College Admissions Guidance

Blog posts about college admissions topics such as essays, extracurriculars,  planning, mental health, etc.

Grade specific advice

application strategy freshman year future planning junior year senior year sophomore year Mar 11, 2022
  • 9th grade parent night programs 
    • Plan carefully the international language choice; make sure it's one you will carry for 4-years; two years of one language and 2-years of another don't mean the same as spending 4-years diving deep into one language
    • Experiment with perform art options, even if you change instruments across years, or go across the arts discipline, yet the learnings from arts are foundational and looked upon favorably by colleges 
    • Join multiple clubs, get a feel of what they do, find your niche, over the years drop more clubs then add to your repertoire, take on more positions of responsibility not always focused on becoming a designated officer. Learn soft skills, diplomacy, ways to work with groups, collaboration, and with growth mindsets. 
    • Stress the importance of learning history and philosophy and the impact on the core American colleges curriculum. 
    • Focus on the quality of the courses, building on one another, and balance that with a variety. I'd bring case studies that show the impact correlating music and math.
    • The importance of extracurricular activities and external community volunteer efforts
    • I would emphasize the value of Calculus to be done by 12th grade and the impact on admissions and the correlation to a successful college career based on the same. 
    • It's OK to get a bad grade while experimenting and that's possible only in the earlier high school grades, and to get more serious about showing an upward grades progression over the following years.
  • 10th grade parent night programs 
    • Build on the learnings of 9th-grade learnings above, focus on depth and honors classes, dual enrollment benefits
    • I would downplay the impact of taking any more than 5-6 AP classes between now and 12-grade, talk merits of dual enrollments
    • jump start career planning discussions, showcase the connection of possible careers to subjects of interest that are in the 10th grade
  • 11th grade parent night programs 
    • The choice of subjects is critical here, plan such that you get all As if all goes as per the plan
    • While it is good to stretch yourself, make sure you know your boundaries well. Getting bad grades in 11th and 12th is connected with being not as responsible as a student, showing poorly to colleges. 
    • Burnout in students is common this year and be aware of the signs take the time to destress, take art programs.
    • The year to get recommendation commitments from teachers is now, plan to meet with them and have some write-ups of stories and learn from their encounters.
  • 12th grade parent night programs 
    • Senioritis is real, if you don't plan for it, it's a good chance you will be a victim of the same
    • While plan and take some hard classes, balance the load with college applications

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