Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, September 9, 2013

For freshmen and sophomores

Do you know how your school ranks and determines your academic achievement? Here are some questions you should consider:

  • How does your school calculate your grade point average, or GPA?
  • Do advanced classes carry more weight than regular classes on your GPA?
  • How does your school determine rank in class?
  • What information is on your school transcript? Ask for a copy and take it home for your parents to review.
For juniors

If you haven't heard of or taken the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) already, you soon will. A few things to remember before the test comes along:

  • Find out registration and testing dates from your counselor. Add them to your calendar.
  • Remind your parents the test is coming; they may need to help you pay the registration fee.
  • Take the test in your junior year to qualify to enter the National Merit Scholarship Corporation competition — do well!
  • Start preparing for the test. Your counselor may have practice books available.
  • Visit the College Board website (, and learn more about the PSAT and the SAT.
  • Review the sample questions in the booklet you use to register for the test. If you have questions, ask your teachers.
For seniors

Are you ready for the rest of the year? Here is a checklist of things that you should have done, or things you may need to do quickly, to stay on track for your college or career plan:

  • Meet with your counselor to chat about your career plans, college choices, testing schedules, and other preparation.
  • Share your plans with your parents and teachers.
  • If you haven't taken any college entrance exams, take them now!
  • Review college websites, brochures, and applications. Practice filling out some of the required application forms.
  • Start learning more about college life by visiting Adventures In Education ( and college websites.
  • Start talking to your parents about plans to finish high school and begin the next stage of your life.
For parents

Your student is probably well into the school year by now, so his or her challenges and frustrations may start with balancing activities and keeping up with responsibilities. Some ways to help include:

  • Offer to help them when they are struggling with their studies. Quiz them on concepts, or do quick reviews with them in the mornings over breakfast or when preparing a quick dinner.
  • Encourage students to talk to their teachers. Some students fail to ask for help!
  • Call your child's counselor and ask for a list of tutors or study groups they can join.
  • Spend a couple of hours one weekend with your student visiting with a reference librarian at your local library. They can offer suggestions on resources available for learning in your community.
  • Set up a "mini reference library" for your student and the family. Purchase a dictionary, thesaurus, and other tools that could benefit others in their learning tasks.
  • Keep a "family calendar" in the kitchen and ask your student to list activities, dates, and times as they find out about them.