First things first: high school dates and deadlines.
- 9th Grade
Your child should start studying for the PSAT, which he or she will take next year. You can find information about the PSAT and the SAT at your local library or online at www.collegeboard.com.
- 10th Grade
All students – college bound or not – should take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) in the fall. The PSAT is free and it counts for certain awards and scholarships. You can find practice tests for the PSAT and SAT at www.testprepreview.com/psat_practice.htm
This is also the year to start researching colleges and scholarships. (Your school counselor can help with both.) Pay special attention to courses required for college admission; some classes that aren’t required for high school graduation are required for admission to more selective colleges.
If your child is not planning on a four-year college, he or she should still be paying close attention to which math and science classes will help with post-secondary plans. (Someone who plans on being a pilot in the Air Force, for instance, will need plenty of math and science!)
- 11th Grade
It’s SAT time (for kids who are considering a college). These students will take the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) for the first time in the spring. Talk to teachers about the best way to prepare and find out if there are any after-school tutorials
available. You can find study guides for the end-of-the-year tests at www.usatestprep.com.
- 12th Grade
In the fall, college-bound kids should apply for scholarships, submit college applications, and take the SAT again, if needed. March is the standard deadline for scholarship applications, but financial aid goes quickly, so it’s a good idea to get your application in as soon as possible. Parents of kids going to college should file their tax returns early, because they will need them to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You can find the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
All students should be encouraged to take math and science senior year. It will improve your child’s college years, job prospects and job promotion opportunities, no matter what he or she has planned.