Student Tips

A Junior's Guide to The College Application Process

Added on October 30, 2018 by Jenna.B

A Junior's Guide to The College Application Process

If you're a junior, you know that practically everyone has begun breathing down your neck about college. 11th grade is the year where you research, visit and begin to decide upon which colleges you want to apply to. The college search process can be daunting, especially when you don't know where to start. Here are some tips from a senior who just applied to three schools today!

What Should Matter in The Search Process?

The school you attend will be your home for the next four (possibly more) years. You'll want to consider whether you'll be happy there. One factor you should consider is the location and atmosphere of the school. How far away do you want to be from home? You have the opportunity to move somewhere completely new. Do you prefer living in the city or in a more traditional style campus? You'll also want to consider the people that attend that college and the professors. Could you see yourself making friends and lasting connections there? Also, consider the dorms that the school offers. Would you feel comfortable there? Another factor you'll want to consider is majors and academic programs. You are going to college to learn, after all. You'll want to look for a school that offers the program or major you're interested in and research exactly what that program entails. Even if you are undecided, are there a number of majors or programs you could potentially choose later on? In addition, you'll want to consider if the school has any athletic programs or extracurricular activities that you are interested in. Even though you are there to learn, you won't spend all of your time on academics so you'll want to look for somewhere where you can also enjoy yourself. Some additional factors that might come into play in your search might be internships in the area, study abroad programs, leadership programs, etc).

What Shouldn't Matter in The Search Process?

There are many misconceptions about what to look for in a college. Just because a college is popular or has a good reputation, doesn't mean that you should apply there. I'm not discouraging you from applying to those schools, just be sure you are applying there because you could really see yourself there and not because the college is a household name. Also, just because a college has a lower acceptance rate, that doesn't mean it is any better than a school with a higher acceptance rate. Don't apply to a school simply because their acceptance rate is 10%. Apply to that school if you feel that it is a good fit. An acceptance rate should not be a deciding factor, it is only important in showing you your chances of getting into that school. You don't want to apply to a college based on a reputation, so make sure you like the school enough to consider going there if you are admitted.

What Should You Consider?

There are many factors you should consider in the process. One of these factors, as mentioned before, is location. Do you want to stay instate or do you want to move out-of-state? My advice is that you should apply to a mix of both, if you are unsure. Another factor you should consider is the size of the school. Size of schools can range anywhere between 2,000 students to 50,000 students. The social dynamic is going to vary depending on the size of the school, so you should consider whether you want to be a part of a smaller, closer-knit community, or a larger, more diverse community? As mentioned above, you should also consider majors and programs. Some majors may be more rare, and not all colleges may offer that major. On the other end of the spectrum, some majors are offered at almost every school, so you should search for a program that stands out to you (in a good way). Lastly, you should consider the cost of the school. This is something you'll want to discuss with your parents later on, but you should be aware that depending on whether the college is private or public and whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, cost is going to vary greatly.

Where to Start Looking?

Now that you are aware of what to keep in mind during the search process, you are probably wondering where to start. I recommend starting with one factor on the list above and using Naviance or Google to find colleges that potentially fit one of those factors. If you know of a college that you're already interested in, research that college and see if you like what they offer. Later on, you should start to look into the requirements for the application process and plan to visit the campus if you can. Visiting the campus will give you a better feel for the atmosphere and the people that attend the school.

Even though you don't need to start looking for colleges until second semester (summer, at the latest), it isn't a bad idea to get a jump-start during the first semester. Don't stress out about finding the perfect college, you only need to find a list of schools that you are interested in. Most students apply to somewhere between four to eight schools, but your interest list can be much longer than that. You'll be able to narrow down that list later on when you start to apply.

Good luck with your college search process!

 

How To Stay On Top of Your Work + Study Tips!

Added on July 2, 2018 by Marya.T

How To Stay On Top of Your Work + Study Tips!

If you've ever found yourself floundering to maintain your grades, barely getting by the first week of school, follow these tips and strategies I have cultivated over my past two years as a high school student at Windermere Prep. 

Time management and Organization

When school, sports, and other extracurriculars get crazy, time management is key to maintain a good learning experience. As a high school student, or a student of any grade, you need to recognize what needs to be done urgently and what can wait. The best way to do this is by finding a system of organization. Whether it be a planner, Google doc, or a notebook, find a place where you can organize everything that needs to be done into categories: mandatory work, extra work, questions you might have, due dates, reminders, notes, etc…This will let you know exactly what you have to do, when, and what's coming up. 

Talk to your Teachers

As much as you don't want to believe it, your teachers are here to help you! Don't hesitate to ask them for help after school or during SRT. A key piece of information worth remembering is that when you actively invest in your education, your teachers will notice this and think of you more often, finding ways to help you and always keeping in mind what you might need. They will come to you with more detailed suggestions and resources. 

Review, Review, Review!

The best way to lighten up on studying for a final, midterm, or even a test or quiz, is to constantly review. Create a system where you review your classes, whether it be 15 minutes daily for each class, or a couple hours on the weekend. Doing this keeps the knowledge fresh, which will ultimately help you study effectively for big cumulative tests or exams. This will also keep you from cramming, giving more time to process the information. When you do this, studying is truly just review, not relearning!

Prepare for Classes

Another great way to stay on top of classes, especially challenging ones, is to introduce the next topic to yourself with some light textbook (or whatever resource is best for the class) pre-reading. This sets up the unit for you and puts you at an advantage. Don't worry if you don't understand at first, when you begin learning with your teacher and other students, your questions will be gone! This gives you more time to understand and process the concept. 

Make use of your Resources

This might be obvious, but don't overlook any resources your teachers give you! These resources are an opportunity, use them wisely! The most accessible and best ones are those added by your teacher on Canvas. One of the best and most useful resources I have found is the canvas calendar. With all your future assignments and tests listed, you can see the exact workload for the upcoming weeks and plan accordingly. If you still find yourself struggling with the class, ask your teacher for more practice or good websites. You can also do your own research and find websites and books to help.

Take Good Notes and be an Active Student

Arguably the most important of these tips is to be an active member of your class. If you have questions, ask them! They are most likely legitimate questions that everyone else also has. They also might bring up a good argument or sub topic that needs to be addressed to avoid confusion later. You might just be doing everyone a favor when you ask questions. You should also try to make connections and share ideas to the class, as this could facilitate a well-rounded discussion with your peers. Lastly, take. good. notes. Find what works best for you and stick with it. This could be hand written notes, flashcards, typed notes…anything! Good notes does not necessarily mean copy every word down. Good notes are ones that summarize main ideas and include key details. You might also want to analyze the information you have and apply it in different ways to test your understanding. 

Learn, do not Just Study

Make sure your priorities and reasons for studying are well-intentioned. Do not just study to attain the "perfect grade". Understand the information given to you, and be able to apply it. This is how you truly make use of what you learn in school.

Recognize the Importance of your Education

As much as we think the things we learn in school are useless, and while we might not remember them or use them later, that doesn't mean we shouldn't learn them! The benefit of learning something "useless" is not in its content, but in the skills developed and used. These classes teach us to think critically, analyze the information, and apply it. Attaining knowledge at our level is an opportunity, so seize every minute of it, whether you think it minuscule or not. And perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you, do it for yourself. Do it for your self-improvement, for your enrichment, and for your enjoyment. Find what makes you love learning and pursue it, no matter if it isn't the safest bet. Be a reasonable risk-taker. No matter what you pursue, if you do it whole-heartedly, you will find your way to success. Enjoy what you learn and do it to become the best version of you, to become a well-rounded and worldly citizen. And remember, grades are not the final and only measurement of intelligence. As long as you are trying, improving, and working hard, your grades will reflect that. If they don't, there might other aspects of an education that you are stronger in, and those are just as important!

 

Learning A New Language

Added on June 12, 2018 by Kim.N

Learning A New Language

Learning a new language is not all about memorization, but it is more about being passionate and creative. 

Why be passionate? People cannot memorize things that they do not like because those things will not be impressive enough to them in order to be taken into their memory. Before learning a new language, you should have positive feeling towards that language and ask yourself why you want to study it. Your reason for learning a new language can be simple. For example, you may want to learn Korean just because Korean dramas attract you. When you know your purpose, you will be able to better identify your passion. The ability to like a language so much will make the difference in the process of learning. Also, if you are passionate about something, you will spend your time on doing it frequently, thus you will improve more quickly than those who are impassionate.

After you know your passion towards the language, it's time to accomplish your goal- use the language fluently. In order to succeed in this area, you should be an active learner, not the passive one. What does it mean to be active? You should manage your own plan as well as your own method to learn. There are many ways to learn a language, and not everybody will have the same ways, the same plan. You should find the way that is suitable for you so that you can learn comfortably. Here are some tips:

For the beginner, you should know the basic vocabulary first, this can be accomplished by using the website www.quizlet.com, or you can write down words on notecards and stick them where you can see easily and frequently. These places can be on the wall at the desk, on the door, or even neat the toilet- as long as you see it frequently. 

When you know the basics, you should learn how to apply you've learned in daily life. When looking at something, try to reflect on related vocabulary that you have just learned. By doing this, it is hard to forget the vocabulary since it is already a part of your daily life.

Furthermore, you can watch movies in the language that you are learning with subtitles so that you can practice listening skills as well as your vocabulary.  

For writing skills, you can write things that you like in that language and find teachers or tutors who would be able to edit them for you. By having people correct your writing, you will be able to remember your mistake and avoid making it again.

Know -> learn -> apply. These three steps are important and useful to learn a new language. 

These are my tips. I hope that it can help you to accomplish your goal in learning a new language!

 

How To Be Successful At Studying

Added on May 18, 2018 by Megan.H

How To Be Successful At Studying

Having effective study habits can reduce time and stress that comes with schoolwork. Here are some way that can make your life easier:

#1- Learn the Way You Learn

Everyone is individual with the way that they learn. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic are the three different ways of learning. Knowing what type of learner you are lets you study the information in a better way. You will find better results when you personalize the way that you study.

#2- Deadlines and More

After receiving an assignment, creating a schedule including deadlines and extracurriculars will help you prioritize tasks. With less procrastination more sleep and less stress will come. Having everything in the same place, like planner or calendar will make life much easier.

#3- Teachers

Learning how to talk to your teachers can be very beneficial. Most teachers are more than happy to provide extra help. Not only will this help you on your further assignments and tests, it also shows that you care about your academics. Some grades are given though work ethic so talking with your teachers can also a major grade booster.

#4- Studying for the Test

When studying try not to think of everything thing that has ever been said in class, this will add even more stress. When you start to study, focus on the most important topics. Once you have those topics and are confident with them, if there's still time before the test, you can then move on to the smaller details.

#5- Distractions Vs. the Quiet

When studying it is easy to turn on the T.V or your phone and get off topic quickly. Doing this however breaks your concentration and makes it harder to focus. With less distractions, more studying can be done and the amount of time it takes to study is cut down. If there is no place that you can study quietly, consider studying at the library. Distractions also come from getting up and getting things that you need to continue studying. Once you sit down to study, make sure you have everything you need.

#6-Night Before a Test

It is tempting to hold off studying until the night before. You might tell yourself that it is easier to learn more closer to the test in order to remember more. Create a schedule for a couple days before the test. Take some time review your notes and re-read important things in the textbooks. It might seem that that is a lot to do, but that lets the information sink into your brain in a way more natural way. Sleep is also very, very important. If you are tempted to pull an all-nighter you will only be hurting your chances of getting an A. With a proper amount of sleep, your brain will be in good shape on test day.

#7- Stay Positive!

Positive reinforcement is a very important and powerful thing. After finishing something for school, reward yourself. Whether that be taking a break from studying to get some food, or watching some Netflix, rewards are important. Breaks also can help improve studying, your brain can only take so much hard work at a time. It will keep your stress levels down and the information will also have a chance to sink in. With this new mindset implemented, procrastination can be cut down!

 

Time Management

Added on April 30, 2018 by Sabrina.H

Time Management

Many students dedicate a lot of their time to extracurriculars, sports, volunteer work, jobs, etc. I myself have dedicated my entire life to gymnastics, where I spend every afternoon of every week practicing for just a few moments of glory every year. Spending all of this time involved in something like this makes you realize how important time is, especially when you're involved in the IB program. After all of these years, I have picked up a few tips and tricks on time management and how balancing your social life, extracurriculars, and school work can be done effectively. I've finally learned that balancing my time would help me in the long run and would relieve a lot of unnecessary stress as well.

Firstly, realizing where your time is going helps you understand how you could be using your time better and create a more efficient schedule that lets you control where your time is being spent and how it could be spent better. Setting priorities helps you focus on activities that are most important and allows you to categorize the most important to least important things you need to get done. The best way to manage your time is to stay organized. I recommend using a calendar or planner and daily to-do list, to check off items as you complete them. I also recommend doing tough tasks first while you're fresh and alert and breaking large projects down into smaller chunks to complete these projects more efficiently. I know my main drawback when it comes to time management is procrastination. I've learned that the best ways to avoid procrastination is to set daily priorities, try focusing for short amounts of time instead of hours at a time, and attempting difficult tasks at your high-energy time since your concentration will be easier then. Don't allow interruptions, like a loud room to study or your friend's bothering you, get in your way or else juggling your work may seem much more difficult than it actually is and you'll just become more discouraged. These few tips and tricks may just save you from a sleepless night of studying in the future.

 

The Importance of Sleep

Added on March 23, 2018 by Anavi.U

The Importance of Sleep

Lack of sleep always wins. Don't make the mistake of underestimating it.

As you get farther into high school, the amount of homework you have and the number of activities you are involved in will keep increasing, and your time for doing anything else (including eating, sleeping, and breathing) will steadily decrease.

But don't make the mistake that I did.

As a sophomore, I'm currently taking some of the toughest classes offered at WPS, including AP European History and the first year of IB HL Math. I'm also on the swim team (which has practice for two hours every day), I lead the school's Astronomy Club, and I am on my grade's SGA. When I started staying up till 1:00 am almost every day starting from the second week of school, I knew something was wrong. I began to feel nauseous from lack of sleep, and my constant tiredness only caused me to stay up even later some nights.

After an already exhausting week, four tests on one day near the end of the 1st Quarter was my breaking point. By the time I got to my 7th period math test, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. I could tell that the questions on the test weren't that difficult, but I just couldn't remember how to solve them.

That test tanked my math grade to the point where I barely scraped an A for the quarter. That time I didn't have to pay for my lack of sleep with my GPA, but that doesn't mean that it can't happen.

Don't cheat yourself out of a good grade. Make sure that you try your very best to go to sleep by midnight every night. Even if you feel like you'll do better on a test if you just study for just one more hour, that one hour of sleep will cost you much more than you will gain with one hour of extra studying.

And besides a lack of sleep hurting your grades, it also hurts your overall health. A 4.0 GPA isn't going to help you if you ruin your health by not sleeping enough. Sleep is more important than perfecting your English essay or doing every single math problem in the textbook. You can't always be a perfectionist, which is something that I never really understood until this year.

So all you perfectionists and overachievers out there, please get some sleep. You know you need it.

 

How to Procrastinate

Added on March 2, 2018 by Skylar.M

How to Procrastinate

1. Don't write down any reminders or set any alarms about when the assignment is due.

Does a recently received assignment seem too difficult or tedious? Simply don't put any measure in place to remind yourself about it. Out of sight, out of mind! This is an important first step to procrastination, as it allows you to remove the assignment from your present conscious and reduce the current amount of stress in your life.

 

2. Take frequent and lengthy breaks from your work.

Once you've settled in to your desk or other preferred workspace after school, feel free to play a few rounds of 2048, browse the internet, or check social media. After all, if you never took breaks, you would quickly become overworked and your work quality would suffer. Take breaks whenever you don't feel motivated to work: you need them!

 

3. Don't set aside time dedicated solely to working.

It would truly be a shame if your work was regimented in constricting blocks of time. Your workflow is arrhythmic, and trying to 'plan' motivation would make you even less motivated than you already were. Therefore, don't make any schedules or timetables. In this way, you'll never have to work on an assignment until you truly want too. The inspiration will strike you when you're ready!

 

4. Do less challenging assignments (and complete other obligations) first.

If you don't want to start that 4-page essay, you can easily put it out of your mind by doing simpler work first. Complete small assignments and do chores so that you aren't forced to cope with the difficulty of writing the essay, At least you're doing something productive, right? The essay can wait until tomorrow while you do this work.

 

5. Fulfill every requirement for you to work optimally.

If you find that the assignment you're working on is becoming dull and your quality of work is suffering, it's most likely because something is preventing you from working well. Perhaps it's because your room is unclean—the aura simply isn't right. To put yourself back in the right frame of mind, clean your room for now and work on the assignment later. While you're up from your desk, be sure to make your bed, eat a snack, watch some TV, and play a few games of table tennis. Once you've gotten all of that out of your system, you'll certainly be able to work much more efficiently on your assignment.

 

6. The assignment is due 8:00AM tomorrow and it's 10:00PM? Take an all-nighter.

Plenty of people, from mathematicians to musicians, write out their most influential proof or greatest opus in one long, uninterrupted, feverish session. What separates you from them? You need to get this assignment done somehow, even if it costs a few hours of sleep. Why not work through the night and ensure the assignment gets done.


(Bonus!) 7. Turn in the assignment late—or don't turn it in at all!  

If you're truly opposed to doing this assignment, you don't have to finish it before the deadline—or at all! For the former, it's easy to postpone working on an assignment if a teacher only takes off 2% for each day late, or better yet, doesn't deduct points at all if you turn it in shortly after the deadline. For the latter, there's no easier way to procrastinate an assignment than if you never actually do it. So omit summative work that's difficult yet takes up a small percentage of your grade, and omit formative work entirely.


Conclusion:

As you may have guessed while reading through the above list, I don't actually advocate that anyone procrastinate. Procrastinating is an unhealthy and unsatisfactory habit, but it's one that is remarkably easy to slip into. Because of this, everyone procrastinates to some extent. In fact, I procrastinated writing this very blog post. Since many people procrastinate, it's important to note some of the factors and justifications that contribute to procrastination. As such, the "How to Procrastinate" list is an exercise in looking at some negative actions we take so that we may see what not to do. Instead of tackling the difficult assignment, which requires effort and focus, many of us would rather resort to doing something from the list. However, it's critical that you recognize the true stress that procrastinating generates, and avoid the items on this list as you see fit. I find that in general, it's beneficial to take the opposite actions of those on this list, and the quality of your work will increase while the amount of work-related stress will decrease. Take all of this with a grain of salt though, as something that works for me may not work you, and vice versa. But no matter how you conquer procrastination, doing so is certainly advantageous

 

Being An Athlete And Managing Time

Added on December 1, 2017 by Lyndsey.H

Being An Athlete And Managing Time

Time management is a key skill in high school, but also in your life afterwards. Having time management allows for you to be less stressed because you have spaced out your work and also allows for you to revise your work to make it better. Playing a sport forces you to have good time management skills. Being a student athlete takes a lot of prioritizing, responsibility, and motivation to be successful in the classroom. Having good time management skills makes you create a balance of work time and down time. People with these skills know how to organize their lives so they accomplish everything they have planned for that day whether it's in school, in your sport, or with your friends.

 

How To Prepare For The New School Quarter

Added on September 6, 2017 by Alex.S

Already one quarter of the school year has passed, and we are getting ready for the next, with the midterm exams coming up along with Homecoming, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Each new quarter is a fresh new start- a chance to get higher grades, try new activities, and put in as much effort as you can! With this new page, it seems like you do not need to do anything to prepare. However, there are a couple of things you can do to give yourself a leg up to prepare for the exams and the lessons ahead.

1. Evaluate the last quarter.

How much effort did you put into the last quarter? Did you do all formative work, and all of the summative work? Did you study? These are questions that you can be asking yourself. If you find something that you could do better, like trading an hour of video games for studying, or getting to school on time, or even just getting eight hours of sleep, you can create easy ways to achieve this to make this an easier and better term for you.

2. Write down what you have learned.

Although it was just the beginning, there was a lot of subject material that you have learned. It may not seem important, but these topics will be on the midterm exams, though you learn them so long ago. This leaves many people reviewing in the last week and forgetting what to study. A way to resolve this would be writing down key themes from each of your subjects. This would be the most important things to know, and it doesn't have to be very detailed, just a sentence or two to help you remember. For example, in US history I would write "The Colonies" and "The Great Depression", and important figures during that time.

3. Look at the Syllabus!

What better way to prepare for the new quarter by seeing what you are going to learn? If you know the subject material, not only will you not be lost in class, but you will know what is coming up. This means you can also prepare beforehand, by reading or researching the main themes and facts.

4. Talk to your teachers

There may be things you are doing wrong or should be doing that you do not even know about. Ask your teachers on how you did in the quarter and what you can do to improve, from homework standards to classroom etiquette.

5. Make some goals!

Thanks to Skyward and Canvas, our grades are always there to see. You may not have reached a grade level you wanted to, or there may be a grade you want to achieve by the end of the year. A semester grade consists of the two quarters plus the midterm exam, which means if you know what your grade is this quarter, you can find out what grade you have to get the next quarter and in the exam to achieve the grade you want. This end grade will be a goal, and you can have certain goals leading up to it, like studying every night or getting or completing all of the reviews, and getting A's on the formative assignments.

In conclusion, don't waste time before the quarter, or think there is nothing you can do. Make sure you do what you need to do to have the best year ever!


 

Transitioning to High School

Added on March 30, 2017 by Sarina

Transitioning to High School

During my time in middle school, everything seemed easy. Now there were a couple exceptions like TAP, but for the most part it was a breeze. I could go home do my homework in an hour and then watch TV or do something else. I had a lot of free time on my hands. At the beginning of the 9th grade year, I didn't think that 9th grade could be much harder than 8th grade. You would not believe how wrong I was. Now, most of the hard work came from my AP Human Geography class (which required at least 2 hours a night) and I was forced to learn how to manage my time well so I could have time to do some of my extracurricular activities, and other homework. The most efficient way to clear up time is to make use of your weekends. This may seem hard at first because your weekends are your only time off from school, but to manage an AP class with other activities you must utilize it. Utilizing the weekend can reduce the workload. You must stay organized during your 9th grade year or you will fall behind on your assignments. There are a few different apps that I recommend to get organized as they have helped me in the past. Using technology was a big help in knowing what is due and when.

  1. iCalendar
  2. Wunderlist
  3. Todoist
  4. Things
  5. Outlook Calendar
Another big difference between school and high school is that you go from the top of the food chain, to the bottom. In 8th grade you were the "big man on campus", the apex predator, you had gotten pretty used to the campus and the teachers knew you very well. In 9th grade you flip sides, you become the "little man on campus" and are put into a totally different environment. With all the different teachers and classes, high school can look overwhelming. But know that by the end of the first semester, you will be used to it. Another big fear most 9th graders have are the seniors. They are expected to be big and bad, but they are actually friendlier than you think. They will assist you in pretty much anything, whether it is directions or advice for a certain class.

The final difference between 8th and 9th grade is the immense pressure put on by college. When entering high school, you will have a moment of realization that now everything matters. Each test, each project, each choice that you make in high school will affect college. So in May, when you are looking at your course selection actually look at what classes you choose because those decisions can come back and haunt you. Make sure to pick classes right for you, not too hard or too easy but just right. You must put all your effort into each an every assignment because every grade matters and one grade can affect your quarterly grade in a positive way or negative way.

 

Volunteer!

Added on March 23, 2017 by Alfred.Y

Volunteer!

Whenever you are lonely, whenever you are bored, and whenever you are nervous, one of the best activities to do is volunteering. The fact that you are helping someone out for his or her benefit, not yours, gives you a thrill and happiness. When you are volunteering, you are also giving something back to the community, the community that gave you the environment to grow to what you are now.

Volunteering can also help you build new skills or even build on an existing skill that you are working on. For example, volunteering at a golf tournament may help you understand golf and volunteering at a hospital may help you understand how patients are treated and how the hospital runs during the day. Each time you volunteer, whether it is fun or not, you learn a valuable lesson, and the lesson you learn can be used for your future decisions and actions

For me, volunteering is quite fun, although I encounter new skills and activities that I might not even use in my life, just learning the new skills makes it fun for me. I volunteered at a golf tournament January 2016, and from there, I learned how the scoreboard runs during a golf tournament, and many other management skills that run a golf tournament. I even met many famous people there too! Furthermore, I am going to volunteer at the Orlando Regional Medical Center and I am looking forward to volunteer! I will be able to not only go around the hospital, but also have a chance to look into details where patient is being cared of, and other great opportunities!

All in all, one of the best ways to learn and go out into the world is by volunteering. The current world requires us to have as many skills and volunteering can cover most of the experience we need. Plus, just why not volunteer? Volunteering, in my opinion, is better than any phone or computer games and many other home activities. Most volunteering activities are held outside, which means that you can also get your daily walking done while outside. So to have fun and volunteer!

 

How To Cut Down On Homework Time

Added on February 8, 2017 by Megan.H

How To Cut Down On Homework Time

All students can describe their high school life as busy. Between homework and all the different sports and after school activities we are involved in, at some point (or points) in the year the work load will just become too much. Students will find that there is not enough time in the day for homework, sleep, sports and clubs, and a social life. In order to handle all of these things a student will soon find themselves up at 3 a.m. finishing homework that could have been done sooner or studying for a test that was forgotten because of this workload. A way to avoid all of this is time management. And I know that I am sounding like a total counselor right now, but trust me it works. How you use your time is very important and totally changes how your week turns out. The amount of homework sometimes depends on what you get done in class. ( Not all the time obviously ) In order to cut down the work here are some tips that I would highly recommend to use!

When at school if given the chance to work on projects or protective homework, work on it! Either if it is during class or SRT. The more you get done at school, the less you have to do at home.

When doing homework at home, if you find that you get tired while working work a desk and not on your bed. This will force you to work on what you need to get done.

Also make sure that when doing homework to put away all of the possible distractions to work at your full potential.

Happy Studying!

 

Finding Success

Added on January 4, 2017 by Yasmin.C

Finding Success

Many people have the desire to succeed, however sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to the point that you want to be at academically. My main tip to doing your absolute best is being on top of things. If a teacher were to give you a test a week in advance the best thing you could possibly do is study a bit every night until the assessment approaches. Many students will wait until last minute to study and will not perform at their best. This could be applied to any project given as well. As you get into higher grades the work amount will only increase, so if you started bad habits on procrastinating then it might be hard to break out of it. However, you will for sure see benefits when you begin to do your work in advance instead of cramming it the night before it's due. 

My second most important tip is to use your class time. Many teachers let you complete work in class, to prevent the amount of homework you will have at home. Many students slack in class and talk to their friends or not pay attention, and that just will increase your stress levels in the future. It is way easier to do the work at school when you are supposed to than leave it to do when you get home in the afternoon. Following these two important tips, it is guaranteed that you will see an improvement in your performance and your stress level will begin to decrease.

 

Staying on Top of Your Work

Added on November 9, 2016 by Nicole.G

Staying on Top of Your Work

Staying on top of work can be hard, especially in High School. Falling behind in work may seem hard to avoid, but there are always ways to stay ahead. When you make the transition from Middle School to High School, you can see the difference between the amount of work you have. I'm in 9th Grade, so it is my first year in High School and it was hard for me to adjust to the amount of work there is in High School. Once I started to realize I was falling behind, I made sure to change that and started doing things that could help me. There are many ways you can stay on top of your work and even though it may take extra time, it is completely worth it because you will be stress free. 

My first tip would be to always be paying attention and writing notes. If you are constantly writing notes in your classes you will automatically start to understand concepts more. Once the test or quiz comes around for that class, you won't have to cram the night before because you will already have the basic information. Not only that, but actually going over your notes after school will help you a lot. In past years I would only look over my notes once at home and then never again , and that would lead me to being stressed over the class. Once I started reviewing the concepts from the class and all the notes, I noticed how quickly it helped me. Not only that but challenging yourself and pushing yourself to work. Being in a class that is too easy for you may be less stressful, but actually pushing and challenging yourself to be in a class that is a little bit harder will be helpful, because you will actually be learning new concepts. If you do decide to challenge yourself, you shouldn't push yourself too hard. If you do then it will be hard to progress because you will be struggling to keep up with the concept. Keeping on top of all your work may take up time, but it is worth it in the long run.

 

Some Tips on The Transition From Middle School to High School

Added on October 20, 2016 by Jenna.B

Some Tips on The Transition From Middle School to High School

High School here at WPS differs greatly from Middle School. There are higher expectations, more emphasis on academic mastery and more hours spent completing homework. But that doesn't mean you should be scared or intimidated about the jump from 8th grade to 9th grade. Here are some tips and advice to prepare you for your first year in high school and the years to come.

      Always Be On Top of Everything: It is crucial that you stay organized and know what is coming up in the week. Firstly, always know what your homework is, when it is due and what tests you have to study for. There are multiple ways to do so, such as getting a hard copy planner or using a program on your computer. This way, you can keep track of upcoming assignments and exams and what you have to do that night. Plan out your homework load so you are not procrastinating and working on a lengthy assignment at 11:00 at night. While everyone slips here and there and procrastinates until the last minute because of other homework or after school activities, try your best not to. Another method that is crucial to adapt is organization. Keeping all your papers, worksheets and tests in one place will make it easy for you to study for midterms and finals. Doing the same on your computer is also helpful as well.

      Taking Notes and Study Methods: For a lot of students, school comes easy to them and are able to make A's without studying. But as the material becomes harder to understand and the amount of material on exams increases, students find it harder to not study and still make an A. That's why taking good notes and finding the right study method is important. Depending on the teacher, they might teach with a powerpoint, by writing notes on the whiteboard or by just talking out loud. Try your to not tune out the teacher while they are talking and just write what is on the board. While that might be easier to copy down, sometimes the teacher will say or explain material that is not on the board and is important to know. Not everyone does this, but I will tend to use multiple pens such as a black and purple/gold pen so that I can use the colorful pens to underline key concepts and terms so when I am reading through my notes later, those key concepts will stand out to me. When it comes to studying, just reading over your notes might not be enough, especially if the class is rather challenging for you. Students need to find what study method works for them, whether it be explaining concepts out loud or using online flashcards and practice tests such as quizlet. If you figure out what helps you learn early on in your freshman year, high school will be a lot easier for you.

      While school can be boring and uninteresting and it is hard to be motivated to do homework, you have to look at it with a positive approach. Choose classes that fit your learning skill (honors, non-honors, AP, etc) and always strive to be the best that you can be. If you stay organized, take good notes and study in a way that benefits you, you should be very successful in high school. I will leave you with two things: Don't sweat every single grade because I am going to tell you now that you will get a 'bad grade' from time to time. Just focus on making corrections to it and doing better next time. Lastly, just remember, if you ever have questions about material in class, ask your teacher. They are there to help you. Best of luck!

 

How To Deal With Stress

Added on October 4, 2016 by Molly.M

How To Deal With Stress

As a student of Windermere Prep you are expected to strive for perfection and attain excellence, but this doesn't mean that you must be stressed all the time. With good time management you can be less stressed, get more things done, and even have some free time for other activities that you may enjoy. I used to always be stressed about getting good grades and doing all of the homework that I was assigned. I had to learn how to manage my time in order to get more things done and have free time do the things that I loved. I had tried many time management tactics, such as writing everything down in my planner, or even skipping some after school activities in order to get the best grade possible. This ended up stressing me out even more, I had to find a method that worked for me. I ended up using a time calendar. I know it sounds weird, but I got a white board and marker and would write down what I would be doing every half hour. This helped me to see exactly when I should be working on a certain assignment, or studying for a specific test. I now had seen where I had free time to spend with family and friends, and even go to all of my after school activities. This has helped me manage my time, but it might not help you. Find a system that works for you and stick with that method. Make sure to keep up with the method you choose as well. As long as the system works for you, it doesn't matter how weird it seems.

 

How to Truly Learn

Added on January 22, 2015 by Valentina.G

How to Truly Learn

In my IB HL Biology class, we recently began an extremely interesting section on Neurobiology and Behavior. This Option (an additional lesson elected by the teacher as part of the IB course) forces us to question whyand how we learn. Between class discussions on the ethics of Skinner's pigeon experiments and the biological genius that is the withdrawal reflex, we were asked to define "learning". According to the IBO, learned behavior is characterized by experience.  This clicked. The way we truly learn is not by meaningless rote memorization. Rather, we learn by immersing ourselves completely in what we do and by making an experience out of it.

In my earlier blog post ("IB, Honors, or AP – Oh My!"), I briefly mentioned the importance of selecting classes that you are interested in. Although this may seem obvious, I think it is a fact that some people overlook. Rather than enroll in a class they are passionate about, too many students opt for the more challenging (and less interesting) class because they feel the need to prove themselves. By doing so, students forget the true purpose of school: to grow toward your future with purpose. Although you may not know what purpose that is, taking classes that do not resonate well with what you enjoy will only serve to alienate you further from your future.

When I study I enjoy making an experience out of what I am learning. Sometimes that means I get to spend time on YouTube researching the material or watching videos from other IB or AP teachers. I highly recommend watching Crash Course videos for your Science and History classes. Other times I prepare a bowl of grapes for my study session! When I reach a certain page number or outline a certain amount I will eat a grape as a sort of healthy reward. My Neurobiology and Behavior class would classify this under positive reinforcement. I feel good and I am incentivized to keep working. Studying in a different location, reciting what you know to a family member, or even making a catchy jingle to relate to a lesson are all different ways to make an experience out of your studying.

The hardest part of studying or doing schoolwork is getting started. However, I have found that once I start my work it is a lot easier for me to just finish it. An analogy I use is "A Valentina in study mode, stays in study mode until she is stopped by an object of equal or greater force". Minimize the equal or greater forces that can snap you out of "the zone". Turn off/turn down your phone and place it in the opposite corner of your room. Do not have too many webpages open on your laptop. At the same time, remember to take breaks. Do not force yourself to study one subject for an hour straight; you won't remember what you learned. Take a break every 15 minutes by walking around, talking to your family, or grabbing a healthy snack. I have also found that taking a nap after a good study session will help retain the information better.

Imbue yourself with the knowledge your teachers provide in class. Embrace the experience of learning, but at the same time go out and live real experiences. You will become a truly rich Laker, human being, and global citizen.

 

Do You Even Organize?

Added on January 17, 2015 by Alex.S

Do You Even Organize?

It's been said that to be successful, you have to be organized. Well, whoever came up with that probably didn't have to deal with three tests, an essay and a project all due the next day after they got home from practice or rehearsal at 7pm. Welcome to High School.

Sometimes, you just get swamped with so much work that you really don't know where to start and, consequently, you don't end up doing any of it. This is where organization can calm you down and prevent you from, say, stress-eating. So how do you get organized? Confusingly, you must first organize your organizational process. Let me explain.

 

1.            Establish a Home Base

         A home base is essentially where you'll log all of your tasks. This can be a giant whiteboard in your room, a planner, or your hand (though that is not advised). Most often, your home base will be an app on your computer or phone. Having an app on all your electronic devices that syncs your tasks is extremely helpful, though if you're a more hands-on person a physical home base will work fine as well. 

         I personally use the application Things, which is available on Mac and iOS. It's not cheap, but it works really well and syncs promptly across its various platforms. I have a master list of tasks on my computer that also appears on my phone, and I can add and edit tasks from both devices. Other notable apps are iProcrastinate, Wunderlist, and Clear, which are all decidedly less expensive. Of course, there's always good ol' iCal if you like the calendar feel. Whichever platform you choose for your home base, make sure it's something that you'll always have with you.

 

2.            Prioritize

         Once you have a home base, start adding your tasks to it. Order your list of tasks by priority. For me, tests come first, projects second, quizzes third, homework fourth, extracurriculars fifth. If you have multiple tests, quizzes, homework assignments, etc, order them by class. So it should work out something like this: a test in your hardest class (or class that requires the most studying) will be the first thing on your task list, while a set of questions for your easiest class will come last. You should also save the fun stuff (yes- amazingly enough, there are enjoyable projects and assignments in High School) for last, that way you have something to look forward to after all the hard and boring stuff. 

         Another tip (and you're not going to like me for this): start your assignments EARLY. I know how excruciating it can be to sacrifice your free time for something that's not even due tomorrow, but trust me; when you finish an assignment three days early and stuff starts piling up as the week progresses, you'll have one less thing to do on Thursday night. And once you start doing stuff early, it gets easier and easier every time you do it. Proactivity, my friends. Proactivity.

 

3.            Focus

         When it's time to actually start doing your work (yes, this will inevitably happen), make sure you're as focused as possible. That way, you'll get more stuff done in less time. Tip number one: spend as little of your time on the computer as possible- the temptation to check Instagram or Facebook or play online games might be too great to resist, and that squashes your productivity. Of course most assignments have to be typed and/or researched online, so it's not always possible to avoid the machine.

         If you have to be on a computer, take advantage of the numerous programs and applications available to keep you focused. If you're writing a paper, try a distraction-free writing program like iA Writer or OmmWriter for a full-screen page without any app icons or formatting buttons. If you're doing anything else online, I recommend using FocusAtWill. It's a free online music service with songs selected specifically for getting work done (with genres like classical, acoustic, and new age), and I find that it actually helps me focus.

         Your environment can also help you focus. Always pick a spot to do work where you don't feel distracted by anything (for most people this is somewhere quiet, like a library or their bedroom). It's rarely a good idea to do homework on your bed, especially if your assignment is particularly boring and it's 9:30 at night- you might just fall asleep, and that's totally not what we're going for here.


         That doesn't sound too bad, does it? Just have a singular place where you write down everything you have to get accomplished, arrange all your tasks by difficulty and importance level and create an environment conducive to focusing, and you'll be ready to own all your work. Of course if you have any questions about organization or good study habits, feel free to ask me a question.

 

 

Embracing the Now

Added on January 8, 2015 by Valentina.G

Embracing the Now

Too often, as students fall back into the swing of a new semester, a certain degree of monotony begins to seep each week. We are familiar with our own patterns: wake up, put on a permutation of our school uniform, drive to school, class-to-class lessons with quick hallway chats in between, after school activities, homework, sleep. Rinse and repeat. However school does not have to be a re-run of Saved by The Bell (or for our younger readers, Ned's Declassified). I am writing about two true and tested ways to help you embrace the now and love every day (even Mondays).

1) Be a human being, not a human doing.

We have all had rough days. Those days when you get home and when your parents ask how your day went you flippantly respond, "it was ok". Perhaps you were preoccupied with friend problems, a test that didn't go very well, and/or copious amounts of homework. We may not realize it, but it shows. Last year I was having one of those days, my feet dragged a little more than usual between my classes and I wasn't smiling and greeting everyone that walked by as normal. One of my best friends, Manny, lightly grabbed my arm and what he said completely turned around my day (and has still clearly stuck with me now). "Valentina, why are you sad? Look around you: life is so beautiful!" From then on I have made a conscious effort to realize just how much I have, how blessed I am, and how beautiful life is. Things that seem life shattering in middle school and high school are so trivial in the long run. We should all look around us and realize this.

2) Live with your eyes open.

Cross-country promised not to be an easy sport, but that was why I joined it. Dr. Williams coached our team and each practice was an extremeworkout. I remember one particular practice in which consisted of a 2-mile ladder following an intense warm-up. After the first mile, I will admit, I wanted to give up. I paced around the track with my hands on my hips and looked up, rather than solely in. My teammates were all surely thinking the same thing: their eyes were glazed over with a mixture of tears and sweat. But when Dr. Williams blew her whistle for us to get back on the starting line, we all did without hesitation. Sometimes when school and personal activities seem overwhelming we shut out those around us. We do not take the time to notice that others are struggling too. Furthermore we do not look up to see our own personal Dr. Williams, standing with a whistle and tacit support for us to keep moving forward. Keep your eyes open and realize you aren't the only person standing at the starting line of your second mile.

As always talk to your family, friends, and teachers when life feels overwhelming or repetitive. Fill each day with what you love. Embrace the now and I wish you all the best of luck for this last semester!

 

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