How Teachers Can Help You Strengthen Your Academic Profile
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Sophie Alina in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Finding Your Passions
From a college admissions perspective, it is crucial for you to define the role that you will play within the schools that you apply to. When colleges evaluate applicants, they aren’t looking for a well-rounded student as much as a well-rounded class. They need to see what you specifically will contribute to the campus community. Colleges want to know the roles that students will play on campus, such as who will be an engineer, tuba player, or organizer.
As you apply to colleges, take time to reflect upon who you will be and what you will contribute in college. A good starting place is meeting with your teachers so they can guide you and help you figure out what your passions are. Through this process, your teachers may be able to connect you with other people who can further develop your passions, such as another teacher or a friend of theirs.
Your college journey starts with the right courses. Your teachers have in-depth knowledge of the classes at your school and can encourage you to dive into specific subjects that you want to explore. While high school counselors also have this information, they often have huge caseloads and many responsibilities, so going to a teacher can be a better option.
Talk with your teachers about your courses when you start as a freshman. They can be instrumental in helping you plan out a course list for your four years of high school. With their help, you can pick classes that gradually become more specific to your interests, such as STEM courses (including computer science, chemistry, and calculus), during your junior and senior years if you are interested in studying engineering in college.
A course plan tailored to your interests can demonstrate to colleges the role that you will play in their community. It can also help you anticipate your future GPA by selecting courses that challenge you but that you are confident that you can excel in.
Improving Study Skills and Test Preparation
As students transition from middle to high school, their study skills should improve so they can succeed in high school and its increased workload. Sophie recommends that students check out the book, How to Be a High School Superstar, by Cal Newport. It discusses managing your course load, trying to be the best student possible, and using study guides.
In addition to this resource, teachers can coach students to improve their study skills and support them in preparing for the SAT and ACT.
Through the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, students can become eligible for national recognition programs. Teachers can be great resources when students want to learn more about opportunities like these.
These programs include the National Merit Scholarship, as well as common ones like National African American Recognition Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Indigenous Recognition Program, and National Rural and Small Town Recognition Programs. A student can be eligible for any of these based on their identities and their PSAT score or AP exams.