We get asked this question quite frequently and we tell our customers “as early as possible”. Obviously there’s a conflict of interest in our answer since we’re in the high school tutoring business ourselves, so let me give a few reasons why I say this, and to elaborate a bit on the issues as well.
Joining at the beginning of the year
Joining at the beginning of each year is the ideal because most tutoring colleges start their programmes for each year start at the beginning of the year (beginning of term 4 for year 12). Joining in the middle of the year is disadvantageous because you may have missed a module or two, or several topics. While you can catch up through self study and attending our tutorial workshops, it is obviously healthier and less stressful if you started at the beginning of the year. One of the major advantages of attending a tuition college as opposed to private tutoring is you get access to a structured programme that guarantees you will cover the entire course at a pace that’s advantageous to you in internal assessments (because remember, you’re up against your peers at school competing for the same top ranks, and if you learn ahead, you’re in the best possible position to secure the higher ranks). But this advantage is lost if you join in the middle of the year, when the class is already up to the end of module 2, and you need help with module 1.
Of course, late is better than never, and we’re not saying it’s a futile exercise joining in the middle of the year. As mentioned, we offer free services like unlimited free tutorial workshops, and we can give you the notes you missed out on, allowing you to catch up. But our point is it would’ve been healthier for you (in terms of knowledge retention, depth of course understanding and exam technique – these things build up over time) if you had joined at the beginning of the programme.
Switching tuition last minute
If you’re already attending a tuition college, you’re well advised to stay in that programme until its conclusion (unless it’s actually not helpful at all). Switching to another tuition provider after the middle of the year or near the end can do you more harm than good – and we’re saying this even though this may reduce our customer base (since many of our students come to us after being unhappy with other tuition companies). We tell these students “unless the place you currently go to is terribly bad, you should stay because if you switch now, you may have not covered some topics we’ve already covered, and vice versa”.
Again, I refer back to the point that HSC tutoring centres offer a structured programme designed to be comprehensive, and if you switch near the end of the year, this could be harmful because the order of topics covered at one place will differ significantly to the order of topics chosen by another place. That’s why we urge you to act sooner rather than later – if you feel the place you currently attend is not helpful at all, switch early rather than later.
Get the information you need before enrolling
It’s important to ask the questions that matter – find out where the classes are up to at the place you’re considering. Obviously if the class is covering topics not relevant to your school assessments, it’s of little value to you. Most of our subjects have parallel classes, some of which are deliberately a module or several topics behind because the students in those classes joined us later in the school year. Those classes will still cover content ahead of school pace, but you will be able to cover topics that should be covered early in the year.
Another thing to check out before enrolling is what sort of revision the classes will be doing, or whether there’s any revision scheduled at all. Revision is essential before assessment periods – the content covered over the months in the HSC year become a staggering amount and students need a few weeks worth of classes dedicated to consolidating knowledge – putting it all together and practice doing exam papers. Our programmes are scheduled in such a way as to allow a healthy amount of revision weeks before each key assessment period. During these periods, students focus on exam-style questions (as opposed to textbook style questions – a very important distinction!) and covering up any gaps they identify by doing exam papers. The earlier you start doing past papers, the better you will do in all your exams – that’s a fact!
If you want to apply for scholarships, go into Medical studies or get a highly sought-after part time job after leaving school; it is always a good idea to get some extracurricular activities under your belt during schooldays. On the downside though, good extracurricular activities often take a large amount of time, and might distract you from your studies. Therefore, it is important to practice time management.
In this article, we’ll take a brief look at what extracurricular activities you can do in high school that would help you with things like scholarships, entry into Medical College or while searching for a job later on.
Worthwhile Extracurricular Activities in High Schoolextracurricular-activities
As a high school student, the best activity to be involved in for most people is to get into some sort of sporting activities. Sports are an excellent to list on your resume, as it communicates several things to your interviewers:
The important thing here is to choose a sport that you truly enjoy. Do more than just play the sport – enter competitions, tournaments etc. This gives you more to talk about in an interview, other than merely saying “Oh I play soccer every weekend”. The point is to separate yourself from the rest – if you stand out, you will have a greater chance of success.
School related positions
High school students can also opt for school-related events or position. If you’re the School Captain, that’s an excellent portfolio. But even if you are not, try to be a School Prefect or an SRC representative. These positions convey that you possess leadership skills – a trait that is very favourably looked upon by interviewers for scholarships, entry into medicine or jobs.
Besides these, volunteer for as many things as you can at school which allows you to take responsibility for something. For example, if you’re good with computers, try to volunteer to help manage the school’s computer networks. If you have a knack for audio equipment, volunteer to help set up the audio equipment for the school hall for each event (e.g. dances, Talent Quests, general assembly’s etc).
Extremely competitive activities such as joining the Maths, Chemistry, Physics or Biology Olympiads reflects very well on your abilities in these subject areas, as well as your ability to manage your time effectively. For things like academic scholarships and jobs that require related skills, such activities are worthwhile, should there arise an opportunity.
You can also consider participating in one-off volunteering / fund-raising events, such as things like “40-hour famine” or those like “Duke of Edinburgh” awards. Keep in mind that these are often of lower significance to your resume than on-going activities, or achievements mentioned above. Only do these if you really enjoy them.
During the HSC
You should be more careful about how you spend your time in year 12th. Generally, it is a good idea to pause most of your extracurricular activities once year 12th starts (i.e. end of term 3 of year 11), since HSC is most important at this time. If you can intelligently manage time with your management skills (which is also very important), you can easily choose to continue doing all activities related to school duty.