Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, January 14, 2013

For freshmen

Here are some suggestions for getting organized for the new year:

  • Check with your teachers to find out which papers you should keep in your notebook. You may be able to throw some papers away and file others at home.
  • Purchase new dividers or add new categories to your notebooks.
  • Get a file box to store your school papers.
  • Keep and file your report cards.

For sophomores

Here are a few highlights regarding important aspects of your PSAT results:

  • Your PSAT results are reported to your high school, but they are not sent to any colleges.
  • The critical thinking, math, and writing skills scores can range from 20-80.
  • The Selection Index score, which is the sum of your critical thinking, math, and writing skills scores, can range from 60 to 240.
  • File your test results.

For juniors

Here are a few suggestions for making the most of your PSAT experience:

  • Consult your score report in the section titled "Overview of PSAT/NMSQT Answers," to locate which question numbers you either omitted or missed. Identify the section or sections and types of questions that gave you the most problems.
  • Using your test booklet, work through those questions. By doing so, you can determine whether you made careless errors or if the question covered material that was unfamiliar to you.
  • For questions that covered unfamiliar material, consult your teachers.
  • Make a list of the vocabulary words that you encountered for the first time. Define these words and review them before you take the SAT later this year.
  • Review the math concepts you found difficult.

For seniors

Here are a few hints about college interviews:

  • Dress in clean, pressed casual clothes. Avoid jeans. There is no need to wear a suit.
  • Be prepared. Take a transcript and resume with you.
  • This is the opportunity to share information that was not covered in your application.
  • Be yourself. Don't try to be what you "think" the college wants.
  • Follow up the interview with a thank you note.

To do this month:

  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (at, which you want to do as soon as possible.

For parents

Here are several suggestions regarding the return of your sophomore or junior's PSAT results:

  • Sit down with your teenager and review the results.
  • File these results with other important school documents that you keep for your children.
  • Encourage your teen to use the returned test booklet to work through the questions that were omitted or answered incorrectly.
  • Be aware that for a student to be considered in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation Program, the PSAT must be taken in the junior year.
  • If your teen is upset about her or his test results and concerned about the scores, remind her or him that this test was taken for practice.
  • If you have a junior, stress to her or him the importance of registering now for spring ACT and SAT test dates.
  • Be informed about the tests that your high school teen will take and keep all results for future reference.

To do this month:

  • If you have a senior, complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (at, which you want to do as soon as possible.