Letter to Juniors

Dear Junior,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of things that will help you with your future educational planning. Junior year is the year of decision making. You should decide firmly this year just what your post-graduation plans are. Do you want to go to a four-year university, a community college, or a technical school, or do you want to do something else entirely? These decisions need to be made soon. What follows are some of the things you need to do this year.

1. Visit the websites of colleges, universities, or technical schools that interest you. Visit the campuses if you can. You ought to decide before the end of this school year your top two or three choices of schools you want to attend after you graduate.

2. As a student of Sequoia Secondary, you have access to some excellent online resources. We encourage you to go to sequoiasecondary.org. If you click on the Student Services menu, you will be taken to the “Counselor’s Corner.” You will find a wealth of information regarding college, scholarships, standardized tests, and more. Ms. Newsom will update the Current Scholarships listing regularly during the school year, so take a look occasionally, visit some of the websites, and apply for scholarships that interest you. Look for scholarships on your own as well. You may also think that all scholarships are for seniors. It is true that seniors are eligible for most scholarships, but there are many for juniors as well. Also, there are a number of scholarships for community colleges and technical schools.

3. Take the time to cultivate the talents and extracurricular activities that scholarship committees and college admissions officials look for. Volunteer your time, learn a musical instrument, apply for an internship, play a sport, acquire an interesting or unique hobby, audition for a play, or get involved with a church or scouting group. Whether you do one or several of these things, it’s important that you do something. Grades are important, but scholarships and college admissions are not always based on grades alone.

4. All juniors who plan on attending a four-year university should take the SAT and ACT next semester. Then, once you receive your scores, retake the test you did better on. The SAT and ACT are quite different tests. If you do poorly on one test, chances are you will do better on the other. You will find lots of information about these tests—links to practice tests, an FAQ, test-taking tips, and more—at the Counselor’s Corner.

5. If you receive this letter near the beginning of the school year, register to take the PSAT right away. The PSAT is administered in mid-October every year, and it costs about $15. In order to take the PSAT, you must contact the counseling office of your local high school and ask to take the test there. When you take the test, be sure to put our school code on the test: 030608. Do not delay in registering for the PSAT. We cannot emphasize its importance enough. The PSAT is the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship competition. If you do well on the PSAT, you could receive $12,000 or more a year at ASU or UA.

6. Remember that the Arizona Board of Regents offers a scholarship that is tied to AIMS. You must achieve Exceeds on all three tests before the end of your junior year. You also need to receive A’s and B’s in all your core classes and have a 3.5 GPA in those same classes. So, keep your grades up and you could receive a scholarship that pays for all of your tuition at an in-state university. Please let your adviser know right away if you wish to retake AIMS in October in order to qualify for this scholarship.

Most importantly, do not panic! You still have time, but you must use it wisely. Call or e-mail us if you have questions or do not know what to do next. We are here to help.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Bynum
Director of Student Services