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Starting 2019 on the Right Foot

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The first month of the calendar shines brightly with opportunity for a fresh start and a view to the year in front of us. When it comes to college planning, this is a fantastic time for students and parents to start anticipating quarter by quarter what to accomplish to advance to the next stages in the college process.  Now is the moment to look to inspiration and energy and continue planning ahead!

Front and center, let’s start with our seniors

1. Prepare well in advance of mid-year exams. More than once, I’ve seen these results make or break a semester of classwork, testing and papers.

2. Per #1, keep up or improve grades --  especially if deferred in the initial admissions round. After having deferred an applicant, colleges will most likely search for evidence of academic progress via the second review.

3. Per #2, keep up grades even if admitted to an RD or ED college. After the admission letter arrives and a deposit is sent in, admitted students continue to remain under informal review because colleges almost always require a final senior transcript as evidence of continued, satisfactory academic progression.

4. Students should continue to update the colleges still reviewing their applications with useful updates such as awards; distinctions; or special projects.

Now for our juniors...

With one eye on the present and the other glancing a few paces in front, the KEY is to plan ahead and use time wisely.

5. Plan campus visits at your earliest convenience and when colleges are in session. That usually means following winter break and before spring break, according to an individual school's schedule.

6. Continue preparing for SAT and/or ACT during a timeframe that allows the most bandwidth for focusing on practicing the skills necessary for testing success.

7. Pay attention to progress in current classes to best plan for senior year course levels.

8. This is a wonderful time to consider stepping up extracurricular involvement, expanding leadership role, impact, etc. The more selective the college, the more important is a student track record of accomplishment outside of the classroom.

9. Summer already? These precious weeks can never come soon enough and before you know it, they’ve arrived! This is the time for juniors to begin summer planning, whether it is working close to home or away; developing a current business or project; test preparation; etc. etc.

And, of course, sophomores!!!

10. Keeping up your grades is key to future success in high school and beyond.

If sophomores experience an academic challenge such as struggle in foreign language or math; difficulty in organizing or completing assignments, this is the time to raise the issue and look toward a new approach or solution. (Yes, good advice for freshmen too!)

11. No longer newbies in the high school, sophomores are wise to think about their interests in or out of their school and develop these enjoyably and meaningfully.

Wishing ALL students and parents a healthy, happy and fulfilled 2019!!!


Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admission process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC.  Contact Marla via  

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