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Junior Year Checklist

Junior year is a turning point for many families because it marks the year when college planning activities begin to consume your free time. It helps to go into your senior year with a plan, so start now to ensure that you are not falling behind.

Spring Of Your Junior Year

Meet With Your Counselor

Make sure you will complete all the requisites for your diploma. Take full advantage of the classes offered by your high school and schedule a rigorous course load.

Check on your class rank and your current GPA. If you haven’t performed as well as you had hoped the first two years of high school, it is not too late to change that. An upward trend in grades is something colleges like to see.

Standardized Tests

During the beginning of the semester, look up testing dates and locations for the SAT and or ACT. The tests are typically offered about once a month during the school year. Signing up for both can give you an advantage because you can decide which one highlights your strengths.

College Visits

Begin to narrow down your college selection and schedule visits to your top choices for the summer. Make sure those colleges fit the most important qualifications to you – size, location, cost, majors, or any special programs that are of interest.

Letter of Recommendations

Most schools require you to submit at least one or two Letters of Recommendations (LOR) from a teacher or guidance counselor. Additional letters can be written by a manager, a club leader, coach, or anyone you have formed a close relationship with recently. Begin to gather the material you will give each person to help them write the best LOR possible.

SAT Subject Tests

Start to do more research about what they require for admission, such as SAT Subject Tests. There are four policies regarding Subject Tests: required, recommended, considered, and alternative. If it is financially feasible for you to take the SAT Subject Tests, and schools on your list either require or recommend it, you can sign up and prepare for them in the spring and summer.

A small number of colleges have the policy that Subject Tests can act as an alternative to standardized testing; they allow an applicant to submit Subject Test scores in lieu of ACT and SAT scores.

FAFSA

Once you narrow down your college list, go to their websites to find out how much it costs per year to go there. Get to know the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even though you can’t fill out the FAFSA until October 1 of your senior year, you can start to gather the necessary materials.

The Summer After Your Junior Year

The summer should be your time to get a headstart on your application process. Check out the Common Application to see their selection of essays and begin working on them as soon as possible.

Resume and LinkedIn

The Common Application has a limited character count for extracurricular descriptions, therefore, your resume can be used to expand on your accomplishments.

Your LinkedIn profile should be your online portfolio that adds another dimension to your application. You want to include videos, pictures, research papers, and anything else that can help to humanize you to the admissions staff.

The second semester of your junior year is an essential time for preparing for college. By starting early, you can put together a stronger application that might help you get into your dream college.

About the author:
Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of MoonPrep.com. Moon Prep provides one-on-one counseling services catered to university admissions. They guide students through the entire application process including: completing applications, personal statements, supplemental essays, student resumes, scholarships, and financial aid. Their specialty lies in the Ivy League, direct medical programs (BS/MD), and highly competitive universities.

How To Get Accepted Into A BS/MD Program

Getting accepted into a medical program isn’t easy. In 2017-2018, the average acceptance rate hovered around just 7 percent. For the uber-competitive programs, the acceptance rate drops to below 3 percent. Because of this, many students decide instead to compete for a coveted spot in a direct medical program, also referred to as BS/MD.

A spot in this program guarantees the undergrad admission to medical school after completing program-specific criteria. High school seniors fill out just the one application that will essentially lock them into a career in medicine. While this can be a daunting commitment at such a young age, there are perks such as a shorter time at a university (some programs are only six or seven years instead of the typical eight) and greater flexibility over their course selection. However, many of these programs admit less than 20 students per year. To stand out, there are a few tips that students should follow.

Don’t Try to Do Everything

Most students applying for these types of programs will all have similar levels of grades, AP courses taken, and ACT/SAT scores. It can be incredibly challenging to stand out so students should develop a deep interest that they spend time and energy cultivating. By focusing on something related to the science or medical field, it can show that they can devote time and energy to a single task and do it well, which is more impressive than doing many activities at a mediocre level.

A memorable interest showcased on your resume helps bring your application to the top of the pile. You can achieve this through a shadowing position, volunteering, research work, or any other extracurricular activity where a deep interest is portrayed.

Concentrate on Science

Your academic transcript will be one of the first things looked at by the admission officers. GPA, rigor of courses, course selection, class rank, and standardized testing scores are all carefully scrutinized. Therefore, students should create a resume that will attract the notice of the BS/MD admissions office.

Students can do that by:
● Avoid taking too many AP courses; instead of enrolling in every AP course offered, take fewer classes and concentrate ones that are science-focused. By taking less AP courses, you can devote more time to extracurricular activities, which are another important factor in acceptance
● Not taking “easy” AP courses to bump up their GPA
● Focusing their coursework around science-based classes, in particular by taking advanced AP courses in science-related fields.

Spend Time Crafting a Stellar Personal Statement

The application essay is your chance to come alive and help establish you as a real person outside of the numbers. A direct medical program is a massive commitment; therefore the student must convey their conviction to this career path.

To write a persuasive essay, a student should:
● Tell a story with a purpose and emotion, that ultimately will bring the narrative back to you. By telling a memorable story, the admissions officers will be able to recall yours more easily.
● Refrain from repeating extracurricular activities that can easily be found in the application. The essay is your one chance to showcase your personality.
● Do not procrastinate. It will most likely take you longer than you think to write a compelling essay
● Answer the question “Why Medicine?” Use your essay to convey your maturity and powerful intent to study medicine by showing how your activities have prepared you for this program.

With thousands of students applying for these intense programs, make sure every aspect of your application, from the essay to your academics, to your activities revolve around medicine and science. Show you are prepared and have put serious consideration into your selected career path to make sure you stand out from the other applications and beat the odds.

Attack the SAT: What to do when your score plateaus By Allyson Evans

You’ve been studying for weeks and you’ve taken multiple practice SATs. You saw improvement on your first couple of practice tests and were feeling great! Then, you scored your most recent practice SAT and your score stayed the same (or even went down a little). What a bummer.

 

The good news is that you are not alone! At some point, almost all students see their SAT score plateau or even dip a little. So, take a deep breath, know that you’re not alone, and read the tips below to ensure your score starts going up again!  

Don’t give up.

You’re going to have ups and downs when you’re studying for the SAT. It’s inevitable. Some days, everything will just click and you’ll get more points than ever! Then, the very next day, you might miss ten questions in a row. That’s totally normal. The thing that’s going to get you ahead of the competition is your perseverance.

 

Take a day or two off to rest, and then get right back to your SAT study schedule. Follow your One Month SAT Study Plan to make sure you are covering all the topics you need to and in the right order.  While you might be tempted to deviate from the plan, now more than ever you need to stay on track. This SAT study plan was designed to help you learn everything you need to in time for the actual SAT when your score really matters.

 

Also, remember to keep your personal motivation in mind. For most students, that’s thinking about their dream colleges and the scores needed to get into those schools. If you’re not sure yet what your dream school is, check out the average NYU test scores or Georgia Tech scores to give you a sense of what some top schools want. Start by reviewing NYU Scores: What You Need to Get In and Georgia Tech SAT Scores, and then start thinking about the school that would be best for you!

 

Now that you’re back on track and holding your head up high, let’s look at a couple of specific steps you need to take to ensure your next practice SAT score is higher.

Analyze your SAT practice test results.

To keep making progress, you need to know exactly what’s working and what’s not working for you. The best way to determine what’s working is to set aside a few hours and review your most recent practice test or two. Go through all of the answers—right and wrong—to make sure you understand what you did for each question. Even for the questions you got right, you need to comprehend your approach so you can do it again next time.

 

For the questions you got wrong, take the time to understand why you got the questions wrong. Did you miss all the Algebra questions? Or did you miss the meaning of vocab questions? By noticing these patterns, you can start to see what you should focus on for the remainder of your study time. You don’t want to keep trying the same approach—now is the time to really hone in on your weaknesses and strengthen them! Find a solid SAT ebook, like the  Complete SAT Study Guide, and be sure you’ve reviewed all the best strategies and tactics for your weaker areas.

 

Also, if the pattern you’ve noticed is that you’re always short on time, the next tip will be crucial to raising your SAT score.

Pick up the pace.

To keep seeing your SAT score increase, you have to work through most, if not all, of the questions efficiently. It doesn’t matter how many times you can get a data interpretation question right if you have thirty minutes. You have to learn how to solve each question in the allotted time you are given. If your score has plateaued, you need to do some timed practice.

 

Set up your timer and try one section at a time in the allotted time. If you’re really struggling to get through all of the questions, keep an eye on the timer to help you remember how much time you have left. (Once you develop a good sense of the time you have for each question, you won’t need to look as often.) Remember to move on when you get really stuck on a problem, you don’t want to miss an easier question down the line because you got tripped up early on in the section. With a little timed practice, you’ll start to notice your efficiency increase and, no surprise, your SAT score, too!

Recap

When your SAT score plateaus, it can definitely be discouraging. Keep your chin up and stick to your study schedule. Once you’ve analyzed your strengths and weaknesses, spend a little time increasing your speed. If you do all of these things, your SAT score will start climbing back up in no time!

 

 


About the Author:

 

Allyson Evans earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her JD from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been teaching and tutoring the LSAT since 2007, and loves helping students achieve their goals. She currently practices law in Austin, Texas. When she’s not helping students conquer the LSAT, she enjoys traveling and camping.

 

 

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