Summer Roadmap for High School Rising Sophomores & Juniors

Summer Roadmap for High School Rising Sophomores & Juniors
By Suniti Mathur, co-founder of TestRocker Inc.

The college application process is not what it used to be. These days, getting into college is about much more than just good grades and well-written essays. It takes months of extensive research, preparation and effort. Most importantly, families must start thinking about college earlier on. Given all the intricacies of applying to colleges, TestRocker’s test-prep experts always recommend that our students make the most of their summer. Your child can do this by studying for their SAT/ACT, working on college essays, or planning college visits. Here are a few other aspects of the college admissions process that rising sophomores and juniors should address during the summer:

 

The Summer after Sophomore Year

 

Address any areas of academic development
It is easy to be overcome by all of the stresses that accompany being a junior in high school. Be sure to make getting good grades your child’s top priority throughout the year. Going into junior year identify any weak academic areas and develop a plan to address them with your child.

Prepare to be a student leader
Throughout their high school career your child has probably gotten involved with a number of extra-curriculars. Now might be the right time for a lesson in prioritization. Encourage your child to get more involved in the extra-curriculars they are most passionate about. Where it makes sense they might want to consider running for a leadership position.

Prepare for the PSAT
The PSAT is administered in mid-October. Doing well on the PSAT (Junior Year) could mean that your child qualifies for a National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT serves as an indicator of the areas where your child may want to focus in order to do well on the SAT. Many counselors also look at the PSAT score to benchmark which universities might be right for your child. Finally, the PSAT is a good way to help your child realize that the college process is right around the corner.

Create a test-taking timeline
Help your child plan for the year ahead. Junior year can be quite stressful, so look at your child’s academic calendar, extra-curricular activities and any other time-consuming factors in order to decide when the SAT/ACT should be attempted in order to get best results.

Begin college research
If you have not already, start doing school research. Specifically, help your child think about what kind of college experience will allow them to grow both academically and as an individual. They should consider what criteria (e.g., size, location, cost, academic rigor) are most important to them. Don’t stop at school criteria; also have your child look into potential majors and careers in order to see which ones they are most excited about. This is information you can use with your school’s guidance counselor to develop your college shortlist during the school year. (A college shortlist is the list of colleges and universities that you plan to apply to.)
The Summer after Junior Year

Continue test-prep
By the summer of their junior year students should have taken both the PSAT and SAT or the PLAN and ACT at least once. Revisit your test-prep plan and refine it as necessary. Chances are that their final SAT/ACT attempt will be in the fall, so it is important to spend part of the summer getting prepared to avoid any testing anxiety.

Refine your list of schools
Based on the college characteristics that are most important to you and your child, continue to do research on the colleges that have made your shortlist. This research should be geared towards gathering the kind of information that will help you put together a compelling application. As you work through this list think about whether you are planning to apply during a school’s early or regular decision deadline, so that you can plan accordingly during the school year. Your child should begin to request admissions, scholarship, and financial aid information from the colleges on their list. You both should continue to attend local college fairs and visit colleges.

Begin your college applications
The summer is the perfect time for your child to start working on their college application. Have your child research the essay questions for their chosen colleges and begin to draft these essays. Summer is also a good time to start thinking about which teachers will be able to write your child the best college recommendations. Also use this extra free time to begin to work on the resume that your child plans to submit to colleges.

Still unsure of the best way to prepare for SAT/ACT this summer? Contact our test-prep expert, Michael Henry for a free personal consultation and to learn more about our exclusive summer offer for RIISE members.

 

About Suniti and TestRocker

TestRocker’s comprehensive online SAT and ACT prep program allows students to learn from Suniti Mathur, an expert SAT/ACT private tutor with more than 14 years of experience, wherever and whenever they want. Students follow a customized study plan and can track their progress as they work through the program. Parents get bi-weekly reports on their student’s progress. Each of the 2,000 questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation.

 

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