RESTON, Va., June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This summer, the National Honor Society (NHS) and the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are calling on high school and middle school students to "Honor Your Future Now" by taking time to prepare for college, career, and a lifetime of success over the break. NHS and NJHS tools, tips, and resources can help students build upon skills and experience to get them to and through college and on to future success.
"Traditionally, summer means setting aside thoughts of school for a couple months, but it is the perfect time for students to be productive and participate in activities that cultivate leadership, character, a focus on service, and other valuable types of experience," said Dr. Jonathan Mathis, director of the National Honor Societies. "The National Honor Societies believe that every student should have the opportunity to succeed and perform at his or her very best. Our resources can help students at all levels navigate their way through college preparation and on to the right path to future success. A little effort this summer will go a long way when it comes to developing a well-rounded background needed to get to and through college and on to a bright future."
While the grades on a transcript are an important part of a college application, they are not the only thing that college admission officers consider. According to research commissioned by the National Honor Societies, 59 percent of admissions officers look for participation in community service opportunities to evaluate a student's character, and 30 percent of admissions officers say the most impressive extracurricular activity is volunteering in the local community. Summer frequently offers extra free time to build the skills and experience needed for a well-rounded background.
There are many ways students can use the summer break productively, including researching colleges that match their needs and interests. To aid in the process, the National Honor Societies created a visual guide about discovering "The Right College Fit" to assist students during college searches.
To help students this summer continue to "Honor Your Future Now," the National Honor Societies are offering the following tips to prepare for college and the future:
- Get to Know a School: Visiting college campuses can help students figure out what type of college is the right fit for them. Walking around to gain a sense of climate and culture of a school, talking to students and faculty, even eating in the cafeteria will help students understand if a particular college "feels like home," determine what attributes are most important to them, and decide which colleges to apply to. Students who aren't able to visit a school in person can visit the school's website and take a virtual tour, subscribe to a school's blogs or talk to students who attended their high school and now attend that college/university.
- Research Institutional Elements and Academic Characteristics: There are many elements and characteristics that students should spend time researching before applying to colleges. School traits such as public versus private; small, medium or large in size; city versus country setting, etc., can all make a difference in a college experience. Looking into available majors, research opportunities and academic opportunities is also vital and will help students identify which schools are strong in the programs they desire.
- Think About the Financial Aspect: The financial aspect can be one of the most daunting parts of the college experience for students and parents, but the right resources and information can help alleviate many of these concerns. Every college/university is required by the federal government to provide a "net price calculator" on its website to help prospective students and parents figure out how much they will really pay for the school, factoring in any aid and awards. It's also never too early to begin thinking about and researching scholarships and other ways to reduce costs, like taking Advanced Placement (AP) and dual enrollment coursework.
- Explore Leadership and Service Opportunities: Students who take on leadership roles are more likely to be successful in college and their careers. Learning how to be a leader is a great way for students to set themselves apart on college applications. It also teaches important life lessons such as confidence and interpersonal communication. Students can take advantage of the summer's free time by building these skills through volunteering to support a cause they care about in their community. This service experience also demonstrates citizenship and gives students a chance to explore areas that align with their interests and possibly a future career.
- Identify Career Goals: Summer can be a great time for students to explore and experience different interests and careers, especially for high schoolers who don't yet know what they want to do. Researching different types of careers based on personal interests is an important first step to set students up for success later on. Firsthand experience is a crucial second step. Talking directly to workers, job shadowing an employee in a field of interest, or landing a summer internship can help students determine if a certain career path is right for them.
In addition, the National Honor Societies offer the following advice to help all students all year long to "Honor Your Future Now" and empower them to build skills and experience within the five proven pillars of National Honor Societies' membership: scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship:
- Make the Grade: Strive for academic success. It not only will play a critical role in helping get into college, but will ensure important lessons are learned that can guide a student throughout life.
- Find Your Voice: Understand the role and rights of citizens in our country in order to become an active member who lets his or her voice be heard.
- Take Risks: It's so easy to follow the familiar path, but doing so will prevent reaching one's full potential. Taking risks is essential to being successful on the path chosen.
- Define Your Own Success: Don't compare your success to others – you define your own success. Defining one's own success means staying true to one's self and aspirations without comparison to peers.
- Embrace Mentors: Nobody can be successful on their own. Mentors bring knowledge and role model behaviors that will help move anyone along a path of success.
- Go with Your Gut: Personal success has a lot to do with following instincts and not letting others define how one's life should be. Follow a career track of particular interest. When discovering a skill in a particular area, embrace it and learn to cultivate and love that skill.
Visit the "Honor Your Future Now" website at HonorYourFutureNow.org to access tools available for students and parents throughout the summer, including the Choose the College that's Best for You infographic, Three Ways to Pay for College infographic, Preparing for College, Defining Character, and Community Service Idea Starters. Stay up-to-date on the campaign by following #HonorYourFutureNow on Twitter and following the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society on Facebook.
About NASSP (Founding organization of the National Honor Societies)
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.
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SOURCE National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)