Time Management: Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student
High school can be a lot. Sometimes it feels like there’s not enough hours in the day to juggle school work, extracurriculars, college applications, and more. Join CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts Maria Acosta Robayo as she provides strategies on how to best manage your time as a high school student. The webinar will start with a 30-minute presentation and end with a 30-minute live Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-04-12 Time Management: Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Time Management: Navigating School, Extracurriculars, and More as a High School Student. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. My name is Maria Acosta Robayo, and I graduated from Harvard class of 2020, where I studied sociology and global health policy and where I was also pre-med uh, I’m currently living in DC doing, uh, doing government consulting and, uh, working for CollegeAdvisor.
So real quick, we’re just going to do a quick poll. So what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re taking a gap year or you’re a transfer student, or if you’re a parent on the [00:01:00] call and while we wait for those answers to roll in, uh, can you tell us a bit about, um, what were your top extracurricular, um, extracurricular activities in high school?
Sure. Things. So, um, I did mostly sports related, uh, extracurriculars. I played tennis, um, most of my life and then also did cross country and track. Um, I also did a couple of academic extracurriculars, um, that included, uh, HOSA. So that was a, more of a medical, uh, related extracurricular and then did some science Olympiad, um, and was, um, yeah, participate in this company.
Great. Um, so it’s looking like we have 4%, eighth grade or 17%, ninth graders, 36%, 10th graders, 32%, 11th graders, 4% 12th graders and 6% others. So it’s a great mix and you can control the sides.[00:02:00]
Yep. Got it. You think that after a couple of years of COVID and pandemic, we’d get the, the meeting fixed, um, figure. Yeah, it’s really great to hear that there’s so many different, um, students at different grade levels here on the call. Um, so today we’re talking a little bit about time management and, um, I know as even if you’re a freshman or you’re a senior, you’re probably starting to juggle with lots of different things across different buckets of your life.
And so we wanted to, uh, have this webinar be an opportunity for you to ask questions about how to throw college applications into that mix. Um, so the first question we’re going to talk about. It’s a wise time management, so important. Um, and I alluded to this a little bit. Um, so high school students are balancing a lot of heavy life buckets.
Uh, that’s what I like to call them. Um, that includes classes. So there’s academic, um, academic versions of your day. And once you’re just taking classes and doing homework and studying for tests, um, you’re also doing different [00:03:00] extracurricular extracurricular activities, and that includes varied sports, um, music like visual arts, there’s lots of different, um, fields of extracurriculars that you can be either diving into one of them or kind of dipping your toes into several, several.
Um, and then there’s also family and friends, right? Your social life is another big life bucket. Um, and then physical and mental health, um, which affects all of those other buckets that I just mentioned. Um, and then what we’re saying is we’re now adding another huge life bucket, which is the college application process.
Um, and that includes your common app. You’re asking for letters of recommendation, um, all the logistics around applications, um, and then some of these existential essay questions that ask you about your passions and your goals and your identity and character. And so we’re adding a lot of other things into the mix of an already heavy workload.
So we want to make sure that, um, as you’re kind [00:04:00] of, you know, processing through all of these different life buckets, that you actually have the tools and the structure to be able to reflect well on them to be able to enjoy them. So that that’s the purpose of having this club and arm. Um, so what are some tips in general for time management?
I think that the greatest tip is getting organized on paper. Um, so it’s really helpful to have a visual work plan on either a spreadsheet or a written document that includes all your upcoming milestones. So if you’re doing different academic or. Tournament dates, big exams, application deadlines, all these big Walmart groups coming up in your life.
Like it’s really helpful to have a sense for when are they happening. Um, and then once you make that like list of upcoming milestones, you start making a list or outlining the tasks that you need to complete those milestones. So that might include, when are you going to do a research for your application deadlines?
It might include an [00:05:00] outline of the number of essays that your intended schools ask you to submit. Um, it might also include, um, asking teachers for their letters of recommendation, right? These are just very specific ones for the common app, but there’s a lot of, again, within those life buckets, it’s really helpful to get a sense for what milestones each of those include and what you can be doing in order to do those success successful.
Um, and then working backwards from those big deadlines, um, and giving yourself some general soft deadlines, um, to complete those tasks. So an example of this is a very clear cut. One is maybe all of you have taken some sort of exam, whether that’s APS or unit exam were final, you know, having the date for that is really important so that, you know what day you’re actually taking that.
But it’s also helpful so that you can see retrospectively how many weeks do I have before that exam? How can I structure the way that I’m studying the way that I schedule other important tasks around that, right? You don’t want to have a huge performance, [00:06:00] uh, test, uh, an application deadline, all these things on the same day, and maybe some that you can’t control, um, having the milestone on the same day, but you can’t control how you organize yourself to study or to practice or do prepare for those milestones.
Um, so that’s what having everything laid out on a spreadsheet or on a piece of paper will help you to deal. We’ll give you that visual recognition for what’s coming up and help you to plan for how to, um, meet those goals, goals effectively. Um, and the good news is that you can work on this with one of our advisors.
Um, I am also a CollegeAdvisor, um, at the company. And I know with my students, we do have like a set plan for big milestones coming up. And so it’s not like, um, we’re just going into the year, not having a clear understanding of a big task coming up. We, we chart those out together. Um, and so definitely if you have an advisor feel free to touch base about, um, creating one of these spreadsheets or, um, timelines with them.
Um, and then you [00:07:00] can also ask, uh, your teachers or your college counselor at your school for feedback on relevant parts of your work plan. So, you know, you’re a teacher might not know too much about your tournaments, but your coach does. Um, your coach, you won’t know too much about your exams coming up, but your teacher does, um, college counselors will be able to give you better feedback on like, whether you are, uh, spending enough time doing research or writing your essays and whether you allotted enough time before submission dates.
Um, so make sure that you get good, um, wise counsel in all these different parts of your work plan.
Um, so how can students best balance extracurriculars with academics? Um, so the first fill here is just be strategic about your course selection in your extracurriculars. You, um, might realize that you have really hard classes coming up your junior year or maybe your senior year. So you might actually want to figure out what’s the right balance of activities that you want to focus on, like [00:08:00] extracurriculars compared to the amount of study you might have to do on the academic side of the house.
Um, it might mean for example, that if you are going, if you’re, um, well, all seniors are going to have, uh, added workloads come August 1st when the applic, uh, the common app application opens. And so a lot of times students decide to front load some of, some of those more difficult classes their sophomore year or junior years.
So they build up the academic. Um, like the academic rigor of their curriculum, and then they focus more on their extracurriculars, on their essay, writing on their scholarships and other things that will come up that will be too early to do sometimes too early to do sophomore year or junior year. Um, but that will definitely be a part of your senior year.
Um, another example of this is a lot of students decide to take, uh, their standardized testing their junior year. Um, that might not be the best fit for everybody if you’re a senior and or if you’re a junior and you’re applying, uh, in the next cycle, [00:09:00] you might not have taken your S your standardized tests quite yet.
But, um, again, it’s doesn’t mean that you’re in a bad spot or anything. You just means that some students do decide to do that earlier so that they don’t have to do it later when they’re writing their essays. They’re focusing more on the application. Um, then, uh, another thing to do is definitely give yourself space to focus on applications and the extracurricular leadership, um, like building in senior year.
And so I alluded to this a little bit earlier, which is, um, your extracurriculars might be my build up a little bit each year, as you might rise in the ranks of your organization. Um, and so you might have more responsibilities each year, which might mean that you are more crunched for time when the academic side.
And so, um, again, front loading, some of those more difficult classes when you have more time and space, or you’re in a lower ranking at a club in freshmen, sophomore, and potentially even junior year, it could be helpful to kind of offset that time commitment that you might [00:10:00] have as a C. Um, and then another thing here that a lot of people don’t like to hear, but it’s necessary is, uh, trimming your extracurriculars.
Um, sometimes you might just have a lot of things on your plate and just no human being, can they handle that much? Um, and so you might have to cut some of those extracurriculars and, uh, as you’re doing that index on what you’re passionate about and what has, what you feel has an impact on your community and other people.
Um, and so what I mean by that is definitely don’t trim things that bring you joy, right? If you’re really stressed out doing academic work, if you are just under a lot of pressure, um, you might want an outlet that you actually enjoy, that you find interesting, that gives you a little bit of life as you’re, uh, struggling through other things.
Don’t cut those out. Um, it will also serve as, um, a very genuine indicator of things that you enjoy when you put that on your application. So first of all, don’t cut something that you [00:11:00] actually enjoy. And then to secondarily that also, um, sometimes effects, like if you’re able to write more genuinely about that activity, because you loved it so much, that will come out in an essay or that will come out in the way you write your activities description more so than something that you think looks better, but that you weren’t actually that passionate about.
Um, and then think about what activities you do that have an impact on others in your community. Um, all colleges, regardless of what ranking usually, um, focus on some of the community service or some of the ways that you use skills or talents to help other people. And so when you’re trimming down, extracurriculars, try to not trim down the ones that show that you.
You know, like selfless, uh, empathetic, um, caring about your community, right? Those are attributes that you want to show your admissions officers. So don’t cut those activities out, build those up. So the ones that give you joy, so your passion projects and the things that, um, have a social impact,[00:12:00]
um, and how can students going to their senior year stay on top of their college applications while also committing to other activities? So this is kind of like a question that sums up everything that I just talked about. Definitely have a work plan. Um, but as you’re going into your senior year, as we alluded, alluded to before, you’re going to have more responsibilities that you didn’t have before, right?
You weren’t applying to college or seniors. You weren’t necessarily, um, like increasing in leadership, uh, your freshman year, your junior year or your sophomore year. Um, and so as you’re trying to stay on top of those college applications, try to give yourself a lot of buffer in between the milestones of, um, drafting, your essays of studying for your exams, give yourself soft deadlines so that if life happens and you happen to cross over those, you’re not stressed out because they were actually due last week.
It’s like, no, your soft deadline was last week and you’re training them in this [00:13:00] week and you read a little bit over, but that’s okay. Look there there’s no grade is going down. Um, no letter has to be written about a late, late submission. Um, so giving yourself that time and that space to really be able to afford yourself some like human error, um, is really helpful.
Um, and which had students do if they’re struggling, uh, within June. So I think this happens to everybody, um, as, even if you’re great at managing your time in middle school, and then you come to high school and there’s more things added to your plate. Like, it might be really hard to know how to figure out how much time to spend on all the new things.
Um, like I said, senior year, there’s a lot of new things being added. So even if you’re fantastic at time management now as a, as a freshmen and sophomore, junior, like keep those structures and those strategies in mind, but just know that, um, you’re just going to have more quantity of things to keep track of.
So if you’re struggling with that [00:14:00] one, you can reach out to your CollegeAdvisor to actually help you. So again, that can look like asking them to help you outline the activities that you’re involved in and figuring out which ones do you want to trim? Which ones are you like? That can be a very detailed list of.
Like on the more detailed end of the spectrum, you can write out like how many hours you’re spending on things. Um, what commitment you have to it, how passionate you are and try to have like a numerical, like metric for like, okay, if you’re spending, you know, six hours on this and like seven hours in the other, but you only have 10 hours in the day, clearly you have to trim one of the two or lower your commitment for one of the two.
So having like more tangible understanding of how long things take can be really helpful. If you don’t want to go that detailed, you can just think about how many activities in total your participating in, and then maybe you try to cut it down to the ones that you think are not as important to you. Um, and then again, those are two different types of strategies that you can work with, um, with your CollegeAdvisor on, [00:15:00] um, then also trying to minimize the distractions on your day today.
Um, I had to do this, uh, not during my college application, but definitely now, um, in working life, I re I recognize there are different deadlines that have to hit throughout the day and. Um, having an understanding of like, okay, sometimes I will scroll too long. I’m on social media, on my phone, or I’ll like read through the news because I think it’s good, but it’s actually a procrastination strategy.
So keeping a screen report app on your phone can actually be a very tangible strategy to make sure you’re not spending too much time. Um, on, on, on your screen. Um, you can also, I know different phones have, um, applications where you could also, or like just the part of the system of your phone can be tracking, um, you know, putting a limit on how much time you’re allowed to use a specific app.
And that’s also really helpful if you know, a specific app is causing you to waste too much time in the day. Um, and then if that doesn’t work, delete the apps that are taking too much of your time, [00:16:00] you can always download them again in the summer or when you feel like you don’t have too many things on your mind, but that can be one just very clear cut way to add more time in your day.
Um, and then, uh, giving yourself planned breaks. So a lot of the time when Walmart starting to procrastinate, that can be because you’re just trying to take ownership back of your time. Um, I know that especially as a student, you might feel like a lot of external factors are dictating what you do with your time, right?
There’s a certain time you have to go to school, certain time clubs, meet certain times that things happen that can sometimes make you feel like you’re not really in control of your own time. And so we look to procrastination or to things that we can control. Um, and so what I would say is instead of using, instead of having that be like sporadically throughout the day, and without any rhyme or rhythm, give yourself planned breaks where you actually take time, very intentional time to say like, okay, this 15 minute, 30 minute hour is my time.
I’m going to do X, [00:17:00] Y, or Z that I really enjoy has nothing to do with academics has nothing to do with extracurriculars, but it’s time that I want to. Uh, retake. Um, and that will also just help you have a more fresh mindset, nine set. When you come back to, um, doing whatever academic or extracurricular activity you are, uh, you have to do yes.
So now we’re going to do another quick poll. So where are you in the application process? Haven’t started, I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And while we wait for those to roll in, um, since you’re about to go into this topic, um, how many APS, um, did you take in high school?
Yeah, so, um, I took a total of, I think, tiny piece. Um, but that looked different, um, like every year. So my freshman year I only took one. It was my first time taking an AP and it was AP world history. And so it was a lot of information. I’m [00:18:00] glad I didn’t, um, I didn’t end up thinking a huge course load. My freshman year of AP classes.
Then I slowly upgraded to take one more sophomore year. And then I took the most, my junior year. Um, I kind of did what I, what I mentioned here. If I knew that it was going to get a little bit more busy my senior year, so front loaded. Um, so in my AP classes did junior year and then, uh, took the remaining, I think four, three or four classes my senior year.
Yeah. So it’s looking like we have 37%. Haven’t started 54% are researching schools. 5% are working on their essays. 2% are getting their application materials together. And another 2%, the lucky few are almost done.
Great. So it’s really helpful, helpful to know where you all at, uh, with the application process. I think regardless of. Where you’re at, it’s really helpful to just have a better understanding of how to manage your time. And so, um, I hope that we’ll cover different, uh, strategies and tips that you can use regardless [00:19:00] of where you’re at in your process.
Um, so as McKinsey just mentioned, I’ll be talking a little bit more about like, what that looked like for me. Um, and so I, um, when I said like, you know, make sure you have things on paper. The two tools that I used was, um, my Google calendar and the spreadsheet. Um, so my Google calendar just helped me to have a visual for, okay, what are the tasks and the things I’m doing this week?
It also helped me to put an important, um, no, you can color code the different classes that you’re taking different. Maybe if you want to like highlight things where there is exams, it was just visually very helpful to get a sense for what my weeks or my month looked like. Um, And then I also had a spreadsheet and that, um, had more, um, more space to provide details about what those tasks were.
Um, so for example, if I had a unit exam exam coming up, you know, that would come up in my calendar it on the day, but there were things I needed to prepare before that date. So my spreadsheet allowed me to. [00:20:00] No break down, like, okay. On one day I need to review things from weeks one to three, then the next week I need to do from four to six.
And so it helped me to have a plan for how I was gonna meet, um, that task, um, or, or that milestone of a unit exam. Um, I also did, um, some mental just resetting about what freshmen and sophomore year was going to look like versus junior and senior year. Um, I had a really fun time freshman and sophomore year, like, uh, my obviously first time in, in high school, um, joining lots of different clubs.
Um, I had more Liberty about, um, what classes I was going to take. So being able to explore different classes, um, being able to sign up for again, more clubs and more, um, opportunities to just be involved in school. Um, and then I recognize my junior and senior year was going to be a lot more about, um, trying to figure out like what.
Sorry, my, my freshmen, sophomore, I was trying to figure out more of what I [00:21:00] liked. And so that was a whole like exploration period, but then junior and senior year was more like, okay, I tried lots of different things. I dipped my toes in lots of different pools. Um, now I have to get a sense for like, what do I want to build my leadership skills in?
Um, what do I want to commit to more, um, intensely? Um, where do I want, like, where do I want my student profile to be? Um, and that’s where I narrowed into like being pre-med. I focused a lot more in like my medical, um, medical and science extracurriculars. Um, and that looked like actually I was really involved in, I played in like a tennis academy growing up and I kind of ease out of that my freshman and sophomore year, as I realized, like, I wasn’t, this was going to have to focus more on academics and I did on the athleticism.
And so junior and senior year obviously had a big part of, you know, My life cut out in the sense of like the, the time I spend playing time has decreased significantly. Um, and I focus a lot more again on medicine and [00:22:00] science, um, and really built, um, like my leadership skills in the, in the clubs that I wanted to continue doing my junior and senior year.
Um, and then another tip that I, uh, I would suggest that I did when I was trying to manage my time in high school was I try to get a little head on each week on, on school tasks to add a little bit of buffer in my week. So if I knew I had, so usually, um, at least for me, we have rotating periods where we had.
All odd class sections are periods one day and then even so, you know, period, 2, 4, 6, and then 1, 3, 5 was we’re on alternating days. So I tried to do the homework for those days on the day they were assigned instead of leaving it for the next day, just in case it took longer, I had an extra day to do that work.
Um, and so trying to get ahead in little ways so that you’re not stuck, if you know, something happens, you’re sick, you have to go pick up a sibling or something like that, um, [00:23:00] can throw off that schedule. And so I try to account for that by front-loading a lot of the work as much as I could.
Um, what did I struggle with the most? I think definitely, like I mentioned before, balancing the academic workload with tennis. Um, I had to be very real with myself about the lug the level of rigor in which I wanted to continue different extracurriculars. Um, again, I, I. So for some of you who were thinking about being student athletes, um, or having a career in athleticism, some you kind of have to decide how much time you’re going to spend on academics versus training and trying to get better in that field.
That might also be the case. If you’re doing any other extracurricular, whether that’s performing arts or visual arts, again, you have to try to balance what you’re going to be, what you’re going to spend more time in. Um, and for me, again, it was really hard to figure out like, okay, I can play in college, but I’m not necessarily going to go into like a career in tennis.
And [00:24:00] so I had to shift my, my, my timing on what I was spending my time in resources. I think I also really struggled with balancing sleep and social life with increased workload. Um, I had to start taking more naps just because I wasn’t getting enough. I wasn’t getting enough sleep each night. Um, and so naps helped me to compensate for that lack of sleep.
Um, and then I just had to be more selective about social events. Um, I couldn’t just, you know, I had tests to study for, I, my weekends before had been tournaments and hanging out with friends and like now it was like, okay, I need to study for an important test coming up in the middle of the week, but I don’t have time to study for it on Monday, Tuesday, which means off the study for it on the weekend.
Um, so trying to not just go from one extreme to the other of like cutting out all social events, but definitely being more strategic about like, okay, I might not be able to hang out with three friends on this day, but on another day I’ll be able to see those three friends and a couple other ones at a larger gathering.
Okay. [00:25:00] Maybe I want to do. Um, so trying to just be very strategic about like what social interactions would help be uplifting and help my mental health and try to use, try to like index on doing those more than just like always hanging out with friends.
Um, so, uh, some parting advice that I would give to students trying to manage your time in high school would be to make a work plan. Um, to be honest, I think this whole presentation was a whole list of advice of ways to manage your time of waste, to try to figure out how to add all those extra tasks that college brings into the picture.
And so I think that the biggest takeaway is having a written work plan, adding a lot of buffer space before your deadlines and making sure you have a plan for how you’re going to meet the.
Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. We hope you find this information helpful. And remember that you can download the site from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and [00:26:00] a I’ll read through your questions you submitted in the Q and a tab and read them aloud before a panelists gives you an answer as a heads up.
If your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure you join the webinar through the custom links sent to your email and not from the webinar landing page or the website. Um, because this won’t give you all the features of big markets. So again, just make sure you join through that custom link sent to your email now to get started.
Um, okay. So, um, there was a question, but it left, but I remembered it. Um, the student was asking if they aren’t working with CollegeAdvisor, which we strongly advise you to do, uh, what, who can they go to, um, to get that, um, like accountability partner. Sure. Yeah. So as we mentioned, definitely CollegeAdvisor provides the built-in structure, but, um, there’s definitely other ways that you can do that.
If you have a college counselor that you feel would be, um, willing to commit the amount of time that an advisor here would, would do to your specific case. I know sometimes, [00:27:00] um, counselors have a lot of students and so it can be hard, but if you have, like, if you go to a smaller school or if you have a really good relationship with your college counselor, um, that can be someone that you can consistently come to to check over your timeline, to do some of that.
Um, I think honestly, accountability is really great with other people, but part of it will also be like, you need to be accountable to yourself. And so you set a certain milestone, a certain deadline, like make sure you’re setting reminders for yourself. Um, if you feel, if you need like the extra support again, ask your college, um, CollegeAdvisor, um, or, sorry, your college counselor.
You could also have like friends who, if you were both committed to just like in any other countability thing, you’ve, you’re both committed to definitely meeting certain goals. Um, having a peer in your class, uh, can be really helpful. Who’s doing the same things. You can build spreadsheet, you can get together and, um, yeah, like hang out, build that spreadsheet together and touch base every, I don’t know, every week [00:28:00] or whatnot and, and make sure that you’re both on track.
Um, uh, parents can also be somebody that, that, uh, helps with that accountability. Um, I know different students find that to be maybe a source of stress rather than, um, helpful accountability, so that doesn’t have to be the person, but that could be another person. Um, so yeah, but again, CollegeAdvisor does provide an advisor that is dedicated to doing this with you specifically.
And so that is a quick plug for having someone, um, beyond your. Definitely. And just real quick, I want to remind everyone that this is a larger audience night and that we would try to get to all of your questions if possible. Um, for this reason we ask you to not direct message the presenters or Marcella with your webinar, questions only message me if you have technical issues.
And then also, um, don’t click the vote button on your questions as it disrupts the order, uh, and the flow of the Q and a, and it slows down the [00:29:00] process because we have to like scroll through your questions again, to read binder place. Uh, so yeah, and we do try and get to the questions that we feel benefit the crowd as a whole.
Um, so if you have those more specific questions, we definitely recommend you to. Either, if you have an advisor to go to them or to, um, join CollegeAdvisor, to get those more specific or niche questions or personalized help, um, that you need. Okay. So now going on to the next question, um, and yes, I did want to add on that.
Um, having an accountability partner is really good, but also remembering, um, that they have schedules and deadlines and work, and they may not remember everything that you’re doing. So really holding yourself accountable is going to be the best way. Okay. So going on to the next question, um, okay. Uh, what if you want to play, um, a high caliber sport in high school?
How does this, um, layer affect time management, if you hope to do, um, both? Um, do wow. I cannot. [00:30:00] Okay. Uh, if you expect to do that in college, Yeah. So I think this question points to the fact that there’s definitely student athletes in college, right? You could be playing NCAA and that means that you do, you can’t just cut out a sport.
Like if I wanted to play NCAA tennis, I didn’t have to just cut out, um, sports or limit my time to now, where has to be more strategic about what I wanted, how I wanted to blend in the time I did, um, training and tournaments and building up that rapport on the athletic side with also my academic side. So what I would say about that is you have to be very clear on first what division school you want to get into.
So it’s really important to know what caliber you wanted. You want to play. If you’re playing for division three school, you obviously have a little bit more flexibility to maybe not train as many hours as maybe a D one school. And that’s just by virtue of like, obviously the competition is going to be different at D one versus [00:31:00] V3.
And those whore applying for D three, know that or D two, um, if you’re applying for a D one school definitely will. One, one thing I always recommend to any student athlete. Um, and I did end up playing NCAA a little bit in college, but, um, I didn’t do that while I was applying for college. Um, I would definitely based on like the students who did go through that process, they did have, um, they did reach out to coaches earlier on like probably their sophomore year, junior year.
There were some earlier on recruiting where you talk to the coaches and you figure out okay, in this specific school, What does it look like? What is the averages of like GPA? What are the averages of, you know, whatever indicators, um, the school thinks is important in their college athletes to figure out like, okay, what is the leeway in general that I have to maybe not score that 4.0, maybe it’s a 3.9.
I’m going to look a different marker [00:32:00] for, you know, how much time you need to spend on your academics. And so, for example, like a Harvard, I know that there was depending on what sport you were playing, depending on, um, what, uh, like student profile you had, like, if you were pre-med, maybe you just had harder classes and like that could affect your GPA.
And so talking with the coach of the specific team that you’re looking to get into, um, is really helpful as they will help you to better understand, like, what are the averages of people on their team? And we’ll give you a more like, representative picture of maybe what you want to strive forward in, in high school.
Um, I would also say that, um, you should think a little bit more as well about like, are there other like pre recruiting or like pre college obligation things that you need to be a part of? Like there might be some summer recruiting. I know there’s college camps that you might want to be in to the colleges, get to college.
Coaches can get a sense for like who you are, um, when it comes to actually figuring out that time management, the first thing is you [00:33:00] need to figure out what your goals are to being realistic about. Like, obviously if I’m not playing tennis at all, my goals for my academics are going to be much higher. If I’m bringing in tennis into the picture, right, with certain number of hours in your day might maybe my academic goals would have been a little bit lower in my, um, tournament and like achievement goals in a sport will be higher.
And so first thing again, to get a sense for what your goals are, is talking to the coach and getting a better sense for the averages of people on that. Um, so that’s what I would say. And I know that there are some, um, CollegeAdvisors on CollegeAdvisor who went through that, uh, process. And so if you were part of CollegeAdvisor thinking of, uh, joining, you can definitely request for someone who’s been part of the NCAA recruiting process.
Yes. So moving on to the next question, um, the students saying my school does not have any APS. We only have honors classes. Will this put me at a disadvantage? Um, when I, um, apply to college and should I try to self study for APS? [00:34:00] Yeah. So I would say no, um, call it when you’re applying to a college, they know what high school you’re coming from, and they will look at the different opportunities that were available to you in that college.
And you will be punished for not doing something that wasn’t available to you. I think the limited litmus test there that they’re looking for is that this student, um, pushed themselves to do the. Like the, the most rigorously available schedule that doesn’t mean that you have to go out and take every single AP class that was, that was given in your school.
What that means is like, did you challenge yourself based on what was available if you only had one AP class available, you know, did you challenge yourself to do that? Um, if you had 20, you know, you’re not expected to do all 20, um, but did you have enough in your schedule? So a couple every year or something like that, or at least one every year?
Um, obviously when you’re a freshmen, that might not be the expectation, but definitely after that, if it’s available and you’re going on, you’re applying to like very academically [00:35:00] rigorous school. They want to know that you have experience challenging yourself academically. It’s not like they will say no.
Um, just because you didn’t take enough classes and you didn’t meet that limit. What they’re trying to see is is this student, someone who likes to challenge them. And so if you’re not offered AP classes, but you’re offered honors classes, like, did you challenge yourself by taking honors classes? And so it will prove that character that there, or it will, um, show that you have that character of wanting to challenge yourself academically, that admissions officers are looking for.
Um, that being said, there are other opportunities, like you mentioned, um, you could self study for an AP exam, but that’s often not advisable. If you don’t have like an actual teacher who’s helping you through that process. Or, um, you mentioned that you didn’t have any AP classes at all in your school. And so it might be really hard to know or get a sense for like what an AP tests is actually like.
Um, and so if you have no experience at all taking AP classes, it [00:36:00] can be really hard and it can actually be. Um, take away from the time that you could be studying or working hard in your honors classes or your regular classes. Um, and so it could, it could be more of a detriment. So I would say talk to people who’ve taken the AP class.
You’re interested in read some of the books, try to get a better sense for how hard the class is going to be. And if you’re already really jam packed with your honors classes with extracurricular activities, it’s not worth it to just self study for the AP exam. Just for the sake of showing it, you could show that you have academic rigor in other ways, such as taking more honors classes, getting a better GPA.
Definitely. And this also goes for IB classes. If your school doesn’t have those. And then also dual enrollment also known as move on when ready, which are, um, working, partnering with the local college. Um, you don’t have to take on those options. It’s more so like what you’re looking to do, what you’re looking to gain.
We do have another webinar on that. So like what I think it’s called, like what courses should I [00:37:00] take in ninth and 10th grade or getting ahead in ninth and 10th grade, and then also just different things on extracurriculars and then courses in high school. So if you want more information on that, definitely check those out.
And, um, now going on to the next couple of questions, um, there’s a reoccurring theme of like mental health and self-care, so we’re just going to go through some of those questions. So the first one is how do you deal with burnout during extremely busy? Yeah. So I think, uh, what we’re saying here is we’re trying to avoid times where like, everything is crushed together, but sometimes that’s inevitable, right?
There might be times where you can control when you have exams, tournaments, big events when you get sick. And so in those times, I think what was helpful for me to sit down and write down, okay, what am I facing here? Like what what’s on my list? Cause sometimes I can just feel so bogged down by like tons of to-dos that I just it’s all in like a big cloud in my head and it’s just really stressful.
Um, so again, I just take pen and paper first and write [00:38:00] down categories. Okay. What’s stressing me out in my extracurricular life. I have a tournament. Uh, I’m not performing as well as I wanted to. Um, and then just listing them out and kind of just like venting it on the piece of paper. Um, just helping me like identify, um, what’s causing me to be stressed.
Cause I think something that can be really hard is if you’re stressed out and you just feel like you have all these things in your head, but there’s no way to actually like classify them into like, okay, this is the problem. Let me find a solution. So when you’re writing them down, you’re itemizing them and helping yourself get a better sense for what’s stressing me out and how, what can I do about it?
So again, making that list of okay, in school, this is the problem. This is the problem. This is a problem. Or this is what I’m facing. This is what I need. XYZ. Um, and then once you have all the like, quote unquote like problems or like tasks sanded your way, I think there’s a big sense of peace when you create like a roadmap or some type of strategy for how to tackle them.
[00:39:00] So getting a sense for like, okay, I’m not performing really well. Um, in my extracurricular, you know, I didn’t have enough time to practice, you know, maybe I need to skip out on a social event coming up and practice a couple extra hours to, to you better at this tournament. Um, maybe I need to do better in my unit exam.
Same thing. Cut out. You’ll in your specific circumstance, we’ll get a sense for like, okay, what do I need to cut out? Let’s say you already, unfortunately have no time to hang out with friends, no time to do like anything you’re feeling really bogged down. I think this is a time where it’s important to figure out, is there an extracurricular, is there something in my life that needs to be cut out?
And so that might mean like, you know, There is some extracurricular that could be adding to your, to your application. Maybe you’re a part of like a once a week club that is helpful, like just on paper, but you’re not really doing much to that club. You’re just kind of, you know, burning an hour. Uh, you have to spend extra in school that [00:40:00] you can be using elsewhere.
Like figuring out, talking to your CollegeAdvisor and figuring out like, you know, is this actually going to help me in my application or is the fact that I’m so stressed and this hour could, is the fact that I’m so stressed and actually deter me from being able to write good essays from being able to just have good mental health and enjoy this life stage of being a junior, senior, whatever year.
Um, and so having some real conversations around that is really helpful. Um, and then something else that feels very counter-intuitive when you don’t have time on your hands is actually getting. Um, I recognize that the times where I feel like the world is crushing over me and everything seems like a big deal is when I’m sleep deprived.
Um, and so sometimes I just have to like at a meta level recognize, okay, I can solve all my problems right now because I’m so sleep deprived. Like I need to plan to not, you know, do this for an hour and like go to bed an hour early or something like that because it’s an [00:41:00] investment on having a clear sense and being able to, again, you might think that having two hours to study is better than one hour, but if you’re sleep deprived, those two hours might actually only be as effective as 30 minutes.
So again, being very strategic about how you use your time, so that you’re in a better Headspace for tackling the problems that you have. And then again, listing them out on paper and itemizing. This is the problem. This is the roadmap to salute. Uh, going on to the next question, my parents think cutting my extracurricular activities will make my chances of getting into college, go down and I don’t know how to make them understand that I do it for my mental health.
What can I do to make them understand? Okay. Yeah. So I think that kind of goes off. Um, the point that I just mentioned that you, sometimes it’s not just a decision of like, I need to cut X, Y, or Z. Like, you know, if your parents are, are heavily involved in your application process, it can be really hard to, um, not just like [00:42:00] internalize yourself that you need to cut down extracurriculars.
You might also have the extra, extra curricular curricular of like convincing your family. That that’s also what needs to happen. One very quick, easy thing you can do is again, refer them to people who are doing this, like, uh, CollegeAdvisors, other people in your life, whether that’s called a college counselors, this recording other admissions officers, um, anything that can point them to people who are saying, you know, there some pros and cons to having a large quantity of extracurriculars.
Some of those pros can be, you look like a more well-rounded student and you look like you have a lot going on that can look at on the surface level, very attractive to, um, admissions officers, but admissions officers are trained to look at the depth and the quality of those extracurriculars in, so maybe a couple extracurriculars where you’re really showing that you’re passionate, you’re enjoying them.
And that comes from a genuine source of like, I like spending time on this will show on paper [00:43:00] and that will matter more than the number of extracurriculars that you’re doing. So if you’re doing so many extracurriculars that it’s affecting your mental. It’s actually going to impact your application negatively.
Like mental health is an important factor when you’re writing your essays when you’re trying to get good grades. And so if something’s causing your mental health to go down, it’s actually something to be really aware of because it could decrease the quality on things that normally wouldn’t be quote, unquote, bad quality.
And so a strategy that can hope with like trying to, you know, share your experience with parents or with other external, um, quote unquote like stakeholders in your application process is trying to show that your ability to think clearly your ability to enjoy the activities you’re doing will actually tangibly make a difference in your extracurriculars and the way that admissions officers.
Your extracurriculars as written on your essays, on your activity descriptions. Like [00:44:00] they will know if you don’t really care about that extracurricular, because it’s really hard to fake passion or to fake, um, deafness and interest in an extracurricular. And you won’t be able to do that if you’re stressed out or have bad mental health.
And our final question on this topic before we move on, uh, how can one balance, multiple leadership responsibilities while maintaining self care? And if you can also add in any self care tips. Sure. So leadership adds this extra layer of, you’re not just doing a lot of tasks, you’re doing a lot of tasks that impact other people, uh, the impact the course of your club can impact, um, even the applications of other people.
As you know, if you’re not able to see you’re doing a conference or something, and you’re not leading that well, and it doesn’t go well, like it’s. You know, affecting other people who are part of that conference, part of that, or using that conference as part of their application. So the, all that to say, like leadership, isn’t something to be taken lightly.[00:45:00]
Um, but because of that, it’s also something that’s really important to invest in. Well, and so what that means is, um, again, if you’re a leader in a particular club, like making sure you’re spending time thinking about the big picture of that club. So if that means like taking, um, you know, taking a couple like minutes, hours from other tasks, such as social life, such as like your, your own academic classes in order to have a good vision for what extra YZ task in your extracurricular is like, you might have to do that.
Like that’s what you’re signing up to do as a. And so I’m not highlighting these things to say, like, do, be a leader. It’s too much work. What I’m seeing is it is a lot of work to be responsible for other people to be responsible for PR for providing direction for his club. And because of that, you should be a lot more selective about what extracurriculars you’re a leader of.
Um, so you might be in a stage where you’re like, okay, like I am a secretary or I’m like high level, [00:46:00] next stop is definitely being president or like vice-president or like, whatever, like even higher leadership, but you should consider like, just because you’re a secretary for two years instead of secretary and then president doesn’t mean that you won’t be seen as having leadership abilities it’s you, um, are deciding to maybe not be at that top leadership in X club, because you want to be able to be a good top leader at another club or another extracurricular.
So it’s being very conscious of where, what what’s the extracurricular that you’re most passionate about. And then deciding, okay, do I have the opportunity to be at the top leadership or like some level of higher leadership? And then if so, and you know how much term that takes, don’t take that leadership position on all your clubs.
Be very strategic about the level of, of leadership, the level of involvement that you’re in, in different clubs. If you’re already a leader in all your clubs, I would say, think very critically about in the coming year, [00:47:00] which ones you might not want to be a leader of. Um, there’s plenty of students and I met lots of students at Harvard who were presidents of their club, you know, at some point in their like junior year and they didn’t do it their senior year.
I’m not saying that’s advisable for every club, but if that’s what it took for them to have more time to get better GPA. Or to be, um, more involved and have higher quality of involvement in it. Another club that’s fine. Like that’s not a problem. It’s not like admissions officers are expecting you to just continually be on this upward trajectory with like nonstop, exponential growth, all of your four years of high school.
Like there are expecting that you’re figuring out, you know, which activities you want to be a part of and at what level. Um, so that’s what I would say in terms of leadership. And I know there was another part about like tips on like, if you’re stressed out in your leader. Um, but I just want to make sure.
Oh self care characters. So I think again, the highest high level tip is make sure that you’re as much as possible [00:48:00] involved in extracurriculars or taking classes that you’re genuinely passionate about because it will make it just easier to go through tasks that might feel overwhelming. But if you at least enjoy the content, it’s going to be better than if you hate the contents and you have to do it anyways.
Um, so that’s obviously it’s very idealistic the thing that’s always going to be the case. Um, but try to as much as possible be involved in those things that you find, um, genuinely enjoyable. Um, other self-care things. Try to take some time in the weekends to just relax and have fun with friends and family.
Um, I know a lot of people, like it might be really hard to try to study on the weekends. And then I feel like you’re in this constant, like hamster wheel of going through classes, having homework, studying for tests. And then the weekend is just like, okay, this is where I can like crash course on everything.
Like try to figure out if there’s ways to plan, even if it’s just like a couple hours during the weekend where you’re solely just trying to figure [00:49:00] out like where you’re just like enjoying your time that can be watching a movie that could be hanging out with friends that could be literally just sleeping more, going out to a restaurant, like find the things that like, if you sit down and you’re like, okay, right now, if I had zero Tufts to do, what would I be doing?
Make sure you’re carving out some time in your weekend to do whatever you just said in your head about that you would enjoy doing. Um, and then lastly, another tip would be to just try to get more. I think regardless of you might have said sleep in the last, uh, kind of thought exercise. I just said, but if you didn’t definitely try to get more sleep on the weekends.
Definitely. And then also you don’t need to be president of every club that you’re involved in. Um, most admissions officers know that everybody applying to their school, isn’t president of everything. Cause that just wouldn’t be possible. Um, really it’s about, um, even if you are just a member in a club, it’s more so about your level of involvement that really matters.
Like she was talking [00:50:00] about the depth of your activities when you’re explaining what you did in them, whether that’s in the activities list or in your essays or wherever else, that’s, what’s more important than your actual title. You can kind of just make up a title name to make it sound fancy. But you don’t need to be president of everything.
Also, if you are a leader or you feel like you’re taking on a lot in a club, um, uh, it really does help to like lean on others within that group. So like asking them if they can help you or letting them know that you’re feeling stressed out, they may be feeling it too. So that can get a little, um, but uh, really working with others and letting them know where you’re at.
Also what your teachers in your classes that can help. Um, I know some teachers say like, Hey, in college, this one fly, but it definitely flies in college to like ask for an extension though. You don’t want to do all the time, uh, ask for extra help. Letting people know that you’re stressed out or that you’re taking on a lot, um, leaving things.
If you [00:51:00] feel like it’s taken up too much of your time, it’s very common. It’s really about, um, having those few things that you really feel happy about, um, that really do help with your application and your growth. Um, not just having everything on there for the sake of the application or the sake of seeming like the perfect student or applicant.
Um, really, um, cause yeah, and then, um, Yeah. And if you are planning on leaving a club or leaving a leadership position in a club, really just make sure to like tell others, like inform them and maybe even help train up some other people or lead them with something to keep continuing their work. Um, that leaving gracefully, I guess, in a club can really help with your application.
Uh, too, even though you are leaving, um, you can say that, Hey, I train this person. I caught them up to speed. I gained, I trained them to be in this position, um, to take over a club. That’s a really good skill. And it’s really important when you get to college or in the workforce later. So always remember that those are [00:52:00] options.
And then real quick, um, for those in the room who are already working with us, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike. Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising center.
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Okay. So going on to the next question, uh, another student is, um, where did it go? Uh, they were, oh, okay. Uh, there was a few students asking about, um, being in junior and senior year and feeling like they haven’t done enough [00:53:00] throughout high school. And they were asking if it’s too late, if there’s anything else that they can do, um, to really help their application in that.
Yeah, definitely. I think that, um, I started a couple of clubs, like later on in my junior year. Um, I don’t think I necessarily started anything my senior year. Like, uh, there’s things like awards or like scholarships that you could be applying to, for example, like, um, there’s things like, uh, essay, contests, or like tournaments, things like that that are like one time events that you could be doing your senior year.
Like, um, I’m just mentioning, those are a couple of things that like, come to mind that I did my senior year. I think you can start new things. Oh, I think I joined a music ensemble my senior year, like literally my fall semester, so that Birdly showed up on my application, but it was something that I included as like to showcase that I was somebody who was like curious and like really enjoy trying new things.
So actually wrote about it partly in my, in my essay. And so I think if you’re trying new things, you could [00:54:00] always spin it as like, you know, Some people might think it’s too late, but like, I really wanted to try X, Y, or Z. And that opportunity came in the form of like senior year doing X. And so I think that you can definitely join something and like actually use that to support or provide evidence for your curiosity, whether that’s academic or sports or music or anything else.
Um, I would say if you’re just trying to like join us, like, uh, like a club for the sake of like having an extra thing, I would say that’s not worth your time. I would say if you haven’t had an opportunity to actually like invest deeply in a club, just having it on your application, like it’s not going to do that much.
Um, I think admissions officers are looking at what activities do students like feel really passionate about and like are committed to you and like are making a difference in, and if you’re just saying, like I joined, like, you know, this club. And there isn’t much that you can write about lithium activities that you do or the impact.
And it’s not convincing anybody that like, [00:55:00] you generally wanted to join that club, then it’s actually going to be more of a detriment to your application because it’s going to take away some of that, like, like be for like quality in the meatiness of your application. Um, and so I would advise against that, but if it’s truly, because you’re genuinely interested in the topic that will genuinely come out, when you write about it potentially in an essay when you use it to support some reason or some argument about your intellectual curiosity.
Um, yeah. Yes. And we will be having another webinar. I believe it’s coming up in may. I’m on what can juniors do? It’s not too late. Um, juniors and seniors. What can you do, um, before the admissions process, if you don’t have much on your application also, um, I applied to Cornell early decision, which was in October on Halloween the year I applied and then, um, I started a college readiness club at my high school in August.
So I had worked on it for [00:56:00] about two months and then started writing my applications, um, about it in like September. So I had about a month to talk about it though. It was a short period of time and it was something I did my senior year. It was really impactful on my overall application. Cause I did a lot of work.
I started the club, it was on a topic that was really important to me. Um, and it was, it showed a lot of initiative and a lot of other characteristics. Um, it is better to start projects, um, earlier, like maybe during the summer, um, definitely or earlier in your high school career. Um, just because applying and trying to do stuff is kind of difficult and you don’t want to leave it all to the last minute.
And also keep in mind that I did have other extracurriculars throughout high school. So this wasn’t like my only activity that I had. Um, but again, we will have another webinar on like those more last minute. Um, The things that you can do. And there are other webinars on doing a passion project or starting some sort of club or other extracurricular activities you can [00:57:00] do in high school, if you want more information on that, but it isn’t impossible.
It’s really just how you talk about it, what you do with your time, even though it’s limited and how you’re able to present yourself in the application process. And then there are also other aspects of the, um, application, like letters of recommendation, um, other, um, your courses, uh, and anything else, a part of the application that can really help, um, what showing that you’re passionate and that you have, um, that you are like a student that’s going to be active.
And then also there is the, um, additional information section in case that, um, um, and there are, um, much of my colleagues. Um, there are, uh, There is the additional information section where you can, um, uh, explain if you weren’t able to do extracurriculars because something came up. Uh, okay. Um, yes. And then, so, yeah, so there are other webinars on that again.
Okay. So, um, [00:58:00] students are really asking about this passion. Um, passion keeps coming up, um, throughout the questions. So like what are some things you can do to stand out in the application process? They’re asking about like classes you can take, how many should you take? And then also what are some things you should do, um, to really stand out and show that you’re passionate.
And then one student had a really good question saying like they have an activity that doesn’t really make them stand out, but they’re passionate about it. Is that going to be beneficial to them or should they change it for something else? Okay. So those are a lot of really great questions to answer in just two minutes here.
Um, so I think we’ll just break it down into. What does it look like to have like a passion project? Like you mentioned, like how do you kind of like, get started? Like, um, and when, what does it look like for what was the last question you said there? Uh, like they have a, a project or a club that they’re really passionate about, but they don’t feel it will help them stand out.
Should they like drop in and do something else? That’ll make them stand out or keep it. [00:59:00] And then also just AP course stuff in general. Okay. Got it. So, okay. So I think first of all, when you’re starting a passion project, I think that it’s really helpful to know, uh, how much time you have to develop this.
So you don’t want to like, you know, start like a whole huge like program necessarily if you’re in your senior year and you might know have like this poor, I knew that Mackenzie had like an example of like, you know, something, she started senior year, but also thinking about like, You know, there’s different maybe circumstances in which he had a lot of other things going on, but maybe he had some support.
She like obviously carved out the time that she needed to do that. Um, so be really realistic about how much time you have left in your application process, how much time you have left in school, what classes you’re taking in general, how much time do you have to devote and invest into this club? Uh, or this passion project to try to get a team?
Um, sometimes it’s, you know, everybody kind of wants to be the leader or the hero of their team because they [01:00:00] want to show that off in an application, but it’s really hard to do it without a group of people to provide. Some of that hands-on support. And so try to see, you know, maybe you will be that hands-on support for somebody else’s passion project, then there’ll be for yours.
And like, they can, you can find ways to support one another as you’re developing them two or three. Think about, um, what the purpose of this club is, or this passion project is. And as your default developing the strategy for how to put that in place, also think about how could I make the sustainable, because I think a lot of admissions officers see passion projects or see new things that people are starting, but it’s actually very rare to see an example of a club of a program of some passion project that gets started, that’s actually sustainable and that could continue to provide impact, um, in the community even after the student is gone.
So I think that the key element that a lot of students forget about, because they’re just really focused on like, how can I shine and be like the MVP during the time that I’m in high [01:01:00] school, but forget about that long-term perspective. And then lastly, um, I think that another thing to keep in mind is sometimes, uh, we just have the wrong perspective about like, what’s the, what’s the priority.
Right? You might think that like, your honor society is like the most important thing and like it’s Mo more recognized or like what people see as the most important, and maybe your passion project about like, you know, playing music at a nursing home, or like a mentorship or like something like that is just kind of what you do on the side.
But again, filter for what are you genuinely passionate about and what is impacting other people? Because those are the things that if you’re passionate about it, it will come out so much better in your essay. And it’s going to stand out a lot more, even if you feel like it’s not very significant. Now you’ll be able to write with it with a lot more heart, passion and creativity.
And that could be something that tips your application into the acceptance of.[01:02:00]
Okay. So, um, that is the end of the webinar. We hope you found this information helpful. Uh, thank you to our panelists and thank you for everyone to coming out tonight. Um, So, sorry. Uh, we really had a great time telling you about, um, man time management and here’s the rest of our April series, where we’ll be talking about other topics on how to increase your admissions odds.
And we will have more webinars coming up in the future, um, targeted at different grade levels and what you can do now, um, to really get ahead or to, um, really start preparing for the admissions process. Uh, there were some questions asking about timelines or how to do passion projects or courses you can take.
So I listed a few webinars that you can go to and you can also find [email protected]/webinars. Um, and you can just type in whatever topic or question that you’re looking for and be able to find it there. So again, thank you everyone for coming out [01:03:00] tonight and thank you to our panelists and goodnight.