Category Archives: Junior Program

Junior Workshop: Requesting Teacher Recommendations

Yesterday was the latest session in the ongoing series of workshops on the college search for Northwood juniors.We focused on Asking Teachers For Recommendations. Here are the handouts and the presentation:

Items currently on junior to-do lists include…

  • recMeet with your college counselor
  • Work on your resume
  • Work on your college essay
  • Clean up your social media. Make your Twitter and Instagram private and update your Facebook settings.
  • Visit colleges over the summer.
  • Have a summer test prep plan.
  • Get a summer job.
  • Keep your “Colleges I’m Thinking About” list up-to-date.
  • Ask teachers for recommendations.

Did you miss the meeting? See your college counselor for the recommendation packet and instructions.

Before the end of next week ask for at least three recommendations and return your green slip, which lists everyone you asked, to Ms. Ransom or your college counselor. On your green slip, you must only list teachers you asked. If you didn’t ask the teachers, they won’t write the recommendation, even if you list them on the green sheet.

Remember, we want you to ask for at least three recommendations.

Session 3: Standardized Testing

testStandardized testing is the third session in Northwood’s program about the college search and application process for juniors.

During this session we diedscuss the different types of testing (SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL, AP) and when to take them.

I also introduced Khan Academy’s SAT prep program. Northwood students are able to prepare for the SAT at their own pace, at absolutely no cost. Download a real, full-length SAT practice test, watch an expert work through real SAT problems, and get even more practice using interactive exercises, which feature lots of previously-unreleased problems from real SATs grouped by topic and difficulty level. If students feel like they  need to brush up on fundamentals, they can check out the Algebra mission, which will help them master core concepts covered on the SAT.

Their homework after this sessions is…

  1. Take a full-length SAT and ACT at Northwood in March
  2. Register for the SAT or ACT this spring
  3. Get started with Khan Academy SAT Prep

Here are resources I distributed at the session:

John Spear
Director of College Guidance

Understanding your [NEW] PSAT Results

To students who took the October PSAT (and their parents):

PSATToday you will receive your PSAT score report [follow the instructions in your email you get from College Board  or log in here:]. I know the score report may be difficult to understand, so I have compiled these resources to help you interpret the results.

Currently, college counselors are focusing their attention on the senior class, helping them complete and submit their college applications (a focus I know you’ll appreciate when it’s your turn to apply to college). Later this month I will receive your paper score report, which I will distribute at a meeting. After that, the college counselors and I will begin meeting with the class of 2017 to sketch out a plan for standardized testing, compile a list of possible colleges and create a college application action plan. Until then, a 9th, 10th and 11th grader’s focus should be on getting good grades; right now, nothing matters more for your college prospects than your grades this year, including your midterm exams next week!

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Junior Year Wrap-Up From the College Guidance Office

The 2015-16 school year is coming to a close, the class of 2016 has graduated, and Northwood School class of 2017 is now ready to lead. Here’s a final (longer than usual) update from Northwood School’s college guidance office.

Best wishes on your upcoming final exams

1831247139_1362455100It’s final exam time! Work hard during this last week to prepare for your exams. Check out these suggestions for preparing for final exams.

As the end of your junior year draws near, make sure to reserve some relaxation for your summer.  While the college counselors have a lot of opportunities to keep you busy, it is vital to have some down time – some time to get away from the stress of your school obligations and have some fun.
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Session 6 – Making the Most of the College Visit

visitsTonight is the sixth in our series of workshops for juniors on the college search and application process.

We will begin by reviewing the junior year timeline for March and April:

  • The most important thing of all: get good grades!
  • Register for the May SAT.
  • Continue SAT prep using the Khan Academy site.
  • Meet 1-on-1 with your college counselor.
  • Consider summer opportunities on college campuses.
  • Log in to Family Connection and take the Junior Year College Interest Survey and the Do What You Are inventory.
  • Meet with Mrs. Walker to develop your senior schedule.
  • Begin taking a more serious look at colleges and universities.
  • Begin planning college visits. Spring break is a great time to visit colleges and universities!
  • Develop a preliminary list of colleges that interest you. Write or email to request a viewbook and additional information. Add the colleges to your “Colleges I’m Thinking About” list.
  • Have a summer plan. Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests. Most important: stay busy this summer.
  • International students: sign up and take the TOEFL

Next we will get down to the purpose of the meeting: how to make the most of the college visit. I’ll out a great resource written by William Shain, and Mr. Reed will go through a a collection of advice on the college visit.

I’ll conclude by observing what students in a recent College Admission 101 Spring Program noticed: that a lot of the college campus tour is the same, regardless of the campus. Finding what makes each college different is what’s most important. Here is a humorous look at the college tour:

Finally, here is some advice on the college application process from the recent group of Northwood seniors as they completed their college search:

Spring Break Ideas for Juniors and Sophomores

Dear Juniors and Sophomores (and your parents):

Spring break is almost here. Of course it’s important to rest and recharge our batteries during break, but for juniors and sophomores, it’s also a great time to get some work done on the college search. In addition to resting and recharging, here are two more ideas for your spring break:

campustour1. Visit some colleges and universities

Spring of the junior and sophomore years is a great time to visit colleges. For most sophomores, it’s a first serious look at a college campus, and the tour and visit can help focus a student’s attention on getting good grades. Juniors are developing a list of prospective colleges. Spring break is the perfect time to visit a few schools.

But how do you make sure you make the most of a college visit? Review this excellent resource and check out the resources about the college visit on my web site.

college fair2. Attend a college Fair

Consider attending a College Fair near you. During spring break, there are ten national college fairs taking place around the country. You might combine the college fair with a campus visit of a nearby college. Read more about making the most of your college fair visit. Continue reading

Juniors Explore Standardized Testing and Conducting a College Search

To all Northwood Juniors and Your Parents:

College SignLast night we had another session in our series of workshops about the college search and application process. We focused on two topics: standardized testing and conducting a college search online.

Here are the materials I distributed at the workshop: Continue reading