Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012 - (Page 41)

planning ahead for college Preparing for College in Middle school Perhaps you dream of going to harvard or mit, your state university, or your mom’s alma mater. While dreams are good, middle school is too soon to focus on choosing the specific college you hope to attend, as your interests and needs are likely to change before you leave high school. it is, however, a time to lay the groundwork for your success in high school, college, and beyond—that is, to solidify your academic knowledge, develop good study habits, explore interests, build social skills, and begin to define your goals for the future. Below are recommendations for making the most out of your middle school years. y take challenging courses. in addition to providing a foundation for more advanced courses in high school, taking rigorous courses in middle school will help you develop study skills that will be crucial as academic requirements become more demanding. if your school courses aren’t challenging, investigate taking classes part-time at a high school, replacing some school courses with online ones, enrolling in academic summer programs, and/or skipping a grade. y develop your writing skills. the ability to communicate in writing is critical to academic success. if your school courses don’t emphasize writing, take an online or summer writing course. Write for enjoyment in your free time. y develop your computer skills. academic success requires proficiency in word processing and other software programs, as well as the ability to find information on the internet. this might also be a good time to learn a programming language. y be sure your math background is strong. math is the foundation of much of the work you will do in science and is essential for stem careers. if you are struggling at all in math, get help; if math is your strength, be sure your coursework is taught at an appropriate level and pace for you to develop your talent. y study a foreign language. Colleges expect applicants to demonstrate competence in one or more languages besides their own. if you haven’t started to master a second language, don’t delay doing so. y Evaluate your social skills. if you have any difficulty interacting with peers or adults, work on this. don’t avoid social situations that can help you build skills in this area. a counselor or social skills class may be of help. by linda E. brody, Edd y test through a talent search. You can take the sat or aCt for practice when it doesn’t count, and also gain insight into your abilities and educational needs. CtY’s spatial test Battery will assess your strengths and weaknesses in spatial ability, an area considered important to many stem fields. y Participate in extracurricular activities. they can help you explore new interests, gain knowledge, develop leadership skills, and meet peers who share your interests and abilities. in high school, you will want to focus on demonstrating leadership in the activities that you care the most about, so use your middle school years to define where that focus should be. y use your summers to learn new things. summer is a great time to learn content and develop skills not taught in school. investigate topics of interest, enroll in a summer program, travel, and/or develop leadership skills by volunteering in your community. y read widely in your free time. gain a much broader familiarity with literature than you can get in english class and an awareness of world events by reading books, periodicals, and newspapers on a regular basis. You can improve your verbal skills (good for the sat!) and expand your knowledge at the same time. y investigate career fields. By visiting workplaces, volunteering, reading, and/or talking to adults about their work, you can get a “gut feeling” for the kinds of work environments you might enjoy. this insight can influence your choices for courses, summer programs, college selection, and other opportunities. y Explore college campuses. if you happen to be on a college campus, perhaps through a summer program, look around. Consider whether the atmosphere appeals to you. is it too big or small, too urban or rural, or just about right? more serious visits will come later, but the insights you gain from early visits may help define where you should look. y Evaluate your options for high school. if you have a choice of high schools, choose one that will provide an optimal level of challenge and that offers the courses you want. Be aware that selective magnet and independent schools are likely to have early application deadlines. y in consultation with your counselor, develop a four-year high school plan. many students find themselves assigned to typical 9th grade courses without regard for their abilities and goals. Plan ahead and be proactive in advocating for a program that truly will meet your needs. ThinksTock imagine 41

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012
Big Picture
In My Own Words
The Proper Care and Feeding of the Teenage Brain
Building Brain Power Through the International Brain Bee
CTY Neuroscience
Same and Different
Braingate: Turning Thoughts Into Action
Shedding Light on Schizophrenia
Unraveling the Mysteries of Memory
Through the Looking Glass
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Fencing Lessons
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012