Dear KEY Students and Parents,

Time is flying and we’re entering the new school year. It’s important that you start out your year well-organized with a plan and the right goals in mind. To help guide you, we’ve prepared a Top 10 list of tips to make sure you have a strong start. Regardless of your grade, these tips will help you quickly get into gear for the fall semester in terms of your classes, extracurricular activities, study habits, and university applications.

1. Check in with your guidance counselor

Your school’s guidance counselor can help keep you on track with your university admissions process and ensure you’re on track to graduate with the right courses to meet both the graduation requirements of your high school and your university admission requirements. 

You should make sure to meet your guidance counselor each semester to make sure you’re on the right path to achieving your goals. Getting to know your guidance counselor and letting them know you closely, will also help them to write a strong recommendation letter for you when you apply to universities. 

2. Set semester goals

Your semester will start strong if you have a clear set of goals in mind. Create concrete goals for this (and each) semester to work towards achieving. You should include your academic performance, extracurricular activities, standardized test prep, and university application within your goals. 

3. Befriend your teachers

A new semester is a good start to build a good connection with your teachers. Make sure you talk to your teachers before, during (through class participation) and after classes.

Teachers’ recommendation letters play an important role in your university applications so building a strong connection with your teachers and getting to know each of your teachers on a personal level are critical. 

Map out deadlines

4. Map out deadlines, due dates and other important reminders in your schedule

A planner can keep you on track with important dates and deadlines from syllabus you receive in class, standardized testing dates, important admissions deadlines and any other important dates. 

If you take the time to set it all up once and get into the habit of continually updating it as necessary, it will become much easier to keep track of everything you need to remember. 

5. Be involved with your school community

Extracurricular activities are as equally important as your academic performance when applying to universities. So other than keeping or achieving outstanding grades, you should capture every single opportunity you could to be an active member on campus and strengthen your personal profiles by engaging in extracurricular activities according to your theme(s).

6. Set up a study routine

As you prepare to head to universities, creating a study routine becomes increasingly important to your university preparations. 

Try to set aside a certain amount of time each evening to focus on your classes and homework, and on certain nights study for your standardized test and research for your preferred universities and programs. If you continue this practice, it will become a natural habit and benefit you in university life. 

7. Challenge yourself

It’s important to show university admission officers that you continuously challenge yourself throughout your junior or senior years of high school. Make sure you achieve outstanding academic results while enrolled in challenging courses. And make sure to enrich your personal profile through leading/participating in extracurricular activities, high school clubs, part-time jobs and volunteer work. 

8. Work on your university application essays and get your standardized tests done

If you are in Grade 11, you should plan ahead to get your standardized tests done and focus on the other parts of your university planning such as a plan for extracurricular activities and personal profile.

If you are in Grade 10, you can begin your standardized test preparation in January 2019. If you get your standardized testing out of the way before Grade 11, you will be in really good shape.

Connect with friends

9. Connect with friends

Friends can help with your overall experience because they are going through the same stress as you are. They will keep you good company when facing the back-to-school chaos and make going back to school much less painful.

10. Search for your preferred universities/Complete your university applications

If you are in Grade 11, you should start researching for your preferred universities and programs, get familiar with the admission requirements and get to know the school environment, culture, and resources. 

If you are in Grade 12, your university list should already be finalized or very near completion.

We hope that these tips will give you a good guidance on starting this new semester. We wish all of you a strong and exciting year ahead of you. Please remember, we are here to support you.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.