10 Tips for a Confident Return to Class

Summer has flown by (as usual), and the first day of class looms large just around the corner. OVS is here with 10 tips to help you prepare for the upcoming fall semester! Take our advice and you can be confident that you’ll be starting the year off right!


  1. Make a good first impression

Starting the semester on a good note with your teachers is key. You don’t have to be the teacher’s pet, but you do want to make a good impression and make sure that you stand out from the rest of the class. Particularly if you’re in your last year, remember that you’re going to need teachers who know more about you than just your name when it comes time for recommendation letters.

  1. Find out what’s expected of you

The first few days of class are all about setting up expectations. Make sure you’re paying attention to what your teachers are saying about the workload of the class and what they want you to gain from being in it. Despite what some may say, teachers really do want you to succeed, which means they are going to tell you exactly what you need to do to thrive in their class – all you have to do is listen and follow through! And for the sanity of teachers everywhere: keep your syllabus somewhere you can easily consult it throughout the course (like the inside cover of your binder!).

  1. Use your agenda to keep track of more than just HW

Yes, the implication here is that you should definitely be using an agenda or planner of some sort! Most high schoolers have got the hang of marking down homework due dates, but the average teen has a lot more than that going on! Set aside a time each day (or each period) to mark down your upcoming academic, extracurricular, work, and social commitments. Keeping track of tests, practices, work shifts, get-togethers and holidays is a crucial step in your plan for success.

  1. School supplies (alone) don’t make you organized

Back to school sales can give you some pretty ambitious ideas about how you’re going to organize yourself for the new school year. At the end of the day, make sure the system you choose is not too fancy or complicated – if it is, you won’t stick to it and that’s what really matters. Pick something that works for you, even if it isn’t colour-coded and Pinterest worthy.

  1. Set semester goals

It’s hard to know where you’re headed – and how close you are to getting there – if you don’t have a map. At the end of the first week of classes, take 10 minutes to map out your goals for this semester. Write them down and keep them somewhere you can consult throughout the semester, as you work towards achieving them!

  1. Make a friend in every class

Find a few people from each of your classes that you feel comfortable working with and whose working style complements your own. Having a study buddy (or two) in every class is crucial. Everyone needs someone to give “the look” to when the teacher asks you to partner off, right

  1. Check in with your guidance counsellor

Sometime in the first six weeks of class, make an appointment to see your guidance counsellor. They will be the one to make sure you’re keeping on track to earn your diploma and, for seniors, they can also help you with post-secondary planning and applications. Be sure to ask about scholarship opportunities as well!

  1. Make ‘night before prep’ a habit

How much time do you spend every morning running around the house grabbing things you need for class that day? How often do you forget that one thing you swore you would remember in the morning? This year, make a pact with yourself to pack your book bag, prepare your lunch, and lay your clothes out the night before. The reward? You can hit snooze a few extra times without feeling guilty!

  1. Get involved!

The best way to get back in the swing of things is to get involved! If you don’t already have something in mind from last year, ask around for a list of the sports and clubs available to you. Pick something that interests you and sign up! Not only do extra-curriculars look good on your post-secondary resume, but they’re also a great way to meet people outside your usual social circles!

  1. Start thinking about post-secondary

If you’re going into grade 11 or 12, there’s no time like the present to start exploring your post-secondary options. If you haven’t already, consider what factors are important to you in choosing a school and write them down. Then, look up when your local university fair is going to be and mark it in your calendar. For students local to Toronto, September 27-29th is your one-stop shop for all Ontario Universities!


High school may seem like the longest four years of your life while you’re there, but as any graduate will tell you, in the grand scheme of things, those four years fly by. Embrace the routine, take advantage of the resources given to you, and don’t let the occasional drama get in the way of you achieving your goals!


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