While grades and curriculum from middle school are not part of the information sent to colleges, this is still a good time for students and parents to begin thinking and planning. The study habits and time management skills that students form will carry over into ninth grade so it is important to establish a strong foundation. This foundation is important for long range planning that includes high school and beyond. Students should challenge themselves in the classroom to be set up to meet the academic challenges of high school. Middle school is a time to explore potential academic interests and meaningful extracurricular activities.
Ninth grade should be a time of self-discovery and adjusting to the challenges of high school. It is important that students build the skills and study habits necessary for them to be successful academically. Since the grades students earn and the courses they take will be included on their high school transcript, students should make academics their top priority. Developing a detailed curriculum plan for high school will help students keep this academic focus. This is also a time to engage in activities both in and out of school to explore interests and passions, and to become involved in community service and volunteer work. Freshmen will participate in two assessments, one to discover their preferred learning styles and one to assess how personality types relate to potential careers.
Tenth grade is a time to continue building academic strength and for students to challenge themselves academically. Students should continue to explore their long-term interests both in and outside the classroom and review their curriculum plan. This is the year to begin preparing for and taking standardized tests. During the fall, sophomores will take the PSAT and the PLAN to help them decide which test is better suited to them, the SAT or the ACT or perhaps both. Some sophomores will be taking AP exams and others will consider SAT Subject Tests. Sophomores and their parents will participate in the Preview to College Planning program and college counselors will be assigned.
Juniors should take the strongest course schedule they can comfortably handle and work to earn the best grades possible. Students must ensure that all graduation requirements are being met, particularly exercise science, English distribution, and community service hours. This is the year for researching and identifying a comprehensive list of colleges to consider. Juniors should meet with college representatives when they visit CESJDS and attend evening programs colleges host in the local area. Students prepare for and take standardized tests beginning with the PSAT in October. Throughout the year, college counselors conduct day and evening programs for students and parents as well as individualized college conferences during the winter and spring. Junior year and the following summer are good times for families to be visiting colleges to better understand the programs, atmosphere, and fit for the student.
This is the year of the application and decision-making. Course selection and academic performance are still most important and students need to maintain their academic focus. Seniors should review their standardized test scores to see if they need to take the SAT, ACT or Subject Tests in the fall. Deadlines become very important as seniors begin the actual application process and students need to allow plenty of time to complete everything related to college. Seniors should be in frequent contact with their college counselors and seek assistance finalizing essays and applications. Due to the senior trip in the spring, continued college visits are encouraged in the fall. A personal visit to each campus in consideration will help with final decisions since students will be out of the country when acceptances are announced.