How To Plan For The Rest Of The Academic Year
With a new year and semester underway, now is the perfect time to plan out your academic, personal, and professional goals for the next two quarters of the year. Identifying, defining, and executing these goals is one of the most valuable skills you can master.
Your goals can be short-term or long-term, but should provide a clear structure of what you should do with your time in the upcoming weeks, months, or even the years ahead. Your goals should include how much time you need to assign to a specific task and habits for proper execution.
However, knowing exactly which goals to set for the upcoming year can be difficult to assess. We’ve established some milestones for the first and second quarter of this year so you can plan and set more accurate academic goals. We will also describe the best way to create and achieve your goals following the breakdown of the next two quarters.
January through March represents our described goals for the first quarter of this year. Now is a good time to set goals and plan for what you’d like to be doing in the Spring.
Spring break in March is a great time for a week-long internship or an educational family trip. It’s also not too early to start preparing for midterm or final exams that tend to sneak up on you.
The best way to prepare is to stay up to date on your homework and assignments to better minimize stress in the future and to ensure that you are efficient with your time. Try creating objectives for each individual class, or set aside some time each week to make sure you understand the course material. If you are finding that a class may be too challenging, it is important to take the proactive steps early in the quarter to set yourself up for success at the end of it. This may mean setting time aside when outside of class to focus on the material on your own or with a tutor who can support your academic growth.
If you’re a senior in high school, the first quarter is a perfect time for students to re-take any exams if necessary and finalize their college applications to submit them to the school of their choice.
March through June, or the end of the school year, marks the second quarter of the year. This is a great time to start preparing for the classes you’d like to take in the Fall. Start exploring different interests in your spare time to see if there’s a new subject or elective you’d enjoy studying.
If you’re in highschool and working towards starting your college admission planning, you’ll want to work on developing a structure and a narrative that is both authentic to yourself and enticing to the college. Take classes that challenge you or help express your creative self. It’s also beneficial to build a class schedule that’s structured so you can maximize your time, whether that be taking harder classes in the first semester or taking classes earlier in the day so you have more time after school.
It is also a good idea to start thinking about exams you’d like to take. Students who are interested in taking AP or IB exams will want to build their schedule according to the criteria required for them. Even elementary students can start thinking about taking extra assessments such as MAP, STAR or CogAT/CCAT, so they can spend the Summer strengthening their knowledge in certain subjects and preparing for the new school year ahead.
It’s not too early to begin thinking about your Summer plans. Internships, enrichment programs, Summer courses, or camps are all great opportunities for learning this Summer. Sometimes students find that taking a Summer class, or even simply creating a learning plan with online videos prior to starting the class in the Fall is helpful for seamlessly completing the course. Registration can fill up quickly for most Summer activities, so the better prepared you are, the more time you have to make sure you’re a selected registrant.
If you’re a junior in highschool, this would be an ideal time to apply for an internship or a summer enrichment program at a University. This is also when you should start preparing for any exams such as the SAT/ACT or TOEFL/IELTS.
When thinking of creating an academic plan for the year, try making goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific goals are as they sound. Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish? Who’s involved? What needs to occur in order to achieve it?
Measurable means providing quantitative tracking or benchmarks for your progress.
Achievable goals, means making sure they are realistic and attainable within your ressources.
Relevant is the why behind your goal and serves as a reminder of its need.
The final element, Time-Bound, instigates the parameter of your goals. When you will begin the process and when it is to be achieved .
An example of a goal for a student with established SMART goals would be:
Specific: Read one book of your choice each month for 6 months.
Measurable: Read at least 40 pages every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tab each section with the day to mark its completion.
Achievable: Start off with a shorter book to solidify that it is achievable, and then work your way up to something longer while you learn to manage your time to include this new goal.
Relevant: To improve reading skills, gain knowledge, and limit screen time.
Time-bound: 6 months to read 6 books.
It’s important to write out your plans so that they are visible and so you can see them as the year progresses. Add rewards if you’re having trouble staying motivated, get creative, and be open to new ideas and approaches. Try learning a new language, taking a new class, creating study groups, or pause to meditate more frequently.
One of the key benefits of academic planning is being able to try new things and learn from your mistakes. It can also be helpful to build a network of support. If your friend wants to watch a show but it’s a reading day, they can compromise that they watch only one episode with you to give you time to read. Being supported by your friends and family can make it easier to prioritize and reach your goals.
How Novel Can Help
If you want a more personalized plan for the academic year, try getting a coach or private tutor. As experts in curriculum design, inclusive pedagogy theory, and the best practices in educational development, Novel Education is now offering educational consulting services. During your sessions, we will assess and develop recommendations for an academic plan and help you in everything from goal setting to college advising. Get started today, and book a FREE consultation with us!