Back-to-School Tips

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Start the School Year Off Right. 

It’s back-to-school time, so let’s get a jump on things and get ahead. Starting the semester feeling organized and prepared can help you reach your academic goals. What you do now can have an effect on the rest of the year. School can be busy, stressful, and overwhelming, but thankfully, these back to school tips will leave families feeling set up for success.

Back-to-School Tip #1: Get organized with a planner.

This one may seem obvious, but many times those cool planners get purchased, but left on a bookshelf to gather dust. School only gets busier as the year progresses. Homework, tests, and extracurricular activities will all be competing for time and attention. 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.

The first week of school you should receive a class syllabi with test dates, or if you attend an online school, maybe a pace chart. Go ahead and enter test dates and project deadlines for the whole year into your planner so they won’t catch you by surprise. 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 Tip #2: Get to know your state’s graduation requirements.

You can only be as prepared as you are informed. If you’re in middle or high school, it’s time to become intimately familiar with your state’s graduation requirements. This will help you plan your course load over the next few years. Work smarter, not harder, and reverse engineer your class schedule after you’ve learned the requirements. This will make your life easier, your efforts more efficient, and your transcript stronger.

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

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

Thanks to virtual education and online K–12 schools, your academic career doesn’t have to be limited by the courses you take at your local 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.

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 Tip #4: Find an ally in your guidance counselor.

The fourth of the back to school tip 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 or Learning Success Coach 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.

ASU Prep Digital Learning Success Coaches work with students to craft college pathways, long before it’s time to apply. 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 schedule? Contact the ASU Prep Digital admissions advisors, at or toll-free, at 844-692-3372.