastic advice. I definitely learned something today. Um, I think you can always improve your time management skills. So this was, this was awesome. Uh, Brandon, do you have any last pieces of advice or wisdom you’d like to share? Definitely would encourage everyone here to make sure that once again, they’re giving themselves space and grace.
This is all things that we’re all constantly learning. You’re not going to honor all right. Some of y’all will get it right, right then and there, but some of y’all is still going to be a work in progress. Just once again, keep working at it. We’re all doing the very best that we can. And as long as you’re doing that, you’re doing this right.
And I hope that this was helpful today.
Great. Thank you, Brandon. Um, that is the end of our webinar and presentation today. Thank you everyone for coming out. And thank you again, Brandon and Mack. Uh, we had a really great time telling you or listening and learning about this topic, time management, navigating school extracurriculars and more as a high school student.
Uh, here is the rest of our webinars for the month of March. We have some really great ones coming up, including some panels of current students. Um, so we really hope to see you at another, another webinar soon. I hope you have a good rest of your day wherever you are. Thanks.