Keeping Underclassmen Moving in Right Direction

Keeping Underclassmen Moving in Right Direction

Dr. Mark Fisher offers tips to help high school freshmen and sophomores stay on course with college plans.

Some students just want to be in the school building, and some are content staying at home and viewing class via the computer screen. Zooming is not for everyone’s taste and there are students who detest that type of learning. When thinking about your future colleges, take your preferred type of learning into consideration when you research colleges.

Some of the higher education institutions have already declared that they are test optional for the class of 2022 and beyond. It is no different than the business world reviewing their future possibilities. Nevertheless, students need to address several elements during the second semester. If you don’t submit your scores when applying to a college that is test-optional, your performance in and out of the classroom becomes much more important.

Become Involved
Explore extra-curricular activities and join those you like. It is much harder now to explore activities because of the virus. However, explore what is possible. You are just beginning your activity in high school. Another possibility is to become involved in a community endeavor. Think about community or synagogue youth groups. Remember, colleges are not looking at the quantity of your engagement, but the quality of your participation. The important factor is your accomplishments in those activities. Do you or will you have a leadership position? Colleges desire leaders. You can be a leader in community activities as well. Plus, try to chair a committee or have a board position.

Course Selection
Reviewing your courses, how are your grades this year? With your counselor, and perhaps teachers, arrange your courses for next year. Remember, college admissions personnel are looking for rigor in your courses. Examples include AP, IB, Honors or Accelerated courses. Of course, if your high school does not offer any of the above examples, you should not be penalized. However, use your best judgment in what you can handle academically. If needed, obtain assistance in any subject with which you’re struggling. Go to your teacher for help. Some students may need a tutor. Whatever you do, take care to obtain the best grade possible.

Standardized Testing
Hopefully, you have taken a PSAT examination at your school. Otherwise, seek a mock PSAT test. Absolutely, analyze your score report. Your results are not a piece of paper to hide in a drawer. Take a practice SAT and/or ACT. Carefully review the results. Do you prefer one test over the other? In your junior year, you should be registering for the SAT and/or ACT exams.

College Fairs
Attend college fairs and/or virtual college fairs. Colleges are continually updating their websites. Jot down pros and cons of the colleges you visited or watched. Some tours are informative, and you get a decent view of the school.

For those colleges that interest you, review their websites. What do you like about the college? How could that school meet your interests and values? Using the Hillel International website, how could that school meet your Jewish expectations?

University Visits
If possible, visit colleges of different sizes. That includes at least one exceptionally large university, one large university, one medium size and one small college.

Dr. Mark Fisher

Admission Requirements
Check out the website of a few “dream” colleges you are considering and study their admission requirements. Are you in line with their prerequisites or with a particular major?

Summer Plans
Plan for a summer activity, such as volunteering, academics or a job. Perhaps, summer camp. Hopefully, camps will reopen.

Dr. Mark Fisher is a college and career consultant at Fisher Educational Consultants,, and a consultant for the College Planning Institute,

read more: