Juniors- Tidbits from Myra Ross

college boundIt’s time for me to start helping juniors think about plans for after graduation. About 90% of you will go on to either a two-year or a four-year college. The task of deciding where you will go, and what your goals are requires some thought. You will need to gather a lot of information and then make your decision by May 1 of your senior year.

The ARHS College Handbook for Juniors will be distributed on Friday, January 29. It includes a chronological list of important dates for juniors, including test dates and deadlines and evening college presentations at ARHS. It’s a good idea to transfer those dates to your personal calendar ASAP.

The junior year is about research and exploration of ideas and options. The senior year is about narrowing down and taking action. Don’t be a senior before you are one. Approach your college search with an open mind and excitement about possibilities. Investigate many different kinds of schools including some you have not heard of before. Do college searches in Naviance and through College Board Big Future; go to college websites; look through college guidebooks; read the college advertising brochures that are flooding your mailbox. Colleges work hard to create those materials and if the college looks appealing to you, it just might actually appeal to you. Avoid the temptation to look only at reach and name-brand schools. You are looking for colleges that are a good fit for you, and that you can afford to attend. . I know from experience that many students change their minds many times throughout this process and end up in a very different place from where they were when they started. It’s important to look around!

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of visiting colleges. You get much better information if you visit, and more importantly, many colleges use demonstrated interest as a criterion for admission. If the college is two hours away or closer, they will wonder why you didn’t come to visit. Start local, over February vacation. If you are a high-achieving girl, you really should check out Smith and Mount Holyoke. They are wonderful schools, with very good financial aid.

There will be a large college fair at the Big E in West Springfield on Sunday, April 3at 1:00 p.m. That’s a great place to get a lot of ideas and information.

If you have not opened your Naviance account (at connection.naviance.com/Amherst), do so ASAP. If you have not been there before, you need to register with a special code unique to you. It was e-mailed to your arps account last June and at the end of the first trimester. Likewise, a code for each of your parents/guardians was e-mailed to the e-mail address they put on their emergency contact sheet. See Mrs. Cappelli in the Guidance Office if you cannot find the e-mail. If you have registered for Naviance, but cannot remember how to log-in, she can help you with that too. It’s important to open your account and start to look around the site. You will be making a lot of use of Naviance in the next year.

Please complete your Junior Questionnaire for College Conference, which is accessible “under “About Me” on your Naviance home page. You must complete it before making your junior appointment with me. It’s a good idea to meet with me both in your junior and senior years so we can develop and tweak your plan. See Mrs. Cappelli beginning on Monday, February 1 for appointments beginning on Tuesday, February 9.

Plan your spring ACT/SAT testing schedule early. Check for athletic and music/theatre conflicts. Register for the tests you plan to take. Be sure not to miss the registration deadlines because late fees are steep!

Students on free/reduced lunch should get test fee waivers from Mrs. Cappelli. Full SAT waivers can be used until the end of the late registration period. The ACT will accept a fee waiver in the late registration period, but you will be expected to pay the late fee. ; The registration deadline for the March 5 SAT is Friday, February 5. There will also be SAT dates on May 7 and June 4. If you would like to take the ACT also or instead, you can do so on February 6 (standby registration deadline is January 29), April 9 or June 11. It is an equal, alternative test. Many students prefer it. There will be three dates for each test next fall, so you can re-take the test you like better. To register you will need to upload an appropriate photo. Look for that information in the handbook or fin it online at collegeboard.org in the SAT registration section or at actstudent.org.

It’s a good idea to prepare for standardized tests. By not preparing you are not showing colleges your best. It could be said that you are just throwing away more than $50 Or one of your two fee waivers! See the handbook section on preparing for Standardized tests for free and low-cost ideas. Spend some time with the free test-prep programs, for the SAT at khanacademy.org/sat or for either test using the “Method Test Prep” program in Naviance.

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