"Give teachers (who will be writing your letters of recommendation) something special to say about you."
Happy New Year, my friends!
Are you feeling rested and refreshed? Juniors (and Junior parents), I have been thinking about you. This is a milestone year. Just consider, before the end of 2016, you will have most of your college applications turned in and may even know which college you will be attending. Are you ready to jump into this next phase with both feet? Let’s go! Cannonball!
- Commit to your classes. Junior year grades matter. A lot. If you are not happy with your performance, talk to your teacher about how you can improve, form a study group, find a tutor.
- Engage. Speak up in class, let your teachers know that a topic excites your curiosity. Give teachers (who will be writing your letters of recommendation) something special to say about you. Be a thoughtful group leader.
- Stay involved. Take on a leadership position and more responsibility in your community, club, sports or job. Now is the time to make summer plans.
- Make a test plan. You have probably already taken a preliminary test and may even have taken the SAT and/or ACT. Which test are you focusing on? How are you preparing? Are you taking subject tests in the spring? Don’t wait on this.
- Focus on fit. What is important to you? Consider your interests, learning style, academic expectations, ideal community, and values when you look at colleges. Stay true to you.
- Build your college exploration list. Get online and explore. Talk to your counselor. Look deeply at college websites, application and test requirements, majors, courses, activities. Start with 10-20 schools then whittle from there.
- Talk to your parents about finances. It’s no secret that college is expensive. Learn about costs as well as financial aid, scholarships and loans.
- Road trip! Visit as many different types of college campuses as you can: large, public universities, SLACs (small liberal arts colleges), private religious-affiliated colleges. Take tours, attend info sessions, talk to college reps. Demonstrate interest. It’s important. ------------------------------------------------- What do high school seniors have to say to juniors? Read on for some excellent advice from my current students:
“Start everything early: the SAT or ACT, campus tours, scholarships, and the application itself. There's nothing more overwhelming than rushing to finish everything in a small window of time, and you don't put as much thought into your apps if you're doing them all in one night.”
"To make junior year less stressful I suggest you finish all SAT or ACT testing and begin to ask teachers for letters of recommendation."
“My best advice for juniors starting the college process is to look into colleges that offer the major you are most interested in. Go and visit colleges early, or at least look at lots of photos of the campus and surrounding area to see if you can picture yourself living there for four years.”
“It may seem like stress is pretty much unavoidable, but take a step back every now and then and think, "Is stressing out going to change anything?" Working yourself up is not going to get you into your dream college, so just submit your apps and enjoy the rest of your senior year. Everything will happen for a reason.”
About Liz Murphy College Advising Liz Murphy College Advising, based in Half Moon Bay CA, provides a relaxed, personalized approach to help students find success at a college that best fits their academic, social and financial goals. I meet one-on-one with students and offer workshops. Contact me and let's get started! lizmurphycollegeadvising.com
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Families who hire Liz Murphy to guide their student through the college admissions process are lucky to have her on their team. She is a caring, dedicated professional who listens and communicates well. Most importantly, Liz has a unique way of making each student feel special and capable. In addition, Liz’s participation in educational conferences, organizations and college tours means she has access to the most up-to-date information. She knows how to create a college list that is balanced and tailored to a student’s interests and ability. As a colleague and friend for five years, I continue to be impressed with Liz’s professionalism and knowledge about college admissions.
- Gael Casner, Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) Board of Directors