Friday, January 13, 2017

Spring Checklist for High School Juniors

Spring semester junior year in high school is a good time to begin more deliberate preparations for college.  Many checklists are available online from College Board, Peterson's and other sources; here are a few recommendations I would like to make from my experience as a college professor, academic advisor and independent educational consultant:
--Research possible careers, majors and colleges using tools on Naviance or other search
--Schedule a family meeting to discuss college finances, financial aid and scholarships, and an overall timeline for the college application process.
--Meet with your college counselor at school to discuss the college application process and make a preliminary list of schools.  Also make sure you and your counselor discuss your fulfilling A-G requirements for CA universities.
--Make a plan to prepare for and take standardized tests.  It’s a good idea to take the SAT/ACT twice in order to improve your score.  Many counselors recommend taking both tests once, and then repeating the test you score best on.
--Consider hiring an independent advisor, if you attend a large, public school or need extra guidance.  Ask friends for recommendations or check the online directory at Higher Education Consultants Association for a list of local consultants.
--Begin planning summer activities and employment early.  The summer after junior year is a critical time to gain experience in responsibility and autonomy as well as earn money to save for college expenses.
--Focus on a strong academic performance this semester as these are among the most important grades college admissions staff will evaluate.
--Plan to visit college campuses during school breaks or summer vacation.  Sign up for tours online ahead of time.

--Begin keeping a list or journal of possible ideas for application essays.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Summer Science Programs for High School Students

Happy New Year!  
January and February are the months for high school juniors (and sophomores) to apply to summer science and internship programs in the Bay Area and at nearby UC campuses. 
Stanford University offers a number of programs through the Office of Science Research including unpaid internships in laboratories, the Space Weather Monitor Program and the Institute of Medicine Summer Research Program
UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis feature COSMOS, or California State Summer School for Math and Science, with a host of topics or “clusters” students can explore in a four- week residential program.
You can also check out Pathways to ScienceNational Database for programs both in California and across the U.S. for paid internships.   A couple of local possibilities are the Perception Science Internship at UC Berkeley and the Arthritis Foundation Summer Science Internship at either UCSF or Stanford. 

All these programs are selective and require an application consisting of short essay responses, a transcript, standardized test scores and teacher recommendations.  Of course many universities across the country offer pre-collegiate summer school terms—which are less
selective, but also can be quite pricey.  I recommend these only for students who want to dig deeper into a particular subject at a more advanced level—not for enhancing a college application.
All in all the SF Bay Area offers plenty of opportunities for high school students to explore their interests in STEM during the summer.