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Advice for Underclassmen


It is a common tradition at Eastern High School to have upperclassmen share their wisdom and advice with the underclassmen. Seeing as we are already past halfway through the first semester, it seemed about time to ask the seniors to share what they have learned. Without further adieu, here are five tips the seniors have for the underclassmen, ranging from advice on extracurricular participation to college applications.

1. Put in the effort early

According to senior Julian Zolenski, “The harder you work now, the less you have to worry about later.” Start high school off with the grades you wish to maintain for the rest of high school. You do not want to look back on the grades you got in your first years of high school and regret the lack of effort you put in. The majority of classes will get harder the older you get, so start high school off strong with the best grades you can get by putting in the effort. Julian also stated to “use all of your resources.” There are many sources available to help you get better grades ranging from tutors to Google. There is always something or someone there to help you if you are struggling and want to improve. 

2. Get involved in extracurriculars

Not only do extracurricular activities look good on college applications, but they also help students discover what they are interested in. A common misconception is that students should get involved in as many extracurriculars as they can, especially the ones that will look good on college applications. Unfortunately, this tends to lead to students getting involved in activities that they have no interest in and becoming overwhelmed by the number of commitments they have made. Although colleges do like to see you participating in clubs and other activities outside of school, they also want to see that the clubs you are in align with what you are passionate about. So yes, make sure to get involved in a variety of extracurriculars, but it is best if those extracurriculars pertain to what you are truly interested in. Colleges want to see that students have participated in their activities throughout all four years of high school, so get involved in extracurriculars early on that align with your interests. If you are unsure of what you are interested in, joining multiple clubs is good to help narrow down what you enjoy. 

3. Visit colleges early

The earlier you begin visiting colleges, the sooner you can start deciding which ones to apply to. Although college may seem far off, it would be wise to start researching colleges and touring campuses the summer between students’ sophomore and junior years. Visiting colleges is the best way to see if you are interested in what they have to offer and whether or not the college would be a good fit for you.

4. Start college applications early

You do NOT want to leave your college applications to the last minute. Whether you are applying through CommonApp or the college’s website, there will be many questions you must answer. Many colleges also require additional essays (supplementals) from applicants. Most colleges post the essay prompts over the summer, so it is wise to complete them then to ensure you will not have to stress about completing them on top of school work during the school year. If you are applying to colleges’ Early Action, all of your materials must have arrived at the college by the deadline, typically November 1. Transcripts take time to send and are not sent until the college application is fully completed, so it is suggested to turn in applications a week before the early action deadline. This means students should not complete applications last minute because it could result in the college not receiving the necessary materials on time.

5. Communicate with your teachers 

According to senior Ruth Gleason, “If you are ever falling behind or struggling, communicate with your teachers. Most of the time they will be very helpful and understanding.” The best way to get the extra help you need is by communicating with your teachers and asking for help. As a high school student, communication is now your responsibility and if you use it wisely, it can help in a multitude of ways. Most of the time, teachers listen to your concerns and are often accommodating to your individual needs. A little communication goes a long way.

Whether you’re focusing on extracurriculars, college applications, or grades, high school is a stressful time. Make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health and enjoy the time that you have. On behalf of the upperclassmen, the Hawk Herald staff wishes the underclassmen a successful and enjoyable year!

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About the Contributor
Reagan Carpenter
Reagan Carpenter, Staff Writer
Reagan Carpenter is a first-year writer for the Hawk Herald and a senior at Forest Hills Eastern High School. She participates in the National Honor Society, Kids Food Basket, Volunteer Club, FHPS Shared Voices Committee, and is a leader for Project ChARLIE. She has also played on the Varsity soccer team since her freshman year and has loved every moment of that experience. Outside of school she enjoys spending time with her friends and family; you can often find her  watching a good movie or tv show in her free time.
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