The priority is success on all in-school exams and standardized tests. Time management should be directed towards grades at the border. Cramming the days before scheduled exams to learn material is rarely a good idea and can result in unnecessary stress and distraction from materials already mastered. At this late date, students should focus on reviewing what is already known.
I've previously written about the importance of creating a 6 to 8 week review schedule using a variety of printed and online materials leading up to the month of May. Please continue to explore online materials to reinforce concepts - I'm partial to
but there are other fine options. Disciplined hard work will have paid off and students should feel well prepared. I've received text, emails and phone calls this week hearing from stressed students. I've reminded everyone that they have learned materials and worked hard throughout the year.
You have heard me note the importance of being well rested, essential to both physical and emotional well-being. If you don't believe me, review what leading sleep expert Dr. Maas has to say about how sleep impacts performance. His clients include professional athletes, students and business leaders worldwide.
CONFIRM EXAM REGISTRATIONS:
Please review your College Board and ACT accounts to ensure that registration has been completed for all SAT/ACT and SATII subject tests for June. Yes, invariably some registrations are not accomplished as intended.
While I prefer that students self-manage all their registrations, I am available to handle registrations and/or login and review confirmation for your family.
There is still time to register for June subject tests. I urge all students to take two practice tests under timed conditions. I can provide guidance on whether scores are consistent with the range of scores on your short list of colleges. Ideally, proximity to AP exams is desirable for taking most subject tests.
That said, Math IIC and foreign languages can be postponed for more practice time until the fall.
In anticipation of scheduling an end-of-year conference, please revise and update your "Activities Statement/Resume/Brag Sheet" to reflect all activities both formal and informal.
Juniors- I ask for Activities Statement not later than July 1 to edit contents for the first draft of the required section of your Common Application on Activities by August 1. ( Students should begin work on the Common App core essay ASAP. I look forward to brainstorming on appropriate essay topics and helping students begin their outline and first draft!)
As I have written in an earlier newsletter:
- Who Are You? What's Your Distinct "Story"?! Extracurricular activities define and shape your high school experiences. While enjoyable, your activities can add stress from time management challenges. Your strategic plan may require refinement to more carefully select and limit the number of extracurricular activities.
- Participate in activities that truly bring you enjoyment and provide opportunities for leadership, growth and potential exploration of personal or academic interests (i.e. FIRST Robotics, DECA, Debate team, etc.) but not at the expense of your GPA and peace of mind.
Whether you're involved in sports, volunteering, the arts or working within an organization, seek ways to make an even stronger commitment to the activities you enjoy and are passionate about. Aim to explore participation in state-wide or national competitions. Although you may not place at events, participation is an important indicator of commitment to the activities you pursue. Take note of interesting experiences or people you meet that may serve as the basis for a unique essay to include in your college application or scholarship applications during your senior year.
Especially for 8th and 9th: Setting the Goals - Dream It and Own It!
Whether at home or away, summer is great time to Do-It-Yourself - DIY!!
Take hold of a project, set a goal and either working by yourself or alongside other students with a similar interest (I am pleased to match students with similar interests), do-it and own it!
NEED AN IDEA???
STEM students, let me introduce you to some opportunities to learn to code or take hold of some of the DIY projects in Popular Science magazine (2-3 of these every month). Last October I sent many of you a link to make an LED Jack-0-Latern. Food Scientists: Lots of weird new things to learn.
Business students-are you aware of the latest developments and controversies in your field? Consider volunteering for an organization /family/small business to implement a social media campaign.
Liberal arts/pre-law students-many interesting essay contests throughout the school year. Use the summer to do your research in anticipation of participating in an essay competition in a field of interest.
Artists and Musicians-Continue to create original work expanding your craft, building your portfolio and ultimately finding your unique passion. Is your social media current including videos of your performances?
Bottom line- start to explore areas you haven't yet considered or enrich an existing interest. I have an extensive list of possibilities and expect all students to do something productive and enjoyable this summer.
READ READ READ-books are only one part of reading. I'd like to see every 8th, 9th and 10th grade student develop a list of 2-3 internet periodicals, newsletters or industry bulletins that develop and increase your awareness of a potential area of interest. For example, business students can read the NYTimes Business section or Wall Street Journal. STEM students should be reading one science magazine. Need suggestions? Pre-med students are you aware of the cutting edge research in your area of interest?
10th and 11th NEXT STEPS: FINDING YOUR NICHE, Course Adjustments!
This is the time to develop or confirm your area of interest of study. I look forward to guiding you to traditional and unusual majors you may not have yet considered. We will together review how to approach a college web site to learn about the curriculum and undergraduate research opportunities taking place. For pre-med students, research is a critical component of obtaining admission to medical school.
Especially for Sophomores:
If you aren't attending a summer program, this summer is the perfect time to engage in preparation for ACT/SAT tests to be taken in the fall of your junior year.
Please discuss with me the variety of test preparation options and what might suit your learning style and family budget.
Especially for Juniors. INFORMED INTEREST
Campus Visit Debriefing - Confirming Your College Short List
Many of you have undoubtedly spent time this spring at campus visits. I look forward to helping you evaluate the campus to assess the fit academically and socially to narrow and define your list of "match", "reach" and "safety" colleges.
As we have been discussing and in reading my earlier blogs, I remind everyone again that there is a college that "fits" every student. I have emphasized the process as unfolding in three concurrent steps:
MAJOR AREA OF STUDY: Based on your areas of strength and interests, I'll help you explore potential major areas of study and
highlight majors providing an admissions advantage. Please think about many of the unique and non-traditional majors I've suggested. I can guide you to carefully review campus websites learning about undergraduate curriculum and post-graduate opportunities. There are very unique and cutting edge majors available to students in STEM, "Business" and "Creatives".
CAMPUS SETTING: While reviewing academics, also confirm the type of campus setting most attractive to you and the factors that matter most which may include: location, size, Greek life, food, availability of student support (academic and emotional counseling) diversity of student body, athletics, music program and scholarships.
These four years are important for social and emotional growth and the campus setting must feel like "home" the moment you step on campus.
Keep in mind our earlier newsletters about the types of essays you'll be writing on your Common Application. Supplemental college specific essays invariably are some variation of the "informed interest" essay asking you to elaborate and demonstrate how you decided upon majoring in "X" at a given institution. The best essays are those that demonstrate an awareness and understanding of a given major field and detail connections between the intended major with experiences you have enjoyed both within and outside of the classroom.
FINANCIAL AID and SCHOLARSHIPS
Parents: Please schedule an informative and confidential meeting to discuss your unique family financial situation.
I've worked with "traditional", "blended" and "single parent" families at all income levels. Financial aid and scholarships available exist outside the State of Florida! Florida Prepay is a wonderful program, but it is doesn't restrict your attendance to Florida.
Financial Aid is a part of our strategic approach to selecting colleges for the final short list. We'll discuss which colleges will actually bid for your student!
Especially for Seniors: Congratulations! A New Journey!
Congratulations you have survived and thrived in high school. I am thrilled that all of my students have had amazing choices and are well prepared to begin their new journey!
COURSE PLANNING: Please schedule a final appointment for some last minute pre-college academic advising in anticipation of a smooth transition. As you consider your potential major area of study, don't be in a hurry to avoid repeating a class you've already taken at the AP level. The transition year can be difficult, especially in more competitive schools. Having one or two classes that lighten your academic load can be invaluable to reducing the stress of the transition. STEM majors in particular, the required Chemistry, Physics and Calculus classes are exceedingly more difficult than the AP class you've completed in high school. You may not be ready to jump into a 200-level Chemistry class your first semester. Let's discuss tradeoffs at your senior wrap-up conference.
CAMPUS LIFE: ROOMATES, FOOD, TEXTBOOKS, TRAVEL
By now you've probably joined the Facebook page for the class of 2020 and you have an opportunity to meet other students possibly even finding a roommate in advance if this is permitted at your campus.
If you have bona fide allergies of food limitations, you can opt out of required meal plans. Your bursar bill will include a charge for student health insurance unless you complete college specific forms demonstrating you are already on another group health insurance plan.
OTS of FORMS-don't overlook any and be prompt!
Once you know which required classes you'll be taking for your anticipated major, review the textbooks at the campus online bookstore. Books can be purchased used at many online services at a fraction of the cost of a new book at your campus store. My favorite hands-down source for textbooks:
buying from individual sellers rather than larger book distributors.
FINANCING: Parents: If finances have changed, including family status, unusually high medical expenses or job loss, please contact me with assistance in filing for a "review and appeal" of your financial aid award. I also encourage students to exploring external scholarships, applications typically due December of the freshman year for Sophomore funding.
Please contact me with questions about various loans and last minute financing options. Even if you aren't on financial aid, most colleges have "Tuition Management" plans allowing you to pay the bursar bill over several months at no interest.
Travel Tips: I also encourage you to look ahead and book your hotel room for Parents Weekend. Airfare returning home from fall semester shouldn't be booked until your student has a confirmed final exam schedule. Final exam schedules are typically posted not later than mid-semester at which point it's safe to book a ticket for winter break. For students on a quarter system, don't be shocked if your student stays on campus for Thanksgiving to study. Let the student lead...