I am a HS freshman in the IB programme and I've been having some trouble with my classes (I got a C and 2 B's in first quarter). I usually am not like this and I'm really trying to get into Harvard. Home life has been stressful and I find myself procrastinating more. Do you have any tips on studying, working, or otherwise? Can you share anything that you have done to improve your grades and work ethic? Thank you!
This is a great question, and I'm so sorry you've been struggling. A couple general things. First of all, as you probably know, getting into Harvard basically requires perfect or near perfect grades. A single C can often be enough to sink an application to Ivy League schools (especially if you have some Bs on your transcript as well). So, of course, it is in your best interest to do everything you can to raise those grades before the end of the school year. That said, many, many students struggle with the transition to high school. It is not atypical that a student will receive mediocre grades as a freshman and then consistently earn better grades in the following years. Admissions officers are sensitive to this and will view an upward trajectory throughout high school positively, understanding the difficulties you faced upon entering high school. Basically, while it is critically important to improve your grades now, all is not lost yet!
Second, I just want to remind you that getting into Harvard is not the be all end all. Harvard is an amazing place to attend college and will open all kinds of doors for you. However, it is absolutely not the only great place to attend college! You can have an excellent academic experience and a terrific career almost regardless of what school you attend. It all depends on how you take advantage of a given school's resources and opportunities and on how you build your social network.
In terms of getting work done, my go to strategy has always been to get out of my apartment (or dorm, or house, etc.) and find somewhere else to study where I can more efficiently get work done. Sometimes this is a library. But not just any library! It's usually a deserted corner of some empty, specialty library with a nice atmosphere. Sometimes it's a museum. Maybe it's a quiet cafe. Maybe it's a quiet cafe in a museum. Somehow, getting into a new space always helps me focus. If you want some more tips, you can check out our blog post on it here: https://blog.collegevine.com/collegevines-six-top-study-tips-for-high-school-students/. Wishing you all the best.
I was in the same place as you last quarter. I had 1 C, 2 Bs and 3 As. I'm taking one AP class and all others are honors besides exploratories. I just let my dad take all my electronics from me until I got my work done, so you should try to stop yourself from the temptation of doing whatever is distracting you until all your work is done. If you still need help, get tutoring or ask for help during class.
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