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Windbourne College Consulting

The Balancing Act: Managing School, Extracurriculars, and College Prep

As high school students navigate the journey toward college, they often find themselves juggling a multitude of tasks. Balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and college preparations can seem like a daunting challenge. But, with the right strategies and mindset, this balancing act can turn into an empowering experience, paving the way for both personal growth and college admissions success.

Understanding Your Priorities:

The first step in mastering this balancing act is understanding what truly matters to you. Is academic excellence your top priority? Are you passionate about a particular extracurricular activity? It's crucial to set both short-term and long-term goals. In her new book “Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic- and What We Can Do About It” Jennifer Breheny Wallace explores the “grind culture” many students find themselves in.  She discusses how to reframe your priorities and mindset to focus on what matters most.  Read more about Wallace’s book here.

Time Management Strategies:

Time management is a skill that benefits you far beyond high school. Start by using planners or digital tools to organize your schedule. Allocate specific time blocks for studying, extracurriculars, and college prep activities. Remember, flexibility is key. Unexpected events might require you to adjust your schedule, so staying adaptable is crucial. Consistency in your routine will help establish a productive rhythm.

The Role of Extracurricular Activities:

Extracurriculars are not just about padding your college application; they're avenues for personal growth and self-discovery. Quality trumps quantity here. Deep involvement in a few activities can be more impactful than spreading yourself too thin. Whether it's sports, arts, or community service, these experiences develop essential life skills and showcase your passions to college admissions committees.

Staying Healthy and Avoiding Burnout:

In the pursuit of academic and extracurricular excellence, don't forget to take care of your well-being. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise are non-negotiable. The American Psychological Association emphasizes the importance of recognizing burnout and stress in teens, such as chronic fatigue or declining interest in activities you once enjoyed. If you’re showing signs of anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out to family, teachers, or counselors for support.

 An important note to parents, teens may display a high focus on perfectionism while trying to manage the “grind”.  It is important to support them and recognize the signs of unhealthy perfectionism.   This can be especially true during the college application process causing students to procrastinate or freeze.

Balancing school, extracurriculars, and college prep is no easy feat, but it's achievable. High School is about exploring your potential and preparing for the future. Remember, you're not alone in this. Seek guidance, stay organized, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Your future in college and beyond is bright, and this balancing act is just the beginning of an exciting journey.

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