6 Common High School Mistakes
Although everyone’s high school experience is unique, many of the problems students experience are not. There are common threads that tend to weave through the tapestry of life for 14- to 18-year-old, and we thought sharing some of the more common mistakes might be helpful.
You’re still not going to be perfect—no one is—but at least you may be able to recognize some of these and nip them in the bud before they get out of control.
1. Sacrificing Your Grades For Sports, Clubs, or Your Social Life
No one makes a conscious decision to let their grades slip in order to play more football, dedicate more time to student council or spend more time with friends. Typically, sacrificing your grades to pursue other interests is a gradual process:You stay late at field hockey practice a few times and don’t turn in that homework, or you take your girlfriend to the Justin Timberlake concert in lieu of writing that paper.The important thing is that you recognize it immediately and get back on track. Re-prioritize, manage your time better and get an accountability buddy.The decreased stress will let you enjoy your free time more in the long run.
2. Focusing Only On Academics
The flip side of too much fun is not enough of it.“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” might be an old-fashioned proverb, but it still applies today.You’re only a sophomore, and spending your entire high school career in the library with your nose in a textbook isn’t going to prepare you much for the nonacademic side of college. Find some balance. Besides, colleges look for well-rounded applicants, not just those with great grades.
3. Not Asking For Help
If you’re stressed out, depressed or confused, tell someone. It could be your parents, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a coach, a friend or even a therapist. It’s common for the kids who look the most put together to be the most overwhelmed. Don’t worry that asking for help will make you look weak. In fact, just the opposite is true.
4. Taking Easy Classes
Taking classes that you know you’ll ace can actually backfire. Colleges like to see a progression of academic challenges, and most say they’d prefer to see a student get a B in AP or honors classes than an A in basic courses.
5. Ignoring Scholarship Opportunities
Did you know there are scholarship opportunities available to high school sophomores? Don’t wait until your senior year to start seeking and applying for college money. Check out our financial aid article on page 36 for more information on where to start your scholarship search.
6. Believing That Certain Years Don’t Count
Some freshmen make the mistake of slacking off their first year of high school, not realizing that every year’s grades count toward their overall high school GPA. The same is true for seniors who think that once they’ve been accepted to a school they can breeze through the rest of the year.The truth is that colleges can actually rescind their offer of admissions if your grades go south after you’ve been accepted.Assume that all four years of high school are equally important.
Remember, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them and don’t make them again.Although college is important, so is high school.Try to enjoy it and learn from it because (hopefully) you only experience it once!