Starting your 2nd Semester Strong: The Guide to Staying Resilient and Prepared This Semester

Ellie Zamir, Photo Editor

Ultimately, the second semester of any grade is the final push towards a successful school year. There is a lot going on with the start of a new semester, and much more to come. I talked to Venice High’s two college counselors, Ms. Heather Brown and Dr. Reynesha Scott, for advice for all four years of high school. 

Freshmen and Sophomores: The Transition to Pre-Adulthood

In your first two years of high school, it’s important to put yourself out there. Starting strong is crucial, and creating good habits will help you throughout four years of high school and your future.  Here is some advice from Venice High’s very own college counselors. Dr.Scott: “Start that process and do the research. Get involved.”

Ms. Brown; “So seniors are what we call cakes that are baked, right? If you’re a ninth grader, tenth grader, or eleventh grader this semester, this is a great opportunity for you to enhance your academic profile, your GPA, and your extracurriculars.

“The biggest thing to focus on is finishing strong, taking advantage of your academic opportunities, and take it to the next level. So if you’re a ninth-grader, is there an AP class or an honors class you could take next year? 

“Everybody has their strengths. Find ways to take what you’re already doing and take it to another level. Take advantage of your academic opportunities, explore AP and honors or specialized classes that connect to your interests and possible major and career. 

“You want to make sure that you’re engaging with your counselor, you’re really looking at your options and connecting it to your interests and your talents. Try classes that connect to your interests, it’s really important to have some kind of sense of your major.” 

Juniors: The Backbone Year 

Junior year is the last year of grades that colleges will look at—your last year to improve your grades and to prove yourself. Juniors often find themselves curious and eager to know more about college and what’s next when high school is over. Junior year also is known to be a particularly stressful time. 

Scott: “Junior year is very important, this is the last semester to really make it work. You know, it really it is your last opportunity to prove yourself.”  

Brown: “This is the last opportunity that you have to add to your GPA from now until the summertime (for possible summer classes) because when you come to talk to your counselors in this in your senior year, you are going to apply to colleges using your ninth, 10th, 11th grade and the summer after 11th-grade grades

“Think about a list of colleges you might be interested in and what you potentially want to study.”

Seniors: The Final Push 

For seniors, it’s their last year of high school. It’s important to think about finishing your high school years strong. It’s the final push! It can be really difficult to manage all the stress that comes with being a senior. Often, seniors get senioritis. Seniors just have to keep an eye on the ball rolling. 

Scott: “Somewhere around mid-semester, seniors are like mentally checked out.” 

I call these the next few months the money months. The scholarships are pouring in. They’re so done with applications, so they’re already at a point where they’re like, ‘Whatever, I already got in. I can slack off.’  These next few months are the time that students start “making a salary.”

“What that usually, unfortunately, results in a lot of cleanup that they have to do later. One of the things that we always have a problem with is students aren’t checking their college portals and emails. 

Think of it as a race. You are doing so well but towards the end, you become more tired. I think that is often the mentality of senior year.

Brown: “Right now, seniors are stably waiting and from now until about the end of March, they’ll be getting accepted to colleges and programs they applied to. 

“So for seniors, just keep your eye on the ball rolling. There’s a big difference between getting admitted to a school and actually enrolling, so it’s really important to fill out the forms that are needed on time. They need to be on top of their portals. They really need to be reading their emails and checking their spam mail.”

High school is all about being consistent, just because you grow and get closer to personal freedom doesn’t mean your best foot shouldn’t still be put forward. You can only go up from here, so wherever you are, finish strong!