Your future holds here

Educational reform, corporatization of our schools, student rights.

Your future holds here

Postby thrisiakaye on Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:02 am

Be Prepared: The junior year of [url=]high school[/url] may be the most important of all

Junior year is critical to success, so let’s get going with what must be accomplish during this most important time. Some of these "things to do" may seem mundane but are necessary to get into schools and also to reduce the stress and complexity of the college selection process.
1. Make sure you are on track and are taking all the courses required by South Carolina for high school graduation.

2. Be prepared (there it is again) to work as hard as you ever have academically to achieve the best grades possible. Take courses that challenge you even if you think it is a risk. Take honors and AP classes in areas where you excel to highlight your strengths. If you are headed for a selective college, it is better to take AP classes and get B’s than to get A’s in regular classes.

3. Register and prepare and take the October PSAT (precursor to the SAT). Look at previous/sample tests and if possible use any available test preparation resources that may be available. Taking the PSAT is also part of the National Merit Scholarship Qualification Test. The NMSQT is the test that identifies National Merit Scholars. Although difficult to secure, this program provides significant rewards to help with college costs.

4. If the colleges you are considering value leadership, strive to achieve leadership in whatever areas you are passionate about. While captaincy of a varsity team, or selection to a position in student council are obvious possibilities, other activities in or out of school are just as significant. Leading a fund drive, working in a homeless shelter, forming a dance team or creating a club in an area of your interests can be just as compelling to an admissions officer.

5. In thinking about what colleges you might want to attend, ask yourself: Do I want a "big name" university with a large student body? Perhaps you might want to consider a small school where you can have small class size. Know your learning style and have some idea of what you might want to do and then select 15-20 colleges that seem to fit your initial criteria. Plan for visits, overnights and to sit in on classes at a number of these schools as your time permits.

6. Attend the college fairs that will be coming to your school. Pay particular attention to those that may be on your initial selection list. Take the view books from some of the schools to familiarize yourself with how the schools market themselves and what they consider important about their institution.

7. Organize your college search by keeping folders for the various areas that encompass the search process. This step will be a great help as you continue this process in your senior year.

8. Start to create a "brag" sheet. Akin to a jobseeker’s [url=]sample resume[/url], a brag sheet is a summary and compilation of your accomplishments to date and may include (in addition to athletic achievement and class officer positions) an outstanding writing sample, a lab science award, an art portfolio or acclaim from a theatrical performance. Use point 4 above to help build your brag sheet.

9. When you have time, visit the schools on your initial list. Get a feel for what you like and what you don’t. Talk to current students, sit in on a class, and spend an overnight at the college with current students.

10. In the spring prepare for and take the SAT (or ACT) for the first time. Although March is the first available date and most juniors take it then, you can also take it in May and June. This test is graded on a curve and you may fare better in June when fewer ambitious students are in the pool and you will have acquired additional knowledge by the end of the semester.

Again, take advantage of any available prep resources available. You’ll need to know your school’s CEEB code (high school specific) which can get from school officials or on the Web).

11. If you do not have one you will need to obtain a Social Security number so that you can indicate on your Common Application form that you are applying for financial aid. Additionally if you are a male you also must register with the Selective Service in order to complete the aid application.

12. Use the rest the year honing your college list and really putting forth your best academic effort by working up to your maximum potential.

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