Where Students Get Stuck: 9th-11th Grade
Grades open up a lot of opportunities, but many Freshman have a difficult time adjusting to high school. Junior year, many students start to improve their class performance, but by this time, it is hard for them to affect a large change in their GPA. A 2.5 GPA is the minimum for a public, 4-year university in North Carolina, and is close to the minimum for decent college options in general. A 3.0 GPA will open up more college options, but obviously, the higher the better.
Having experiences that provide direction
The other major goal for the first 3 years of high school is to have experiences that provide direction for after high school. One of the biggest impediments for students being proactive in making their own post-secondary plans is simply uncertainty about what they want to do.
The first way to have those experiences, is for students to select classes that they are interested in. Every student has an area of interest that they can develop in school. Scheduling is a difficult area to give students individual attention, but it can really pay off.
There’s no question that the most selective colleges put an emphasis on class rigor. However, for 90% of other colleges, taking AP Calculus is not so life-or-death. We encourage students to select the most rigorous classes in the areas that interest them, but not necessarily every subject. However the most important reason for selecting rigorous classes to prepare them academically for college. Building those reading, writing, and math skills for the college transition will make students more likely to be successful whatever college they end up at.
Summer enrichment programs:
Have a database of summer enrichment programs in your state (and a few national ones). Advertising and encouraging underclassmen to apply to summer enrichment programs is a great way to build connections with underclassmen prior to their senior year. It’s also a great way to get high achieving underclassmen exposed to and believing in college as their post-high school plan!