top of page
  • Jill Madenberg

Back-to-School Tips for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders

9th Graders

  • Give yourself permission to ease into high school.

  • Get to know your teachers and try to review your daily class notes from each academic subject a few minutes every day.

  • Sign up for as many clubs that interest you and don't worry about committing to all of them. The idea is to give yourself time to figure out what you like best. ​

10th Graders

  • Enjoy 10th grade!

  • Get to know your teachers and try to review your daily class notes from each academic subject a few minutes every day.

  • Review test materials & take PSAT only IF you are a strong student and hope to ace PSAT next year. You do NOT need to fill out all the identifying questions that the College Board asks.

  • This year, look to deepen an activity or interest you genuinely enjoy.

11th Graders

  • Take a breath. You got this. Junior year is just another year in high school.

  • Create a personalized testing plan that suits your individual calendar. For example, if you play a fall sport, consider test prep in the spring.

  • Review test materials & take PSAT (if we decided that's a good idea for you). You may not need to take this. If you decide to take it, be careful how you answer the identifying questions from the College Board (or ACT).

  • Visit colleges (preferably Likelies). Jewish holidays, Columbus, Election and Veterans Days all great times. February and Spring break fantastic too. Please make visiting campuses while in session a priority this year. Register for visits and testing through your email address that you will use for applications.

  • Think about one or two major activities where you can set yourself apart. If you are already a great student, perhaps you want to start a tutoring service. Or, if you enjoy doing community service, you could provide some free service for senior citizens regularly (like grocery shopping and delivery). It doesn't matter what you do as long as it's authentic to you. If you're thinking about studying medicine/health sciences, consider getting involved in research. If you like to take pictures, ask local stores if you can display your photos in the front of their store like a gallery.

12th Graders

  • Try to remember to enjoy this journey. You are ready!

  • Keep your grades up and commit to 5-10 hours/week for college work until it's all done.

  • Finalize college list.

  • Prepare for fall SAT or ACT.

  • Complete personal template to help you stay organized.

  • Work on applications & essays. Rolling Decision and EA applications are your priority. Not ED.

  • Review transcript for accuracy.

  • If you need to make a change to your schedule, be sure to do it BEFORE any applications get sent out. If you change your math class, for example, after you sent an application, you are then required to notify the college that you changed your schedule. No need to bring attention to that!

  • Confirm recommendation letters from teachers and counselor.

  • Meet with visiting college reps and attend college fairs to help demonstrate interest.

  • Set up interviews and send standardized testing to every school on your list (unless you are applying to Test Flexible colleges). Also, a growing list of colleges will allow you or your school to self report testing. This will save money but you need to check each school's website.

  • Work on your 150-character explanation for your activities and finalize resume too, if needed.

  • Match Naviance and Common App accounts if applicable. Here is an instructional link: Check with your school counselor if you have any questions.

  • You may also need to use the Coalition platform. U Maryland and a few other colleges are using this exclusively.

  • Determine if you will create a supplemental video for your colleges. Common App works through ZeeMee but oftentimes you can just add a url.

  • Register for a PIN at if you’ll be applying for financial aid. Filing date for FAFSA is 10/1 of Senior year.

  • Complete CSS Profile if required by colleges.

  • Clean up your Facebook page and other social networking.

  • Schedule any last/ED repeat visits to campuses.

  • Athletes: stay in touch with college coaches.

bottom of page