ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled
Saved to My Favorites. View My Favorites
Articles / Applying to College / Check These Student Resolutions for 2021

Check These Student Resolutions for 2021

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | Dec. 17, 2020
Check These Student Resolutions for 2021

Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

Are you counting the seconds until the year 2020 is over? Many of us are. High school and college students have lived through The Year of The Yo-Yo.

Financial Resolutions

Money is a huge facet of student and daily life. Do you want to save some of your money for a trip after high school or college? Do you want to save enough to buy textbooks, pay for a few months of gas, or cover bills for the whole year?

Budgets, money tracking apps, like Mint, jars with holes and the lids glued on, shoeboxes, and envelopes are all easy ways to save your money and make it go towards something. If you don't want to save for a goal, think about looking into a high yield savings account for your new year's resolution!

Money-saving apps probably appeal more to students than do jars or shoeboxes. As I wrote in a previous post, paying for major college costs such as tuition by working a part-time job is almost impossible, but saving money for practical, everyday expenses, like those above can be done.

It takes discipline, though, if your goal is to be able to pay for textbooks, which are among some of the most outrageously overpriced items on the planet. The words of your financial resolution might go something like this: "I resolve to stockpile enough cash to pay for my own daily 'lifestyle' needs, so that I won't have to depend on my parents generosity or credit cards." That's a solid resolution well worth making!


This might be my new year's resolution this year! Cleaning can either be a broad category or a specific thing. For example, you can say "I'll work on decluttering my living space this year" or "I'll put my dishes right into the dishwasher instead of setting them down in the sink." Decluttering can also be as much or as little as you want if you go that route — 5 items in a room or 5 items a day, for example.

Ouch! I'm not currently a student but this resolution hits home. I just looked behind my computer and saw a jungle of dust balls and wires that would make my cable guy cringe. Of all the different types of cleaning, maybe the most important kind right now is keeping surfaces clean — desktops, furniture knobs, door handles, etc.

With COVID-19 raging across the land, it's important to keep those items as clean as possible to avoid possible contamination. I like the incremental process suggested above. Remember, Rome wasn't cleaned in a day, so to speak. Take a look around your living spaces. Maybe what you see will make you want to move to Rome! I try to look at cleaning this way: A little dusting every day keeps the allergies away. Create your own cleaning poem or feel free to use mine!


I don't mean going to Goodwill to shop (although that can be a fun idea)! You can make goodwill your new year's resolution and volunteer, donate, or do some other act of kindness every month, every week, or again as many times or as few times as you see fit. This can be sending someone a text to thank them or tell them hello!

This is my favorite resolution of Mary's 10. Unless you've been orbiting Mars the past year, you can't have missed all the negativity and ill feelings that the political world has inspired among our society, maybe even among your friends and family. Pile all of that on top of the stress created by the pandemic and you have a very unsavory, short-tempered world.

The antidote, at least for me, is Mary's word "goodwill." Resolve to give of yourself to those less fortunate. Tutoring someone in a subject you're good at will make your life richer. Even such a simple thing as showing your appreciation for what someone has done for you will make your (and their) world a bit brighter. Your resolution should focus on turning your energies less inward toward yourself and more outward toward others. If so, you'll begin to see the flip sides of stress and negativity.


Relationships are also a huge thing to do for a New Year's Resolution. If you can think of a relationship that you want to strengthen, disconnect from, or begin (whether it's romantic or not), you can form a resolution around it!

Let's say you've gone off to college and you've lost touch with a best friend or a family member, and you really miss talking to them. Decide how often you want to start talking with them again, make a commitment to yourself by setting phone reminders or marking it on a calendar, and reach out to let them know of your resolution!

I might even suggest using Post-It note reminders on the bathroom mirror, your desk, or your fridge if you need some visual reminders to help with this resolution. Who knows, whoever is on the other end of the relationship might want to make the same one, or similarly mark the dates and times on their end so you can strengthen the relationship!

This resolution is a complement to "Goodwill." You may have had a falling out with someone — a friend, classmate, teacher, counselor or even a family member — and your thoughts about that are haunting you. If so, it's probably time to repair that relationship. I've found that having ill feelings toward someone bothers not only me but also the person with whom I'm upset. It's an awkward, uncomfortable situation.

I try to keep my relationships on an even keel. Think about the people in your life. If any of those relationships need repairing or reaffirming, resolve to act on that in 2021. Be thoughtful and kind. Once those situations have been resolved, you'll feel much better. With the uncertainties that lie ahead in the coming year, you'll want to have a positive mindset to deal with them. This is one way to accomplish that.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

More on Applying to College

See all
typing at computer- karolina-grabowska-6958506-resized

Authentic Voice in College Essays

That’s why you want to use your authentic voice when writing any college essay.

So what’s the problem? A student has shared an ess…


College Interview Prep Tips: Brainstorm, Research, Analyze, Generalize

I recently visited Washington University in Saint Louis and was lucky enough to set up an interview. By speaking with peers of mi…

campus gates

Academic Index Scores: Why They Matter and How They're Calculated

Note: Click here for 10 Summer Programs You Can Still Apply For or keep reading to learn more about academic index scores.

8 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

7 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

Podcasts can offer a wealth of information to busy students, particularly when it comes to the college admissions process. We…


Avoid College Application Regrets: Tips For Getting It Right the First Time

Decision Day occurs each year on May 1st and is the deadline for students to inform the college of their choice of their intent t…

Get a student loan that goes beyond tuition.

Ascent offers cosigned and non-cosigned student loans with exclusive benefits that set students up for success.

Explore Now!
Find Your Scholarship

Want to find money for school that doesn’t need to be paid back? Access insights and advice on how to search and apply for scholarships!

Search for Scholarship