Preparing for College

Can I relax now that I've been accepted?

Question: I got into my first-choice college. Is it safe to relax now?

Congratulations on getting into your first-choice college. It's always good to hear that. While you can take pride and satisfaction about your accomplishment, I would be careful about that word "relax."

Even though your short-term goal was to get into your first-choice school (which you've done), you must now focus on being successful there. That will take sustained effort. At this point, in the spring of your senior year, there is a mighty temptation to cruise. Avoid yielding to that temptation.

Your overall high school record has been one of achievement. That's evident from the fact that you were accepted by your first-choice college. Since it's unlikely that you could jeopardize your acceptance even with a huge academic letdown at this late stage of the year, you could set yourself up for some bad habits in college.

Academic crashing is a time-honored tradition in the halls of ivy. The famed all-nighters to finish papers or to cram for exams are part of college lore. What you should aim for, however, is a sustained style of work and learning. A steady pace tends to win out in the long run. It's a tortoise-versus-hare thing. That's more than likely the style that got you into college. Don't develop any bad habits now that your on college's doorstep.

My advice to you is to enjoy the remainder of your senior year. BUT finish what you've started. Don't let any of your grades drop. Do your best on your finals. Follow through on your year-end projects. Be consistent.

Keep the ball rolling over the summer. Get a head start on freshman English by reading some classics. If you don't know what to read, ask your school's AP English teacher for a reading list. You'll get a jump on college and have some fun doing it.