By Jeanne Neuwirth, LCSW Clinician & SADD Club Advisor for PathwaysFirst of all, take a deep breath. In through your nose for four counts, hold for two counts, out for four counts. Now tell yourself, "I'm good. I got this."
High school juniors across the country are stressing because everything they were intending to put on college applications is now canceled — no sports, no shows, no clubs, no volunteer hours, etc. So, what can you do to set yourself apart? Here are some ideas to consider:
Even if you can't visit the colleges you are interested in, many offer virtual tours, or you can go onor for tours of hundreds of campuses. This is a good time to visit the websites of all colleges you are considering and familiarize yourself with their pages, what majors they offer and what classes are necessary for each major. Research careers linked to different majors — see what work your major of choice prepares you for.
Additionally, this is a good time to reach out to college admissions officers and ask any questions you might have. These interactions also demonstrate your interest in the specific college(s), and that interest can be a factor in the admissions process. However, make sure your questions go beyond what can generally be found by simply reviewing their website. Keep a record of schools you visit virtually and any virtual Q & A you participate in; you might need it for the application.
The College Board has announced they are creating 45-minute AP exams you can take remotely. Exam content will include what high schools have taught to date, and not new material. The College Board will be providing further guidance, but for now, you canand participate in free live-streamed AP review classes.
Start brainstorming what you want to write your college essay about. Keep a journal with ideas that come up — a seed might grow into something interesting and worthwhile. However, resist the urge to write about coronavirus unless you have a unique angle that would stand out. Colleges don't want thousands of essays on the same topic. Instead, consider how this time has given you a chance to think differently about another topic.
Start thinking about which two teachers would be good choices to ask for recommendations. Whose class have you done especially well in? With whom have you developed a relationship? With the lack of activities, teacher recommendations may become even more important.
Although this is a trying time, it can also present an opportunity to college-bound juniors who use some of this time creatively. Students and parents should feel free to reach out to Pathways for support anytime. Join Pathways Google Classroom at m36hm7c for a boost of positivity and mental health tips, and for information on how to reach out to all the Pathways staff via email. We also now have the capability to do virtual sessions with students.