High school can be confusing for many reasons, but at Get Smarter Prep, we want the road to success to be clear. That’s why we’ve created a Road Map to Success to help students put their best foot forward and easily navigate the college preparation process. From Middle School to the career you’ve always dreamed of, we are here to help you along the way.
Starting in Middle School, specifically seventh grade, students may be invited to be a part of Duke TIP, which is for a program for students who qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search by scoring in the top 5th percentile on grade-level state standardized tests. If you are chosen, it will give you opportunity to be recognized for your academic talent and give access to multiple resources to help students connect with contests, scholarships, and other programs.
The eighth grade is when you want to start thinking about High School placement tests. If a student has been in a private school or home schooled and going to a public school for the ninth grade, then you must take a High School placement test. Check with your school and see if they offer the test, chances are they do.
If studying simply overwhelms you and you have no idea how to tackle subject tests or need direction learning how to properly study, then study skills tutoring is a great fit for you and something to consider. Now is the perfect time to obtain the skills it takes to study efficiently and properly.
It’s time to dig into your classes and put your best foot forward. Every grade will count towards your overall Grade Point Average (GPA) and be a big part of what colleges and universities look at when considering applicants.
Freshman year is a great time to start putting together your resume. Make a note of all the different clubs, organizations, volunteer groups, and awards you receive throughout your high school career. Starting your resume as a Freshman will give you a clear view of what you’ve accomplished and save you time from trying to remember what you’ve done throughout your entire high school career.
If you are taking Pre-Calc or Calculus a good time to take the ACT/SAT is at the end of Sophomore year. Otherwise, plan key activities, take leadership roles within clubs, start thinking about visiting colleges, and make sure you are concentrating on your grades.
If taking Algebra II take the ACT/SAT anytime your Junior year. Get Smarter Prep offers multiple options for test prep including our Standard and Advanced ACT Courses, Semi-Private Tutoring, and Private Tutoring.
Do not slack on your grades. We know your Junior year is super busy, but earning good grades throughout the year is so important! By now, you should have great study habits and effective time management, therefore your grades should be steady.
If you haven’t gotten the ACT score you need for the school you want, you have a couple more opportunities to achieve your goal. Once you’ve grabbed the ACT score you’ve been studying for, start the college application process. Don’t forget to maintain your good grades, volunteer, and of course, have fun!
Sometime between your Sophomore and Senior year, you’ll want to start think about the college application process, from building a college list, to crafting your best essays, to submitting the button on your college applications. Students often find it helping to take a career/major assessment that will gauge your learning style, interests, personality, and career focus. A counselor will go over the results of your assessment and discuss possibilities and paths through your feedback and conversation – discussing careers, as well as possible majors.
Your Road Map to Success doesn’t have to stop after high school nor should it stop after high school! After you get into the college of your dreams, there are other options such as preparing for the LSAT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT or just study skills tutorials. Get Smarter Prep offers classes and private tutoring to help our students succeed through all walks of life.
Your Sophomore Year is most likely going to be awesome! You may start to think about college in the aspect that it’s not too far away and you have to start to prepare soon, but nothing really has to be done right now…right?!? Actually, now is the perfect time to start taking action steps towards college. Here are five tangible goals to achieve your sophomore year: Continue to do well in school, take as many AP classes as possible, join clubs and sports teams that interest you (don’t sign-up for everything!), develop a list of potential colleges you would like to attend, and lastly, take a practice ACT or SAT test. Let’s further break down those steps.
Step One: Continue to do well in school. This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, some high school sophomores seem to fall into a slump often pegged, “the sophomore slump”. Students find their stride as sophomores and are content with their classes, schedule, and homework levels. Some students tend to hit cruise control and coast through the year. After all, everyone knows you take the ACT/SAT next year and get “really serious” about looking at colleges as a Junior. Not true. Now is the time to focus on your grades to build the foundation you’ve already set as a freshman. Sophomores need to at least maintain, if not improve their grades to set the standard for the rest of their high school career.
Step Two: Take as many AP classes as possible. Taking AP classes is a great way to beef up your high school resume and challenge you throughout your high school career. These college-level classes are a great way to gain experience that colleges will recognize on your high school transcript. If you can maintain a good grade in these rigorous classes they are worth it. However, if you find they are bringing down your grades, which will lead to a lower grade point average, then it may not be worth your time. Know your limits and decide if it’s right for you.
Step Three: Join clubs and sports teams that interest you. Let me preface, I didn’t say sign up for every club and sports team imaginable. Only sign up for ones that you are genuinely interested in and you will enjoy. If you sign up for everything, you will get burned out, especially if you are keeping your grades up and challenging yourself with AP classes. Start an activity resume you can use in a college interview and applications process. Activities are an intricate part of athletic recruiting and fine arts opportunities. Don’t be afraid to join a club that isn’t well-known or popular. If that’s what piques your interest, go ahead and join! Colleges will find a lesser-known club perhaps more interesting than a well-known club half of the college applicants are a part of. Stay interesting!
Step Four: Develop a list of potential colleges you would like to attend. Start with local colleges, state colleges, ivy-league colleges, or just a college based on location! The point is to start looking to see which schools you may be interested in. Many factors play into deciding on a college that’s right for you, such as a college major, size of college, location of college, religious beliefs, your own ACT/SAT score and/or GPA. Create a list that is both realistic and challenging for you. Resist the urge to settle for a school that’s so-so. As a sophomore, you have time to increase your GPA, study for the ACT/SAT, take AP classes, and join clubs, but if you don’t have a list of potential colleges, what’s the point of working so diligently?
Step Five: Take a practice ACT or SAT test. Get Smarter Prep offers Free Practice Tests every Saturday morning. There is no excuse not to take a practice test. The purpose of a practice test is to offer a baseline score of where you stand with either the ACT or the SAT. Are you much stronger in the math section than the reading section? Or do you score evenly in English, Math, Reading, and Science? How do you feel about the timing piece of the test? Did you feel rushed on the ACT, but not the SAT? Are you comfortable with the score you received on the practice test or do you need tutoring? These are all questions we can give you answers to after you take a practice test. Plus, it’s always a bonus to take a practice test before the real deal to become more comfortable and acquainted with the type of questions the test makers are looking for. Sign up for a practice test today.
Is your sophomore year going to be the best year for you in high school? Of course we can’t answer that question, but we want you to be aware of the potential your sophomore year has on your college process. Now is the time to start planning for your future. Good luck!