Welcome to March! Freshman year is flying by and we are right around the corner from Spring Break! In this issue of the counseling newsletter, you will find information about Grade 10 course selection, summer opportunities, our upcoming Freshman seminar topic, and helpful tips for studying with technology. How are you doing with the study goal you set for second semester freshman year? If you forgot what your goal was, visit MaiaLearning and check your journal and goal posts. Let's do this!
Rising Grade 10 Course Selection:
What do you need to know? What do you need to do?
An email from Mr.Holcomb has been sent to every student with a link to the course selection form. This form will be open until Monday, March 11th at 8:00 am. Course choices must be submitted before this time.
You can submit the course selection form multiple times - after the March 11th deadline we will use only the last submission to build your schedule (the earlier submissions will be ignored). Each time students submit the form, an email copy of the form will automatically be sent to both the student and their parent emails on record in PowerSchool.
Grade 10 students have three areas of confirmation. Please note the areas below a brief description of the choices in the bullet points. The Course Description Booklet is here for reference if you have any questions.
Course Choice Notes:
Group 2: Language Acquisition - the teacher recommendation will be pre-filled in your selection form. Please indicate that you either confirm this placement, or wish to appeal (if this is the case, you will be contacted by our World Language Coordinator or current teacher). One other option it to begin a 3-year Mandarin journey by taking Introduction to Mandarin (Gr 10) and IB DP Mandarin ab initio SL (Gr 11 & 12). The naming of some classes was changed after printing the Course Description Booklet, and further information will be coming in an email from the World Language Coordinator.
Group 3: Individuals & Societies - in order to better prepare students for the IB Diploma, Grade 10 Humanities was designed by IB DP teachers in Economics, Psychology and Business and will expose students to all of these subjects before making their IB Diploma choices at the end of Grade 10.
Group 4: Sciences - students will be taking a Physics / Chemistry course, designed and taught by the IB DP Physics and Chemistry teachers.
Group 5: Mathematics - the teacher recommendation will be pre-filled in your selection form. Please indicate that you either confirm this placement, or wish to appeal (if this is the case, you will be contacted by our Math Head of Department or current teacher).
Group 6: Arts - the second year of your current course will be pre-filled in your selection form. Please indicate that you either confirm this placement, or wish to appeal (if this is the case, you will be contacted by the Director of Performing Arts or your current teacher).
Please remember, the entire HS schedule is built new each year based on student course choices. After March 11, no new requests from students will be considered in the schedule build. Any change requests will be considered after the schedule build, but may not be possible in the new schedule. Please consider the course choices carefully, and take this selection seriously as attempt to change the courses later may not be possible.
VIA Strengths Explorer
This month in seminar, Grade 9 students will use the Via Strengths Explorer to identify their top character strengths. Research has shown that one important distinction separates top performers from everyone else: using their strengths whenever and wherever they find an opportunity. People who use their strengths regularly are more engaged in their work, make fewer mistakes, can concentrate longer, and are faster at completing tasks than those who do not leverage their strengths.
Unfortunately we can’t count on our teachers, parents, and future employers to make sure we are using our strengths. So the more you learn about your strengths and how to apply them now, the better prepared you’ll be to recognize opportunities to use your strengths in the future.
Applying to Summer Programs? Here's what you need to know...
If you choose to do a formal summer program, please know that there are many different kinds of summer programs out there. Many summer programs are offered by for-profit companies and can be quite expensive; even some programs that are held at universities, as an example, are run by companies that merely lease the space. While countless summer programs are well run and can be valuable on a personal level, please carefully research the program and company before you sign up. College representatives consistently advise us that, as far as college admissions go, summer programs are only “worth” what they are worth to the individual participant. In other words, only YOU determine the value of these programs. If you intend to apply to a summer program please complete the following steps:
Students can request recommendations for two summer school/programs per year.
SFS does not accept credits or grades earned at any summer school program.
Requests for teacher recommendations should not be given directly to the teachers
If it is a paper/pdf recommendation, it should be turned into the counselor.
If it is electronic recommendation, please do not send the request to the teacher until you are directed by your counselor.
Be advised, recommendations are not given to students/parents.
A minimum of two weeks should be allowed for the counselor to process application.
*Summer Program applications cannot be processed for Freshmen until first semester transcripts are available at the beginning of February.
*SFS Counselors do not endorse specific programs but you can find a growing list of available programs here.
10 Summer Activities That Will Turn Admissions’ Heads
Colleges look for students who are dedicated to academics but they want to build a well-rounded incoming freshman class. Admission officers look for those who demonstrate interesting and diverse qualities, rather than those who spend 100 percent of their time studying. Colleges need and want students who are committed to activities that they are passionate about. https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/10-summer-activities-will-turn-admissions-heads
Is it too soon to take SAT Subject Tests?
SFS counselors recommend no standardized tests for freshman. While some US colleges and universities require SAT Subject Tests, which show proficiency in a specific subject matter, you should wait until you have taken more advanced courses to register for the SAT Subject Exams. Please know that colleges and universities usually only require 1-2 subject tests, if any are required at all. Because you will take IBDP courses your junior year you will have more exposure to certain subjects. Remember, College Board recommends students to wait to take the SATs second semester junior year.
Which subject test should you take in a year and a half? You should consider and think about which SAT Subject Tests interest you and then choose from the 20 subject tests listed on the college board website. (http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-subject-test-preparation)