Get a Jump Start!
I know what you're thinking. "Wait, WHAT??" Your student is in 9th grade or 10th grade, and I'm talking about college planning.
Is it too early to worry about college? YES, it's too early to worry.
Is it too early to start THINKING about college? NO. It is exactly the right time to think about college.
Think about it this way. The transcript that will accompany all college applications begins...in freshman year. Those grades matter. The courses matter. The rigor of the schedule matters. All of it counts, from the beginning of freshman year. If your student has strong academic interests, encourage them, but also pay attention to challenging areas that might require attention or tutoring. Students should take the most rigorous AND balanced coursework that they can manage. Keep an eye out for college admission requirements if your student says something like "I don't need it to graduate, so I'm not taking it." If you have questions, call us!
I'm not sure anyone ever REALLY knows what he wants to be when he grows up. It's a long process of self-discovery, so we're certainly not trying to rush anyone. However! Freshmen and sophomores should start exploring general career goals and fields, so that they choose courses and activities that complement those goals and meet admission requirements for college programs. Work with your school counselor to map out a four year plan. Revisit it once or twice a year!
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer may be a thing of the past for your high-school student. Of course, they need to rest and refresh themselves, but they also should have a mind toward the future. There are plenty of ways to use their time in the summer to learn and grow in ways they don't during the school year.
Camps: academic, leadership, scouting, athletic, and more!
Taking a summer class
Any or all of those are ways to grow as a student, a potential college applicant, and a human being. Speaking of which.
These high school years are a critical time to learn important life habits: time management, good sleep habits, healthy eating, time for serving others, developing faith and spirituality, building healthy relationships. All of these are essential pieces of a happy, healthy adult life. We have only a few short years before these underclassmen start to look far and away at life on their own. Maintaining a balanced life doesn't happen by accident or magic! These young adult years are the time to learn these skills, which will serve our students through high school and college, and for years beyond that. Remember that building a resume isn't the goal: building successful human beings is the goal! Keep wellness on the radar.
Sophomore year -
See the above. It all still applies! There are a few additional things to think about, though.
The courses a student takes in 10th grade will determine what courses she can take in 11th and 12th grades. Look ahead and see if there are AP courses or other advanced opportunities on the horizon - and see what the pre-requisites are. Sophomore year is the time to get all of those in line!
Think consciously about those extra-curricular activities. Is your student in enough activities that are meaningful and enjoyable? Or... too many? There's no magic number, but colleges are interested in students who are both well-rounded and who have a passion for ....something! Sophomore year is a good time to evaluate the activities and time spent on each.
Life goes fast. Enjoy this time together, as this young person grows into a young adult. Be sure to prioritize time to just BE. You'll never regret a moment of that!