Back-to-School Prep Hacks to Make the New School Year a Breeze

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How to Start the 2018-2019 School Year Off Right

It’s no secret that preparedness is one of the keys to success. With a new school year approaching, that last thing you need is to kick things off by feeling behind. Not to mention, starting the semester feeling organized and prepared can help you knock your academic goals out of the park. Even if you are just starting your freshman year, what you do now has an effect on graduation and beyond. High school can be busy, stressful, and overwhelming, but thankfully, these back to school prep hacks can leave you (or your teen) feeling set up for success—both in the now and in the future.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #1: Organize your time with a planner.

We know this one seems obvious. But we also know how many times we’ve all purchased cool planners only to leave on a bookshelf to gather dust after using them for only two weeks. High school only gets busier as graduation approaches. With homework, tests, and extracurricular activities all competing for time and attention, organization is essential to success in high school. Our first of the four back to school prep hacks is simple — start out the school year strong by making a habit of using a planner or calendar to keep track of assignments, tests, extracurriculars, application deadlines, and other important dates. And while phone calendars are handy and convenient, physical planners and notebook agendas are even more useful for visually mapping out multiple days and weeks at a time.

When you get your class syllabi on the first day of school, go ahead and enter test dates and project deadlines for the whole year into your planner, so that they won’t catch you by surprise later on. It’s also smart to add SAT test dates and even social events to your planner, so you can plan how to schedule school work around the rest of your calendar.

Don’t have a planner? Download this free printable weekly planning calendar.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #2: Get to know your state’s graduation requirements.

You can only be as prepared as you are informed. Spend the time to become intimately familiar with your state’s graduation requirements, so you know how to plan your course load. We’re all about working smarter, not harder, and reverse engineering your class schedule after you’ve learned the requirements makes your life easier, your efforts more efficient, and your transcript stronger.

Click here for comprehensive information about Arizona’s graduation requirements.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #3: Amp up your schedule (and earn college credit) with online courses.

Thanks to online education, your academic career doesn’t have to be limited by the courses you take in high school. Whether you need to take an extra class to catch up, want to learn a subject not offered at your own school, or want to get ahead by earning college credit with a concurrent enrollment course, online courses are a great way to supplement your regular academic schedule. ASU Prep Digital offers courses designed with part-time students in mind (meaning you can take just one or two courses if you want to), covering everything from college-level math to high school English and a wide variety of language courses.

The third of our back to school prep hacks may seem like an odd one to consider, but having a strong course schedule is vital. Especially as you approach your last two years in high school. Most online schools offer this part-time option but remember that they also have registration deadlines for each semester, so make sure you don’t miss the window to amp up your Fall schedule.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #4: Find an ally in your guidance counselor.

Hold your eye-roll! The fourth of the back to school prep hacks could be the most helpful! Even if you’re still an underclassman, the earlier you start thinking about your post-high school plans the better. Schedule a meeting with your college guidance counselor to make sure you’re on track to meet your graduation requirements, and create a plan to take courses that will help you in your college admissions process.

our guidance counselor can be one of your greatest allies. Leverage their expertise to help you research colleges and build a list of schools you’d like to apply to. Knowing where you want to study will help you and your counselor create a roadmap, including which courses to take, scholarships to look into, what kind of SAT scores you should strive for, and more.


Questions about how online courses might fit into your 2018-2019 schedule? Contact the ASU Prep Digital admissions advisors, at or toll-free, at 844-692-3372.