For most students, the new school year is just a couple of weeks away. Time to get back into the routine and gear up for the Fall semester.

Nobody wants to go into a new year unprepared. It can help a great deal, though, if you  develop a plan for the upcoming semester now! To help you get started, here are a few ideas to consider in these last few weeks of summer break:

Tip #1: Review Your Course Load

By the midpoint of high school, you should have some idea of what you plan to do post-graduation. Are you collegebound? Maybe you’re headed for a trade school, or you’re going straight into the workforce? Either way, now’s the time to review which courses you need to take for your intended path. Make sure you’re not missing any key classes; if so, you’ll want to change your schedule as soon as possible.

Tip #2. Consider Any Clubs, Sports, or Other Activities You’re Interested In

Are you interested in joining an extracurricular activity? This can include anything from sports to student government, or some other club that’s relevant to your interests. Now’s the time to look over all the various organizations available at your school and see if any of them resonate with you. Or, if you don’t see anything interesting, you can always consider starting your own club!

Tip #3. Start Applying for Scholarships Early

You don’t have to wait for your last semester of Senior year to start the scholarship process. In fact, if you’re planning to attend college, it’s best to start researching and applying for scholarships as early as possible. Research scholarships that might be specific to your situation. For example, if you are pursuing a particular career, look for scholarships in that field. If you’re a member of a specific ethnic/religious group, see if there are groups out there providing scholarships to young people. Check out our College Money 101 posts for more information on this front.

Tip #4. Stay Organized

One of the best ways to keep up with your goals is to remain organized. Make a commitment now to go into the new school year on top of everything you need to do to achieve success by year’s end. Then, stick to that plan. Being organized will help you achieve more, because you’re never lost or falling behind. Don’t worry: we have more resources available to help you with this, too!

Tip #5. Resolve to Develop One Key Skill This Year

Is there some special skill you want to develop that you’ve just been putting off? Maybe you are interested in learning a new language, or developing one of your natural talents for art, sports, or some other ability? As with any other form of planning, the first step toward making it a reality is setting a resolution to achieve your goal. Say to yourself: “I will learn/accomplish ________ by the end of this school year.” Just fill in the blank with whatever skill you want to develop, then work toward that goal every day.

Tip #6. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

We all get a little overwhelmed sometimes, and none of us have all the answers. There’s no shame in asking for help in accomplishing the items on this list; in fact, asking for help when it’s readily available might be the smartest move you can make! After all, your school has counselors who are there specifically to help students. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment whenever you have questions about scheduling, scholarships, college readiness, personal matters, or anything else.