Starting ninth grade at Calhoun represents a big transition. Once you get the hang of high school, work on key skills like time-management and self-advocacy that will serve you well once we start the college process.
Academically, use your curriculum to explore and expand your interests. Be curious, be engaged, and be your best academic self in every class.
Get involved in the arts, sports, clubs, community service...whatever floats your boat! Find some activities where you can connect with like-minded classmates and make an impact. Colleges value students who make a positive impact on their school and their greater community
Summer can be an important time to explore passions and opportunities, so make it count! Get a job or an internship; return to your camp as a counselor; take a class on a college campus; or travel (especially if there is a service or study component). Do something that matters to you, and remember: it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to have a meaningful experience!
Challenge yourself academically and improve on your performance from last year
Stay involved: sustained participation counts for a lot! Consider opportunities to develop leadership skills through your activities, but know that colleges need leaders and participants: no need to be the head of everything you do.
Practice Taking Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT Diagnostic
Take the ACT/SAT Diagnostic Test that is administered in the spring as practice for the kind of standardized tests that you will be taking as juniors. Bring your parent or guardian to the College Counseling Office’s Q&A night on standardized testing.
Junior year is the lastfull year colleges see when they review a student’s application, so make this your best year yet. Grades and rigor always matter, but passion and intellectual curiosity do too; your Junior Workshop project can be a great vehicle for highlighting these qualities in your application next year.
Plan and Prepare for Standardized Tests
Mid-October: Take the PSAT and a Practice ACT
Pick your test by December of junior year and develop a plan to prepare for one-- not both. Do not let test preparation interfere with academic success!
Consider taking a Bespoke SAT or ACT class--held onsite at Calhoun for 16 weeks leading up to the June test dates. Financial aid is available to students who currently receive tuition assistance from Calhoun.
If you choose a different approach to test prep, plan carefully and don’t over-do it. Months and months of test prep doesn’t always lead to better scores, though it can lead to increased anxiety around testing.
Take a first SAT or ACT exam in the spring
SAT dates in March, May, and June; ACT dates in April and June
If necessary, SAT Subject Tests in May or June
Engage with the College Counseling Office
Meet in small groups during College Seminar (once every cycle during Mods 3 & 4)
January: Attend College Night for Juniors and Families
Complete junior questionnaires and parent questionnaires on Naviance
January/February: Arrange an individual meeting with your primary counselor
Late winter/early spring: Arrange a Family Meeting with your primary counselor (late winter/early spring)
After College Night, students and parents complete separate questionnaires to share interests and experiences and to help prepare for the family meeting
Discuss list of 20 to 30 recommended colleges for research
Address issues of SATs, SAT Subject Tests and ACTs
Review planned senior year schedule
Refine Your College List
Use guidebooks and college websites to learn about previously unfamiliar schools
Begin to visit college campuses--ideally over Spring Break, with more visits planned for the summer
(Late April) Attend the Manhattan Independent School College Fair
Meet one-on-one with your primary counselor to strategize regarding your personal timeline for the application process
Select Challenging, Interesting Classes and Do Your Best in Them
Your Calhoun curriculum in senior year tells a story about your intellectual interests, as does your performance in your chosen courses: Mods 1 & 2 are the last chance for students to show what they can do!
Meet with College Admissions Officers When they Come to Calhoun
85+ college representatives come to Calhoun each fall - make personal connections whenever possible!
Complete Your College Applications
Revise the draft of the Common Application you started during College Seminar
Retake the SAT or ACT, or Take SAT Subject Tests (if necessary)
Ask two teachers to write letters of recommendation
Write and edit college essays; get feedback at Appy Hour on Tuesday afternoons!
Submit applications & celebrate with a #submitselfie
Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, online application is available on October 1st)
Wait for Decision Letters to Come from Colleges (Early Action and Early Decision applicants hear back in December; Regular Decision applicants in March)
Celebrate after Receiving Offers of Admission!
Submit a Deposit to One College by May 1st (National Candidate Reply Date)
Finish Strong in Mods 3 & 4 – Don’t Let Grades Drop!
Preview the Transition to College at the Senior Send-Off in early June