The future is a scary thing, but one thing that could make it a little less scary is being prepared. Here's a helpful timeline of what you should be doing to be prepared for your future and when you should be doing them.
Middle School: Middle school is a good time to set yourself up for good study and time management habits. Fill up your schedule with activities that interest you to help you practice your time management skills and narrow down your interests. If you haven't already, this would be a good time to start a portfolio to keep track of your experiences.
Summer before High School: There are many ways to spend your summer! Like attending a camp or studying abroad. However, some may choose to take a high school class during this time to get a feel of what it's like to be a highschool student.
Freshman Year: The transition from middle to high school can sometimes be a daunting one, so the most important thing during this year is adjusting to a more difficult class load. Focus on acclimating to your new environment and learning how to use school resources to better your education experience. This is also a time to get involved with clubs and teams that will make your next few years fulfilling. In addition, it is important to set yourself a goal for the future. For example, decide what college you have your eye set on or what career you can see yourself in. While this may change over the years, setting a goal will give you an idea of what you are working towards and offer you a better perspective on what you should be doing to achieve your goal.
Summer before Sophomore Year: This would be a good time to apply to a summer program or get ahead with a summer class. Perhaps you'd prefer to get a job or internship (if your age allows). Do something you enjoy, but don't lose this precious chance to gain new experiences!
Sophomore Year: Hopefully by now you are adjusted to your new high school environment. Sophomore year is a good time to make sure that you are doing all that you can to set yourself up for a successful future. Are you making an impression on your teachers, giving yourself chances for letters of recommendation? Are you participating in extracurricular activities? This is also a good year to build your resume. Participate in a job, internship, or other experience that will give you a better understanding of your potential career or add a skill to your resume. As your schedule is getting busier, sophomore year is also a good time to possibly cut down the amount of activities you are involved in and think about clubs or teams you would want a leadership opportunity in. Furthermore, sophomore year is a time to reevaluate the goal you set regarding your dream college or career as a freshman.
Summer before Junior Year: The aforementioned statement about using your summer to gain new experiences still applies, but this summer is also a good time to get an idea of scholarships you may want to apply too. While it may seem too early, some scholarships have unexpected deadlines that should be kept in mind.
Junior Year: Junior year can be a stressful one, with college applications just looming around the corner and the inevitable standardized tests. This is a good year to focus on classes and key extracurriculars. If you don't already have one, be thinking of leadership positions you would want in the next year. Make sure that you are building good relationships with teachers and mentors who can be a connection to a future job opportunity or offer you a letter of recommendation. Additionally, this is a time to have a more solid idea of your future goals and next step after graduation.
Summer before Senior Year: Of course this is a good year for experiences, clubs, camps, whatever you'd like! But this is also a good year for college visits, internships in areas that interest you, and lots of research regarding colleges and scholarships.
Senior Year: It's finally here! Your last year of high school. Make sure you are paying attention to application deadlines, whether they be for scholarships or colleges. Don't forget to ask for letters of recommendation well ahead of time and feel free to ask your school advisors for help. When applying don't forget to turn to your portfolio to ensure you don't leave out any of your experiences or accomplishments.
Even though it wasn't explicitly said, we hope you know that more than anything KudosWall wishes you to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled so make sure to have fun along the way as well. Keep track of all the experiences, accomplishments, and lessons learned along the way by making a portfolio with us today!