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Resources for College and Career Readiness


I am here to help you with all stages of career and college planning. Please reach out for a virtual visit during your at-home learning day, and stay tuned for special programming and classroom presentations!

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The College Board has great information about AP Testing, FAFSA, virtual learning and more!

Ms. Kleffman's Musings BLOG

Resources for College and Career Readiness

Attention Juniors:

This is a busy year for college planning, and I am here to help! Scroll down for important things to do NOW to get ready for college applications!




I am here to help you with all stages of career and college planning. Please reach out with any questions you may have, and stay tuned for special programming and classroom presentations!

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The College Board has great information about AP Testing, FAFSA, virtual learning and more!

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College Application Planning: 7 Pro Tips For Semester One

Have you noticed, my dear juniors, that this year is going by more quickly than you expected? The well-meaning adults in your life have probably told you that each year passes more quickly than the next, and they are correct! Your high-school career is now more than half over, second semester is well underway and you are now choosing courses for your last year of high school. You may feel anxious, excited, impatient or worried but the Thanksgiving and winter breaks are coming sooner than you think!


So, what can juniors do NOW to PREPARE and feel great about the college application season ahead? How can you take action while keeping stress in check? Never fear! Use this easy to follow advice and take a deep breath!


Tip #1: Protect Your Grades


Did you know that your GPA is one of the first things an admissions officer will look at on your application? It is arguably the most important indicator of whether or not you will be admitted into any college, so it is imperative that you put your academics first and protect your grades at all costs. Your cumulative weighted GPA after this semester will be the one that colleges see, so make every effort and get the best grades you can. Seek help during FLEX if you need it. Trust me, holding yourself to high academic standards now is an indispensable college skill.

Tip #2: Choose Wisely


We are all busy filling out our course selections for next year, and you are meeting with your school counselor soon. My best general advice is to choose the hardest courses you can succeed in. Push yourself especially hard in subjects that have to do with the major(s) in which you are interested. If you are interested in STEM majors, think about Precal, Calculus, or AP Calculus if possible. Remember that selective colleges like to see at least three consecutive years of foreign language, so make room for that if necessary.

Tip #3: Faculty Relationships

Very soon, you will be asking teachers for recommendation letters. Ideally, these come from junior year core subject teachers (foreign language included). Think about putting forth the extra effort to make a positive impression on your teachers this year. If you are struggling, let them know and seek help. Become a leader in the classroom. Take an interest in the subject matter. These positive relationships are very valuable not only for recommendations, but also because you never know what you may learn if you simply show interest and curiosity.

Tip #4: Have a Testing Plan


By now, you have probably taken at least a PSAT and are thinking about registering for an actual SAT or ACT. My advice is to pause and if you have not taken a practice version of BOTH tests, do so. Free diagnostic practice tests are available through Sylvan Learning Center, or a self-proctored paper practice test is also an easy choice. . Many students do better on one test vs. the other, so learn which one is better for you and prepare for that one. No need to put yourself through both!


Once you figure out which is your stronger test, then think about what your goal score should be, based on your top college choices. If you need to improve your score, engage in some focused test prep sessions that end a few days or a week before your test date.


Remember that sending test scores is now an application strategy, and a good (75th percentile) score will always be an asset to your application!


Tip 5: Go There!

If at all possible, get yourself on campus at the colleges you are interested in! Think of it this way: You have the potential to spend four years of your life and a considerable amount of money at this place. It is always best to see the facilities, meet your admissions officer, and chat with current students in person. Go and see where you will study, eat, live and socialize! There is no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes and feeling the vibe for yourself.


Tip 6: Continue (or Begin) College Research


If your college list is still looking a bit narrow, expand it to include safety, target and reach schools. Meet with an admissions officer, even if you have to do so virtually. Ask about your major of interest, and about the overall student experience. Look at the cost of attendance and see if it is reasonable for your family. Look at the average admitted freshman profile, and compare it to yours. Thorough research on a variety of schools is the way to create a balanced list of schools that will fit you.

Remember that with good grades, you are eligible for state scholarships that you counselor will share with you in your IGP meeting. Another EXCELLENT option is to do a bridge program from York Tech or other two-year school and continue to a four-year university if you choose. This will make that degree even more affordable.

Tip 7: Stay Organized and Work Ahead!

Over the upcoming school breaks, set aside a bit of time to set up a spreadsheet or Google doc to organize all of your research. Look online and use your NAVIANCE account to research schools (College Match is GREAT!), or, do some research on Pay attention to the Net Price Calculators and do virtual tours of each school you are interested in.


Junior year is hectic, and I feel your stress as you work to manage homework, AP tests, standardized test prep, activities, practices, social time, etc. Understand that doing these hard things now will make other hard things much easier in the future. With the appropriate planning, college application season will be much easier, and once the apps are in, senior year will be much less nuts. Hang in there, friends!

These resources are designed to help you get to know your strengths and things you may enjoy doing as a career!

NAVIANCE is a resource that is provided for you through the FMSD, and it is a tool you will use throughout your high-school career. We recommend that you start here, but there are other exploration tools to explore as well.

Remember that self-knowledge is the beginning of this ongoing process. The educational and career path you choose begins here!

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Bonnie Kleffman, MEd, GCDF

Career Development Facilitator

Nation Ford High School


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