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Advice for College-Bound Seniors

Let's face it. There's no substitute for talking to someone who's been there, done that. Especially when you're a high school senior wondering (and dreaming) about life in college.

College-Bound Seniors at SJPThat's why the School Counseling Department at St. John's invites recent grads to return to campus and talk with seniors about their experiences in college. When a group from the Class of 2016 shared time with the Class of 2018 recently, we asked them for their best advice for college-bound seniors.

Gathered around a table in Memorial Dining Hall on a frosty day in January, the collegians represented a range of schools—Boston College, Brown University, Northeastern University, St. Louis University, and Villanova. At the midway point in their sophomore year, they've all settled on majors that include accounting; business/finance; chemical and biochemical engineering with minor in religious studies; economics with a minor in history; and international relations with focus on international development. They're striking out on different paths, but they all agree on the best principles for success in college!

Be True to Yourself

Heading to college gives you a clean slate, but that doesn't mean starting over as a different person. Stay true to yourself when you leave the familiar environs of home and high school. Use the values and lessons you've learned at home and at St. John's to inform the decisions you make. Make sure that what you do aligns with who you are—and who you want to be.

Keep Your Door Open

Everyone is in the same boat at the beginning of freshman year. Take advantage of meeting new people and exploring new opportunities. Consider Ben Fisher '16. He says he found an instant group of friends when he joined the powerlifting team at Northeastern. "It quickly became a group of people I could study with. Plus, the captains understood what it was like to be new in college. They'd taken the courses we were taking. They become mentors."

Manage Your Time Wisely

College life is less structured than high school, which means it's essential to stay on top of your work. As Jay Carnevale put it, "No one else will walk you through it." Finding a good organizational tool is the key. Whether it’s a journal, Google calendar, a simple notebook, or a big whiteboard on your dorm room wall, pick a system and stay with it. It’s also important to strike the right balance between academic and social life. Opportunities abound in both realms. It’s up to you to figure out how to get the best out all that college has to offer.

Take a Risk

Grab the opportunity to challenge yourself academically. Heads nodded in agreement when one member of the group recalled Dr. Matt Ford from the Prep Science Department telling them, "If you’re not taking a course that makes you struggle, you’re not doing it right." Remember about keeping your door open? Well, keep an open mind when thinking about courses to take and opportunities to explore.

Posted by Mr. Chad Konecky in Inspired Academics on Thursday January, 11, 2018

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