What College-Prep Questions Do Teens Have? – Making Big Decisions

9th–10th Graders: Planning Your Summer

Summer offers students a valuable opportunity to grow and learn outside the traditional classroom setting. Students can choose activities that will expand their horizons. Here are a few ideas for them to consider:

  • Volunteer Work: Develop organizational, time management, and communication skills while providing valuable services to an organization or community.
  • Travel: Learn about new perspectives, broaden worldview, and develop flexible thinking.
  • Summer Courses: Courses that explore interests or add to academic advancement can be a bonus.

Whatever they choose, students should focus their efforts on something that adds to their personal and intellectual development.

11th Graders: Gearing Up for AP Exams

AP exams are an additive aspect of the academic journey. Scoring well can earn students college credit and demonstrate their readiness for higher education. Here’s how they can prepare effectively:

  • Study Plan: Create a realistic timetable leading up to the exams. Stick to it!
  • Resources: Utilize study guides, past papers, and online resources. Communicate with the AP teacher for advice.
  • Group Study: Collaborate with classmates to challenge each other’s understanding.
  • Practice Tests: Regularly take practice exams to gauge progress and adjust the study plan accordingly.

Remember, preparation for AP exams is not just about memorizing content—it’s about developing critical thinking and analytical skills.

12th Graders: Finalizing College Decisions

Choosing a college is one of the most difficult decisions students will make. It’s not just about the prestige of the institution but finding a place where they will thrive academically, socially, financially, and personally. Students should consider these factors:

  • Alignment with Goals: Does the college offer programs that match their career aspirations?
  • Campus Culture: How do they feel about the campus community? Do they feel like they will fit in?
  • Financials: Is the cost of attendance within the family’s budget, and what financial aid opportunities are available?
  • Location & Size: Does the student prefer an urban, suburban, or rural setting? Will they thrive in a large university atmosphere or a smaller college environment? What is their learning style, and how does that align with the school’s services and support?

What happens outside of the classroom matters. Students should reflect on these questions and choose a university that will not just educate them but will also help them grow into the person they aspire to be.


As students stand at the crossroads of important and exciting decisions, they can take a moment to reflect on the path ahead. Every choice should align with their immediate goals and contribute to the larger picture of who they want to become. They can opt for paths that challenge them and push them out of their comfort zone.


“Sylvia is a phenomenal college counselor. She is patient, kind, organized, and extremely knowledgeable about the college application process." - Susie

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