Junior year, in my opinion, is the most important year for college-bound students. This is when students start researching and narrowing down which colleges they are actually going to apply to.
Junior year is the hardest academically for most students. This is also the last year that grades will be listed on your transcripts that are sent to colleges along with your applications. Therefore, it is important to stay on track with your grades, make sure you are meeting any special requirements, and remain motivated to finish strong.
Junior year students can start to finalize their college list that will consist of at least 2 reach schools, 2-3 target schools, and 1-2 safety schools based on the research they have been doing unofficially since Freshmen year.
Usually I recommend students to take their SAT/ACT beginning of Junior year which means the preparation for the same should start beginning of Sophomore year which gives them enough time for taking practice tests and work on the areas that needs more practice. It is important to create a testing plan that ensures you know not only the dates ACT/SAT test are administered but the deadlines for registration for the dates students plan to take the test and continue preparing to do your very best on these test while you are in the sophomore year.
And last but certainly not least start to think about and draft your personal statement. The Common Application also referred to as Common App, usually provides the personal statement prompt questions for the next years application cycle sometime in February but no later than April.
What is the Common App you ask? The Common Application is used for undergraduate admissions by nearly 700 colleges and universities. The Common Application is an electronic college application system that collects a wide range of information: personal data, educational data, standardized test scores, family information, academic honors, extracurricular activities, work experience, a personal essay, and criminal history.
Because of the popularity of the Common App many high schools use the common app prompts as a starting point to help our students draft their personal statements. Students often think writing a personal statement will be simple but it is probably one of the hardest essays your young scholar will write.
Getting started early allows time to create multiple drafts, to have teachers, parents, and older siblings to review and make suggestions to improve your essay and finally getting an early start will allow more time to address supplemental essay questions most colleges ask in addition to the personal statement essay, which you typically won't have access to until you are ready to apply.
I just finished the reading the book "Option B" by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and Adam Grant (Prof. in Wharton Business School).
After the sudden death of her husband, Facebook COO (and author of Lean In) Sandberg finds herself a widow and single mother. It is a brave attempt to unveil the vulnerability with such rawness and honesty.Her book isn't exactly a checklist--which I think is a good thing--but it is a way to take charge of one's own response to tragedy or difficulty.
Sandberg researches what these things are, and does her best to follow them. Turns out these types of mindsets or mental exercises are good for all of us who have gone through something as tragic or even mildly difficult. And they are good for those of us who have stood by friends who have lost loved ones or are battling enormous life adjustments. Or smaller challenges, too. Or maybe we're parents of children whose lives will inevitably involve some hardship, and we'd like to teach them to be resilient from a young age.
Some of the things I picked up from the book and will carry with me as tools to face or overcome the loss or failure, both in my own life and others:
- The "3 Ps" can stunt recovery: 1) Personalization, or the belief that we are at fault; 2) Pervasiveness, or the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; 3) Permanence, or the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. Challenging those responses and letting rational thinking return to the forefront helps.
- It's no big secret that learning from mistakes is helpful in school and at jobs. I liked the story of Kim Malone Scott at Google who brought a stuffed monkey named Whoops to team meetings. The person who had the biggest screw up got to have Whoops sit at their desk for the week.
- I loved the idea of opening yourself in a humble way to feedback. Sue Ashford's studies "show that although fishing for compliments hurts your reputation, asking for criticism signals you care about improving."
- "Believing it will all work out helps it all work out."
- Loved the last chapter of adding humor back into life after a tragic event or loss. "Humor lowers our heart rate and relaxes our muscles. Humor is a signal that a situation is safe. Laughter breaks tension by making stressful situations less threatening."
For people going through a tragedy or loss, Sheryl offers some useful phrases: “you are not alone” is better than “I cannot imagine”; “I will bring dinner” is better than “how can I help?” which puts the burden on the grieving one to come up with something to do. And as for “how are you?”: It can be a punch in the gut to someone already in pain, since the answer is probably somewhere along the spectrum of awful to unbearable. A better alternative: “how are you today?”
I strongly recommend this book. I am in complete admiration of Sheryl Sandberg and her determination to move forward in a positive way for the sake of her children, family, friends and colleagues and am thankful that she generously decided to share her nightmare with those of us who can always use a little advice of what to do when someone we love meets tragedy.
It is easy to forget the people who have helped us at different points. Parents, Teachers, Professors, Family, Bosses, Colleagues, Coworkers, Plenty to name and be thankful.
Remembering you Patti. It has been 33 years since you left us. I still remember the day and it still makes me sad.
Today is a sad day. As one of my beloved uncle whom we fondly referred to as Panchami mama ( in short for Panchapakesan) went to be with Almighty. He was suffering from Parkinson's and he left us today.