3 steps high school seniors should take to make the most of winter break

Finally, you’ve made it to the top of the mountain. You’re a second semester senior—congratulations! Tests are done, applications are in, and it’s time to relax.

Well … yes and no. Here are a few things to think about over your winter break to make sure you finish the year strong.

1. Revisit your academic goals.

This is a great time to think about what you've accomplished and what's still ahead. Remind yourself of your motivations and your short-term and long-term goals. Are your goals still clear and reachable? Do you have a plan for accomplishing them?

Remember, the myth that second semester grades don’t matter is just that: a myth. Many colleges ask seniors to send in their second semester grades in early summer. There are several reasons to pay special attention to this. Firstly, if you are a waitlisted student on the bubble, earning high marks is a surefire way to improve your chances. Second, while rare, it’s not unheard of for a university to pull an acceptance from a student who completely took their foot off the gas.

Also, let’s not forget that some scholarships take students' cumulative GPAs into account, so your second-semester grades may serve that purpose as well.

2. Review your AP course materials.

If you plan to take AP exams in the spring, winter break is an excellent opportunity to organize your notes from your AP classes, review everything you’ve learned so far in your course, and try practice FRQs and multiple-choice questions. Any work you do now will help lighten the load in the spring.

Depending on which universities you’ve applied to, you may want to look at which APs they accept and consider how that affects your plans. Coming into college with credits under your belt, when possible, can be a huge advantage by allowing you more time to explore different courses before you commit to a certain path and, in some cases, by getting your pre-requisites out of the way sooner and putting you on track for the major (or double major) you've always dreamed of.

3. Rest and recharge.

You've certainly earned a break, and a well-deserved and well-timed break can go a long way toward staying energized and motivated for the semester ahead. Plus, if you'll soon be heading off to college, it can be a good idea to prioritize spending time with family and friends over the next several months.

With these tips in mind, we hope you're able to spend your winter break in meaningful ways. Contact us if you’re feeling senioritis coming on, and we can help get you back on the right track and put an exclamation point on your senior year!

Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


About ArborBridge

ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.

Matt Plonsker

About Matt Plonsker

Matt attended the University of Michigan and subsequently earned his M.B.A. at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He has had a passion for teaching since his high school days, when he would help his younger brother with algebra homework. Matt is a high-energy tutor who likes to build a fun dynamic with his students. In addition to working as a professional tutor, he has worked in television development, and his creative word-smithing in that context has given him a special knack for communicating test prep strategies to his students.

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