New Year's Resolutions for the College-Bound

I read in last month's Mental Floss magazine that I shouldn't share my own resolutions with anyone. Apparently, telling others your resolutions is linked with not meeting those goals. Something about having a false sense of accomplishment. Anyway, since I'm following the advice of experts and not sharing my own resolutions, let's talk about you! Inspired by the most popular New Year's resolutions, here are suggested goals for 2016 from Layman College Consulting.

  • Travel to new places. Schedule some college campus visits for 2016, especially if you're a sophomore, junior, or senior! Explore city campuses, rural campuses, big campuses, small campuses...I could get into quite a Seussian rhythm here, but I'll leave it at that.
  • Lose weight. Shed that baggage you carry around about standardized testing ("I'm a bad test-taker!" "This test is evil!"). You're more than the number that the ACT or the College Board puts next to your name. Want another way to drop pounds? Hand the burden of test prep and college planning over to Layman College Consulting (sorry, shameless plug).
  • Get out of debt. I'm going to twist this one around a bit: don't get into burdensome, needless debt to get a college degree. Map out what four years will cost, think about what makes sense for your finances, and look for resources to knock down the sticker price of college.
  • Exercise. Completing test prep homework is one of those things like going on a run: before you do it, you dread it; when you're done, you're so glad you did it! Okay, so maybe the endorphin rush isn't quite the same. But after taking the real test, you'll be glad you took all of those test prep exercises seriously.
  • Run a marathon. For you people who find just "exercise" mundane! If you're a high school student, here's a tidbit: you're already running a marathon. It's called, um, high school. The primary thing most colleges look at in admissions is your academic profile: the courses you choose to take and how you do in those courses. What do you need to do to make sure that you're not only able to finish the marathon, but to earn a good "time"? Tackle those trouble subjects or challenge yourself more in areas of interest this year!
  • Learn something new. Want to know the best way to learn new things? READ. Please, seriously, just read.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is something that is pointless, that a lot of people start so that they look cool, and that can kill you. I'm trying to draw a parallel here for the college admissions journey, but, thankfully, I'm drawing a blank. Just don't smoke, k? And don't do drugs. And stay in school.
  • Get organized. Keep track of all activities, awards, honors, trips...basically everything from 9th grade onwards. It will make life during fall of senior year so much less of a pain. Again, can I just throw out the idea of hiring an independent educational consultant to navigate this whole college admissions process?

So there you go. If you are having trouble coming up with something to strive for in 2016, feel free to steal one or more of these. Just don't tell anyone. Happy New Year!