Welcome to Spring of Junior Year! It is exciting to think about your future opportunities and I know you have lots of questions about post high school planning.  Rest assured that we have a year of meetings and support planned for you. The spring semester is organized to provide a great deal of information and resources to all students, allowing for plenty of time for follow up throughout the next twelve months.  


    Junior STUDENT WebinarWednesday, January 13 during TutorialPlease plan to attend (link was emailed 1.12.21)

    Students MUST read your emails from this point forward as you will be receiving much information.  PARENTS: Please remind your young adult to read her/his email (thanks).

    Junior PARENT Workshops:  I will be providing Junior Parent Workshops in February.  The topic is “Insider Tips to Help You Help Your Student Navigate the College Search Maze.”  Dates/times will be forwarded in a separate email.  I then host one final Junior Parent Workshop (Q&A only) in late spring to handle any follow-up questions that arise following spring college visits/gap year fair, etc.  Counselors also co-host a Student workshop during Tutorial with a College of Marin Counselor where we review the fantastic opportunities provided via the community college (i.e., guaranteed admission to the UC system, saving $$$ thousands of dollars).  This workshop will be open to parents as well, and I will forward the date to you once it is set. 


    Review any colleges that you are interested in to determine if you need to register for  SAT  and/or  ACT

    Make sure to take the exams WITH WRITING, as that is a requirement of the UC system and many private colleges.

    If you have completed your practice exams, taking the first real exam early is ideal.  However, many colleges (including the UC system) are either test-optional or no longer require these exams.  You need to check the websites for each one to make sure that you are not taking exams unnecessarily or that you are applying to schools that require a test you haven't taken.

    Here is a link to my advice for exams.  Rationale for early testing:  Having a real score early allows you to gauge your areas of strength and challenge.  Oftentimes, you will get your score and realize that you are competitive for the schools you are considering and you will not have to re-test or do any prep (YAY!).  When in doubt about which exam you prefer, take one of each and then either use your highest score (if it meets the requirements of the colleges of interest to you) or focus on the one you feel most comfortable and competent with and prepare for a retake in late spring of junior year.  If you hate taking exams or they produce more discomfort than you care to feel right now, look at the over 800 universities that no longer require exams and choose your colleges from that list. 

    I usually encourage students to finish ALL testing by June of junior year, as that also alleviates anxiety about testing in the fall of senior year, when the focus should be on essay refinement and application completion.  With COVID, this may not be possible this year, so you will have to make adjustments as the health situation unfolds. 

    From this point forward, Junior families will be receiving a WEALTH of information via email. I will do my best to answer all of your questions in the spring workshops and via email.  If you have a long list of questions (great idea!), please set up a time to chat on the phone or zoom with me, since we cannot meet in person.

    JUNIOR YEAR COMMUNICATION:  One of the tasks of becoming a young adult is learning to communicate for yourself and develop relationships with adults.  This is the year when many relationships are taking on new meaning; junior year teachers may be writing a letter of recommendation next year.  As a student reflecting back on the last two years, I am sure you are aware of the vast sea of change you have experienced, and most likely see yourselves in a different place in terms of maturity and independence than in years past.  I want to continue to support you to become more confident in managing your communication.  It is definitely time that some of the issues of concern at school should be handed over to you, as many of you are growing in confidence in your ability to find solutions.  Your desire to be independent should be met with increased responsibility (even if it is a little scary).    

    Questions about SAT/ACT, college searches, college visits, handling difficult situations with coursework, etc., are all situations that you can take the lead on.  Having your parents there for support and guidance remains essential, but the parental role is more of a consultant and less managerial in nature.  This experience can actually be exciting and a relief for parents, as they can see the fruits of their guidance when you come home and share a success story of a problem solved on your own.

    Students, please put any questions together in a list if you want to have a phone call or zoom with me.  Discuss your list of questions with your parents and add theirs into the mix.  Parents may also bring their questions to the Junior Parent Workshops. 

    Counselors and the College & Career Specialist will be providing a wealth of opportunities to support the college application process. These workshops will be held during Tutorial and/or 7th period(please sign up in advance on Naviance). 

    Here  is a sample of the Junior Tutorial workshops being offered:

    • Determining Your Post High School or College Values 
    • College Search Assistance 
    • Financial Aid/Scholarship Preview 
    • First-Generation College Applicants
    • Common Application Essay Workshop 
    • UC Personal Insight Question Workshop
    • JC Transfer Workshop - How to Guarantee a spot in the UC system, save $ and get a solid foundation for transfer 
    • Common App Supplemental Questions & General Essay Tips for all applications 
    • In addition to the above, we will be meeting with all Juniors to assist them with opening their individual Common App 

    I look forward to seeing you all at the webinar and workshops and helping to guide you through the next 12 months with a minimum of anxiety and a maximum of excitement!

    See you soon.   Sheila Souder, Counselor

    Posted 1.12.2021 by Sheila Souder