It’s the season. Flowers are blooming. Trees are budding. Tests are popping up all over the place. Teens and parents are stressing. Ahh, yes, it is Springtime in DC!
This time of year, I am never quite sure whether the coughs and sneezes I hear are a reaction to allergens or to tests. Which are more annoying is a pretty open question in my mind.
Spring is a BUSY time if you are a high school junior. You are entering the gauntlet of what seems like six straight weeks of tests. And, to add insult to injury, your senior friends are exulting in their college admissions, senior skip days and planned-for graduation parties. It’s enough to overwhelm anyone, if not make one downright depressed!
Here’s the deal: you can only do your best. And, if you treat everything as crucial, you risk diluting your efforts (not to mention your sanity) and underperforming on the things that matter most. But, let’s be sure we keep in mind what REALLY matters.
What really matters: Grades. You have worked ALL year to do well in your classes. When you’re pressed to do too many things, keep telling yourself that "grades come first. Grades come first." Your grades matter most for college admissions. As Aristotle observed "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Your grades reflect what you have repeatedly done throughout junior year. Finish strong!
If you’ve got that down, what matters next? Well, for college admissions at most of the highly selective colleges, test scores. "All of them?!?" Well, let’s make this simple. The scores that are required matter. The ones that are not required matter less, if at all.
Yes, it's great to show strength whoever you can. But, your grades and SAT or ACT matter (if required) while your AP score (rarely, if ever, required) plays second fiddle. There is rarely, if ever, enough time to do everything. Use your time, energy and resources well and put first things first.