With just a few weeks left in the school year, I am getting a lot of questions from 7th grade families asking when the high school process starts, or what they can be doing now to make progress with the high school search.
Other families tell me they think June is a wasted month and there isn’t much they can accomplish. Or, they are ready for the summer and just want to get by…
Not only has the high school process begun, it started before 7th grade (see my blog post at http://nycadmissionssolutions.com/startearly). And there is actually a LOT that can be done in the next several weeks that can go a long way towards your longer-term high school admissions plan.
So, I’d like to give a few, quick pointers for June that can give you a nice head-start on your summer high school search activities. The ones who take advantage of this precious time will absolutely benefit down the road:
- If your child has not yet done some kind of self-assessment, now is the time. This may seem like a silly exercise, but it can save you a lot of time and aggravation down the road. One simple way to do this is to have your child write down (yes, writing this is important) a list of the qualities of his/her perceived dream high school, or a list of his/her strongest likes and dislikes, both academic and otherwise. Let your mind be free, and don’t worry about specific schools for this exercise.
- Are you and your child using a calendar? If you don’t have one, find one you are comfortable with. This will be a must for the next 6-8 months (not to mention beyond), as you begin to tackle all the necessary details and requirements of the school search. It doesn’t matter if it’s paper or electronic, the point is you are both comfortable with it and will use it regularly. One simple way to start using it is to commit to some time each week, blocking it off on the calendar and protecting that time each week, for school research.
- Make note of your child’s final academic record for this year. Final grades, test scores (when you get them), and attendance are what counts, and you will have to keep these in mind when you start to look at school program selection criteria and evaluate which programs to consider.
- Have you or your child visited any schools yet? Even though most formal spring open houses are now over, it is not too late to visit 1 or 2 schools informally, whether for a sporting event, music/drama production, or just a walk or drive by. You can learn a LOT from these visits (including what you don’t like!), and doing so now can save you that much more time down the road. Oh, and keep notes on your research!
- Gather your important publications, and meet your 8th grade guidance counselor. Before school ends, you should receive the new high school publications (directory, specialized high schools handbook) from your school counselor. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to meet them and ask them any questions. You may not be able to get a formal meeting until the fall, but at the very least know who they are, and make sure they know who you are!
- Have you or your child gathered any work from your classes that you are proud of and represents the work your child is capable of? At the very least, you should have a few pieces of written work, essays, reports, etc. that you can consider using for school submissions in the fall, if you need them. Keep a file, and later you can add these materials to each school’s file (which I will discuss in subsequent blogs/videos!).
- Finally, establish your team. If you have not done this already, make sure that you have identified a few trusted (and at least relatively unbiased), informed people to guide and support you through this process – ideally with your child as the captain of the team. Remember, as the adult you are the coach, but you and your child cannot do it alone. Your guidance counselor, friends, family, and other experts are necessary to help you achieve a successful outcome. You will hear a lot of things from a lot of people – some accurate and some not – but at the end of the day, your decisions must be the right ones for YOUR family.
P.S. You will notice I did NOT mention anything yet about narrowing down your list of choices, or eliminating any schools from consideration!
Stay with us in the coming weeks and months! We welcome comments below or at Info@nycadmissionssolutions.com.
NYC Admissions Solutions offers a complimentary phone consultation and can develop an admissions plan and strategy that is right for you and your child. Contact us for details at Info@nycadmissionssolutions.com or 347-709-2258.