College During Coronavirus
July 29, 2020

Beat Back to School – 9 Things to Do Before School Starts Up Again

Summer is never long enough. As unappetizing as going back to school may seem, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re best prepared before Labor Day rolls around. Each of these nine items will prepare you for Fall academic success, and that will mean a much happier and fulfilling year as a whole!

1- Check Out your School’s Curriculum for Next Year.

Google the name of your school and your grade-level curriculum. You can find entry requirements for Honors and AP classes, what courses are Spring or Fall, and sometimes who teaches what. Your school will often have presentations, program guides, and even links to resources for each department or course.

2- Research Anything that Interests You

Before your teachers select a research topic for you, gain some experience doing research on something that piques your interest! It’s not just a skill for college; almost every job requires research know-how. You can add that to your resume, and the experience of digging into Open Educational Resources (OER) will enrich your knowledge of a topic you care about.

3- Peep those Electives

What electives are offered this upcoming year? Any that you couldn’t take last year? It’s always a good idea to look for an elective that you’ll genuinely enjoy. You won’t necessarily find all this information in the open—sometimes you’ll need to contact the teacher in charge. But that’s worthwhile, too, a two-minute email might set you up to get into an elective that you otherwise thought would be closed or not fit into your schedule.

4- School Yourself on some Math.

Math was always the subject I struggled with the most, and my parents wisely had me prepare a bit before each Fall semester. It wasn’t always pretty, but I passed! In fact, taking some summer prep before calculus made the difference in helping me get a good grade on the AP exam, which I then used to bypass a course in college. Check out the open math resource below.

School Yourself – https://schoolyourself.org/

5- Stream some Science series

Each science is different, and each is a lot of fun to learn about, both inside and outside of school. There are some amazingly entertaining documentaries on biology, earth science, and chemistry. Head to Netflix or your streaming service of choice, and you’ll find a host of informative TV series that will put you in a great place for science this Fall.

6- Take a Look, in a Book (English)

As a former English teacher, there are 1,000 recommendations I can make about what students should do during summer. But the best thing to do is the simplest: pick something you like and read it. The book, comic, or graphic novel you select can be something you refer to throughout the entire school year in writing assignments and class discussion.

https://openlibrary.org/ – Thousands of free books, many scanned from their original forms!

7- Access Museum Collections for History / Social Studies

There are a ton of awesome free resources on world and American history that are at your fingertips via your device. Below is one I highly recommend for  anyone taking global or European history, as it gives you access to dozens of museums on the old continent.

https://www.europeana.eu/en/collections

8- Mind your Health.

Yes, this penultimate pointer is just about getting in better shape before school starts. Gym class can be a killer! The app I recommend for this is incredibly customizable. I find it invigorating to tailor my routines, explore different free workout plans, and track my progress.

https://www.jefit.com/

9- Scope out Songs and Series in a Foreign language

There’s far cooler ways than Duolingo to prepare for your foreign language class. First, browse some music in that language: French hip-hop, pop from Latin America, or those Korean boy-bands. These are both immersive and fun, and give you cool phrases you won’t learn in class. Next, check out TV series and films in this language on Netflix and Hulu. Subtitles on at first, but, eventually, you’ll find yourself understanding more.

That’s it for this month! What about you? Are there any courses/subjects next year that you’re excited about or want to get ready for in advance? Tell us below!

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