Time to Get to Work
9th grade was all about building your foundations. By now you should have gotten into the groove of things. The habits you formed in 9th grade, now keeps you going. Your study spot is your new home. Don't stop now! You have a few more years till college.
This year you'll be updating your resume with all the activities you participated in during the summer. By now, you should be in multiple extracurricular activities that are related to your interests. You should also have a professional email that you use for all official business. Lastly, now you have the habit of doing your work before engaging in recreational activities.
Picking Colleges and Tours
You haven't picked colleges yet? This year you should start researching where you want to pursue your degree.
Picking the Best Institution
One of the most important decisions in your college career is choosing the best college for you. Although you won't be going for another 2 years, finding one sooner will give you time to tour the institution, and get familiar with their options.
Picking the right one
Check to see if the degree you're seeking, is offered at the college of your choice and is your program ranked or has any accolades.
Research if the campus' atmosphere/environment promotes student success and if it meets your security criteria.
Will you be staying on or off-campus, and if off-campus will keeping a meal plan be cost-effective/beneficial?
If you own a car: Check to see which are the best times to avoid traffic and directions on getting to campus.
If you don't own a car: Research the local transportation and see if its dependable and fast.
Opportunities available (Clubs, organizations etc.)
What organizations or clubs does your desired institution have? Are there internship opportunities and can you get a job after graduating?
Average Class Sizes
What is the average class size at the institution you wish to attend? How available are professors to students outside of class (office hours), as well as does your institution offer tutoring on campus?
Where is your dream college located, is it in an urban environment/populated city or in the outskirts/rural area?
allow students to ask questions, meet other prospective students, and understand the college on a deeper level. Your opinion on a school may change for the better or the worse after touring it. College visits also help you to refine your search, making choosing one easier.
10 things about touring
You won’t really know how you feel about a place until you’ve been there. A college catalog, view book, or website can only show you so much.
The college information sessions and the campus tours will give you a much better idea of what the college is like and if you would be happy there.
A small investment in time now can save significant time, money, and hassles during the college application period.
You’ll get a sense of the college’s vibrancy, character, and facilities. Visits will provide you with a more complete picture.
College tours allow students to ask questions, meet other prospective students, and understand the college on a deeper level.
How you feel about schools once you visit in person may affect the direction your college search and application process takes. College visits help you to refine your search.
Applying to college is a complex process and visits to campuses will serve you best if you use them as a research tool, rather than a final decision-making aid.
Time, energy and money are finite resources and you want to use them wisely throughout the application process. First-hand knowledge will help you to clarify your vision and narrow your list.
Most colleges love students who are sincerely interested. Visiting colleges is one way to show this.
You want to be able to relax and make a fully informed choice once you have been accepted.
THE 4 T's To Success
The SAT, ACT, PSAT, and the PERT are the 4 four most important tests you will take for college.
The key to testing is to take the SAT/ACT multiple times, preferably in your 9th-grade year. This will provide you will an accurate baseline on where you stand in your knowledge.
Once you get your results back, you can work on tutoring in your weak areas. Using online resources such as Khan Academy, Don't Memorise, and No Red Ink can help fill in the knowledge gaps you have.
After taking it once, you will sit and take SAT/ACT again, to see your progress from the year before. The key to the scores is to see if you can get into the college of your choice with the required test scores in your 9th thru 11th grade high school years. When your 12th-grade year comes, you can focus on applying for scholarships.
In your 10th grade year, start practicing to take the PSAT. The college board offers full-length practice tests. This will provide you with ample information on the structure of the PSAT. To stay ahead, this should be done the summer before entering 10th grade.
PERT stands for the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test.
It’s a college placement exam used by colleges and universities in the state of Florida, to determine what level of college courses in math and English an applicant is adequately prepared for.
Incoming college students who do well on the PERT, can take regular Maths and English classes immediately. While those who don’t, will have to start with basic or remedial classes.
There are three sections on the PERT test – Math, Reading, and Writing. Each part doesn’t have a time limit, but on average takes 45 minutes, and contains 30 questions. Five questions in each section are experimental and don’t count toward the score, but test-takers won’t know which questions are experimental.
Scores on each section range from 50 to 150, and a score of over 100 is required to be able to skip lower-level classes.
The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually enough to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all your studying in. That's why it's important to develop good time management skills early on.
Finding a Mentor
Having someone to guide you through school can be powerful. They can share their experiences with you, let you in their network, and provide you with opportunities unavailable to most.
My mentor said, 'Let's go do it', not 'You go do it'.
In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care.
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.
When Selecting a Mentor
get to know them ASAP, so you can go to them with all your concerns and thoughts. A mentor can be an advocate for you, when you need someone other than your parents. Make sure you get to know your grade level counselor as well because they will be the one helping you to stay on track academically.
Common Misconceptions of Mentoring
There is a lot of misunderstanding about how mentoring works, including how to begin a relationship with a mentor. Here are some of them:
Mentoring is about me.
I need to wait for a mentor to find me.
Being mentored is more passive than active.
Everything you know about mentoring may be wrong. It’s time to start seeking out a mentor the right way. In finding a mentor, there are 10 important steps I’ve found that usually work:
Find someone you want to be like
Don’t just find someone who has a job you want or a platform that you covet. Find someone that is like you, someone with a similar set of strengths and skills you want to emulate. Otherwise, you’ll just end up frustrated. Spend some time finding the right person. In fact, have several candidates before committing to a single mentor.
Study the person
Follow their blog or social media. Get to know people who know them. If you don’t know the person well, see if they are really like their public persona projects. Make sure you understand there strengths and weaknesses. Set your expectations realistically.
Evaluate the fruit
After meeting, do you want to spend more time with this person? Did they begin the meeting by encouraging you or telling you what to do? Did she ask questions, or wait to provide answers? Did you leave the meeting feeling better about yourself? Was a connection made? If not, feel free to let the relationship go and seek out someone else, instead. You don’t have time to waste on a self-centered tyrant. If it went well, then immediately put together a follow-up plan.
Don’t check out when you feel challenged
I was recently speaking with a friend who’s mentored a number of young men over the years. He said the saddest part about what he does is that a lot of guys check out whenever he challenges them. It will happen. You’ll get to a point where your mentor will feel comfortable enough to call you out. And what you do next is crucial to your growth. Remember: this is what you signed up for. Don’t wimp out when it gets tough; this is where the really good stuff happens.
Press into relationship
Don’t wait for the mentor to initiate. Learn how to manage up. Persevere. Ask for more of your mentor without demanding it. This doesn’t bother them (at least, it shouldn’t). It honors them. It shouldn’t be a big deal to ask this person to coffee or lunch, outside of your normal meeting time. If a mentor can’t be a friend, then they're probably not a mentor. Finding ways to solidify the bond you’ve created, will only strengthen the relationship.
Commit to the process
You can’t be mentored in a summer. That’s an internship. Mentoring takes real time and real work. In order for it to be a real mentorship, you have to commit to the relationship. Come hell or high water, you’re going to make it work. Then, you will begin to understand what it means to be a student, a disciple, a protégé.
Follow up after the meeting
This is not like dating. It’s okay to appear overly ambitious. You want this person to know that you’re serious. It’s appropriate to follow up immediately, thanking your prospective mentor for their time. A good way to do this is via email or other forms of passive communication, so that you don’t appear overbearing or waste the person’s time. This is also a good time to mention that you’d like to do it again. If they reciprocate, offer to get something on the calendar. (You may need to suggest a time.) Make sure that it feels relaxed and not contrived. You’re still vetting each other at this point.
Make the “ask”
Don’t ask for the person to “be your mentor” right off the bat. That’s a big ask. Far too big for the first meeting. Rather, ask for an initial meeting — something informal, over coffee maybe. Keep it less than an hour. Come with questions that you’re prepared to ask, but let the conversation flow relationally. (Note: the formality really depends on the potential mentor’s communication style — something you should be aware of before the initial meeting.) When in doubt about when to make the ask, just go for it. (That’s what I do, and it usually works.)
Let the relationship evolve organically
We sometimes place too high of expectations on mentoring. We want to give it a name, because it gives us a sense of status and importance. But really it’s just a relationship. Mentoring is organic. It’s healthy to let it grow like any other relationship — over time and based on mutual respect and trust. Don’t force it. That will kill a potential mentoring relationship faster than anything. Give it time; it needs to grow.
Ask your mentor for feedback
Feedback can be hard, but it’s good. As your relationship with your mentor progresses, this will be the #1 way you grow. It will be a highlight for the both of you. While asking for feedback may initially feel weird, eventually it will become almost second nature. You will find yourself thirsting for those words you used to fear. Similarly, a good mentor will treat these times with great care and sensitivity.