Completing my teaching placement has given me the opportunity to talk with grade 12 students and see what they have been involved in during their last year of high school. As a teacher candidate, I spoke to students about their future goals and plans for university. The students told me that they were excited but intimidated by the workload and the university environment. For this reason, I came up with a some suggestions for skills to practice in high school that will help you be prepare you for what to expect university.
Begin to work on your assignment/essay/lab the same day it is assigned
In high school, you usually have much shorter assignment deadlines. In university, your assignments may be given to you months in advance. It’s good practice to begin working on your assignments the same day you get them. If you work on an assignment over a period of time, you have time for the information to resonate with you and increase the likelihood of producing better work. Last-minute work usually reflects last-minute thinking. In university, you are encouraged to apply higher level thinking to your work, therefore, learning to dedicate more time for thinking and brainstorming on assignments will reflect positively on your work.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
In my placement, I noticed that many high-school students often hold back from asking questions or making comments. When I asked why, they said that they associated questions with not knowing the answer or misunderstanding the material, which made them feel embarrassed or ashamed. Learn to ask questions and be comfortable with thinking critically. In university, you will need to communicate with your T.A.s (teaching assistants) to ensure you’ve understood the material from the related lecture. Asking questions is a good thing. It gets you participation marks, and in most cases, it helps you become less stressed.
Get experience networking by joining extracurricular activities
Joining a sports team, being an advocate for a topic you are passionate about, or running for student council at your high school are just some ways to get involved before you head off to university. Learning to work with others in a variety of settings is a skill you will need for life, especially at university. It is also a great way to learn how to network and work as a team. Extracurricular involvement looks great on your supplementary applications for university. Extracurriculars teach you how to work with a variety of different people in a setting where you are expected to work together toward similar goals.
I hope that you will take these tips into consideration during your final semester of grade 12. It is important that you enjoy your last year of school but also that you think to the future and see if there are ways you can improve your work ethic or get more involved! If you have any questions about university be sure to tweet us @yorkustudents to get your questions answered from current York University students.