March is a busy time for high school juniors and their families. Here are our March college readiness tips.
Testing: Help students develop their spring 2015 testing schedules. This is the last year for the SAT as we know it, so juniors have two good choices between the SAT and ACT. Please have juniors take SAT subject tests this May or June for content classes they are taking now as knowledge slips away during the summer. Low-income students can take each SAT or ACT test twice with fee waivers. Also please have students store their passwords as they often forget them next year when they need to send scores out. Now is the perfect time to continue or start a test prep class. Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com, offers good beginning classes. There are also free test prep programs online, such as https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat.
College Visits: Tell students to visit colleges during spring vacation and other school days off because colleges are still in session. Avoid weekends unless colleges have special weekend programs. Book tours, information sessions, class visits, overnights, interviews, and visits with current students. NACAC and other college fairs take place around the country this spring. Read our Huffington Post blog: Spring Into Powerful College Visits.
Schools Questionnaires: Many schools have juniors and their parents complete questionnaires. Take these seriously. Never tell negative information about yourself or your child. Spin it into something positive. (That is unless you have a serious issue that you need to explain. If so, talk about who you are now that you have worked through this issue).
Make Social Media Sites Private: Make sure kids make their FB, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites private. The sites should show no information to anyone who is not a friend because colleges and high school college counselors will occasionally check students' social media presence. Also change your social media names; I recommend taking away the last name and just using first and middle names.
Take On Leadership Roles: Please make sure students take on leadership roles in their activities. Colleges are looking for kids who take initiative and who are leaders. Look for ways to expand current organizations and lead them in new and creative ways.
Plan Powerful Summers: Remember colleges expect students to be as busy and engaged as possible. Use summers for taking college classes, working, volunteering, doing an internship, and/or studying for the SAT/ACT. Ask your counselor for ideas. For example, Questbridge's College Prep Summer Application for top under-represented students is due March 25. http://www.questbridge.org/for-students/summer-programs.
Develop Strong Senior Year Schedules: Many schools have kids pick classes for senior year during March. Make sure kids do not give up core content areas. Kids need a full senior year schedule that is as hard and challenging as possible. If students give up a foreign language or math-remember that they have to take college placement tests, and these are very hard if students miss a year. Read our Huffington Post blog: Spring Into A Powerful Senior Year Schedule.