What Can We Do to Prepare High School Students for College Admissions in a Time of Uncertainty?
-Dr. Karyn Koven, Founder, LanguageBird
Recent, rapid changes to the college admissions landscape, Covid-19, quick unanticipated moves online, altered schedules, uncertainty about summer plans and the school year to come have many parents and students asking, “How does a high school resume survive Covid-19? What can we do and how should we prepare for college admissions in a time of uncertainty?” Do we take online courses this summer, do online tutoring to catch up or get ahead, spend time volunteering, spend more time in nature? It’s hard to know what the best plan is and even if it’s possible to plan.
There is no sure path and no telling exactly what will be to come. Most of these questions are just too far ahead to even predict, but we still can do some things to prepare students for college admissions, maintain a positive outlook and prepare for a bright future in work and as world citizens.
After two decades of working with high school students helping them get into top colleges, I have five tips for how to create and maintain your best high school resume to be ready for college or whatever may come in the future.
1. Keep Your Grades up and Finish Your High School Year Strong! Your Gpa Is Always Most Important for College Admissions
Grades are the biggest indicator of how academically successful you will be in college. Colleges look at your grades as marks you earned over time. Most semesters have 15-20 weeks of class in order to go up and down, make a comeback, or show steady progress. This semester or trimester in which you get a grade is more than just a few hours one weekend morning you spend on a test. This really shows colleges, grit, the ability to stick with something and be consistent or improve over time.
Many students work so hard for A’s. You may be disappointed if your school grades are going to be turned to pass/fail this semester. You worked so hard to get high grades to boost that GPA! I can tell you that the good news is, if you take online language courses for high school credit to make up a course or to get ahead, your LanguageBird course transcript will be issued and your grades will be counted in your GPA for college admissions.
2. Do Something With Your Time to Show Your Interests and Passions
Colleges are going to ask what you did during school closures and many summer programs and plans have been canceled. Adults use the word “passion” a lot – I just did! Many students and parents think, “I’m not sure if I have passion. I mean, I’m 16! I’m still trying to figure out what I like.” That’s fine! It’s perfect in fact. You need to try things to figure out what your passions and interests may be. So, get involved and try new things.
Extracurricular activities and leadership positions at school may have temporarily halted due to Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and use your time wisely. Form your own LanguageBird Chirp Room Chat with a group of friends, take some conversational lessons, enroll in one of our online language courses for high school credit to get ahead, or try a language you’ve always wanted to study. Summer trip abroad canceled? Get immersed in the language and culture from home with our native-speaking instructors and be ready for your next trip! Get creative and spend some of your time doing meaningful activities.
3. If You Have Prepared for the SAT or ACT, Take It When It Is Offered
You can decide later to submit the scores or not. If you do well, it will be an extra “star” on your application. There’s no sense in not taking it if you are already prepared. If you have ever thought about taking an SAT Subject Test, it’s a great way to show your expertise in a particular academic subject. These tests are offered in many languages and it’s a great way to show your skill level to colleges. Unlike AP exams, SAT Subject Tests are only one hour long and are multiple-choice. Check out some practice tests on the College Board website and see if you think you can do well with a little study and online language tutoring. LanguageBird helps prepare students for SAT Subject Tests as well as AP exams should you choose to go that route.
Overall, if you are a good test-taker or if you think you can study and do well on these exams, you should take them. Often times, if you are not happy with the scores you can also elect to not send them to colleges. It is good to use this time to figure out your testing plan.
4. Be in Contact With Your School Counselor and Teachers
They will write your letters of recommendation and that can be a big piece of your college application. Colleges know some teachers and counselors really have seen your character and work ethic. They want to have multiple perspectives about what kind of student you are.
Tip: Prepare a folder for your teacher/counselor who will write your letter of recommendation. Include your resume which lists your activities in and outside of school, your transcript (if they don’t have it), and your personal statement/college essays. This way, they will have some information at their fingertips to help them write their letters. Also, don’t forget to write them a thank you note for writing your letters.
5. Get Informed About How to Prepare for Fall Semester
And prepare to go back to a school that perhaps will be a little different. If your school is already planning an online program for the fall, you may want to consider taking select courses outside of your school. Many students enjoy the one to one conversational aspect of LanguageBird courses in comparison to large class sizes at school. With our online language courses for high school credit you can complete a full year of study in half the time or less than a traditional high school year. This is a great advantage and leaves you more time to do other things you love. Taking a class like a world language outside of school can leave more room in your schedule for AP or honors courses, study time, or time for completing college applications.
I created LanguageBird with the intention of helping students by providing language options as well as the best online language instruction available. I wanted to make it possible for all students to have a choice of languages to study so they feel agency in choosing a language they are interested in. I also wanted to connect them to the most passionate teachers who are native speakers so they can experience the language and the culture. I truly believe that a human connection goes a long way in creating relevance and also preparing students to be confident speakers who are knowledgeable of the language and the culture they are studying.
During this unusual time in history, most importantly, remember to stay healthy mentally and physically and use your time well.
Let LanguageBird help build your high school resume for college admissions, keep you active, learning, academically prepared, and leading!
Reach out with any questions!