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Careers Guide

How to prepare for the new academic year

Starting Sixth Form or college? Beginning your final year? Going to uni?

We know that the new academic year can always seem a little overwhelming and you may be feeling lots of different emotions right now.

So, we have put together some tips to help you feel prepared and ready to tackle another school year!

Starting the new year

Set some goals

A great way to be prepared is to think about:

What do you want to achieve this year?

Then, set some goals for yourself. Before your first day, take some time to sit down and reflect on where you would like to be by the end of the school year. From there, you can begin to think about the steps that you can take to make sure you reach the goals you want. 

When setting goals, it is important to be realistic - don’t set yourself up for failure or put too much pressure on yourself.

It is important to also think about how you are going to reach your goal.

If you want to achieve ABB in your exams at the end of the year, this won’t happen unless you also plan what you are going to do to make that happen. You may then set yourself a mini goal of completing 1 hour of independent study a day that will help you reach that main target at the end of the year. 

Goals also don’t need to all be academic - if you want to participate more in a club or sport, make more time for friends and family or take up a new hobby, these are important goals too. Sit down and have a think about what you want to achieve and this will put you in the right frame of mind for the year ahead.

Be organised 

The more organised you are before that first day, the more prepared you will feel.

Before your first day going back into college, make sure to pack your bag the night before. In fact, do this before every single school day - it is such a lifesaver!  It means you don’t need to rush around in the morning trying to gather everything together and you are less likely to forget something that you really need.

Make sure all your stationery, books and food you may need throughout the day is ready in a bag or in the fridge already prepared so you can grab it in the morning and get going. 

Be prepared

We also recommend getting a study planner for the academic year to help you be more organised. Everyone has a different way of staying organised - you may like to timeblock every hour of your day or you may like to write to-do lists and check off as you go along and complete tasks.

Whichever way works best for you, make sure you are keeping organised and staying on top of your tasks (and the goals you have set yourself!). Sometimes it helps to write everything down you need to get done so you can see it clearly and it is no longer just swimming around your head.

Get into a routine

Although it may be hard to get back into a routine for school, give yourself the best chance by starting earlier and focusing on the things you struggle with.

If you are worried about getting enough sleep, get into bed earlier than you normally would, so you have some buffer room if it takes you a while to get to sleep.

If you are worried about travelling to school, it may be a good idea to do some practice runs beforehand.

If you are planning to prepare lunch every day, make sure you are organised and have bought everything you need the night before.

Remember that it also may take you a while to get back into a routine, but you will be back into the swing of things before you know it! 

Take care of yourself and your mental health 

For a lot of us, our normal routine has been disrupted over the last year and this may be the first time in a  while that you are stepping into Sixth Form or college.. It is okay to recognise that you may have mixed feelings about this - you may feel excited, but also anxious about what it will be like and how things will operate.

Remember to be kind to yourself.

We are living in a time of big, global changes and it is perfectly normal to feel anxious, stressed out or unsure about your future. 

Take steps in order to make sure you are looking after yourself.

Talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling - it is likely that you are all feeling a similar way and it may help to share your thoughts and feelings with each other. If you are feeling particularly anxious about going back to school, reach out to your teachers and let me know if there is anything that is specifically worrying you - they may be able to help ease those worries or offer solutions to make you more comfortable.

Take the time out of your day to do things that you enjoy and practise self care. This can be in the form of a hobby or sport you enjoy or it may be something more simple like taking an hour to watch TV, read a book or scroll through instagram - whatever you most enjoy, make sure you are making the time to do these.

Remember to congratulate yourself for getting through last year!

Even though you may have mixed feelings about the new academic year, we know you are all going to do brilliantly.


If you would like to hear even more tips, head over to our Instagram and view the “Fatou’s Takeover” highlight where Fatou, a Year 13 student, takes us through some of her tips for feeling prepared for the new academic year.