Going for the Gold in Class Selection
Men's Mogul
Last year, while watching the Olympic men’s moguls, I saw each contender balance speed, form, and difficulty. The skiers had to find that perfect combination of challenge and speed to win and avoid losing control. For students planning their classes, it is a similar goal: create a schedule that will challenge you but not make you lose control.
Selecting Classes for the Coming Year
1. Identify your goals for college. If you know that you would like to be competitive for a highly select college (those schools accepting fewer than 50% of their applicants), then your schedule should be the most challenging for you. If you do not care about attending a highly selective college, then you have more leeway in selecting your classes.
2. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone in areas of strength. For subjects that come easily for you, push yourself further. Just like the Olympic medal hopefuls, you get more points for rigor than for taking it easy--even if it is not perfect.
3. Go for your interests. Once you have fulfilled all of your graduation requirements, take classes that interest you. If you have a passion for science and no interest in foreign languages, it may be okay to double up on science senior year in lieu of a foreign language. The key is to substitute equally rigorous classes in your area of interest.
4. Know your limitations. Some kids overshoot what they can handle and that can end up just as problematic. (Think missing the jump and crashing into the spectators!) Most college students take between four to five classes per semester. So four AP classes along with all your other classes and activities may be too much.
5. Understand what it means to override a recommendation. Depending on your school, you may get into AP, IB, honors, or accelerated classes based on your previous teacher’s recommendation. Some schools require you to take a qualifying test. In the former situation, if your school allows you to override the recommendation, be sure you understand what that means if you get into a class that is too hard the following year. Can you drop down right away, or must you wait for the full marking period to change?
What's on Our Minds
Eric Rath, Founder of Rath Education Group, gives a quick and very helpful overview of how the SAT is changing as it shifts from a paper to digital version.
A Growth Mindset: The Key to College Admission Success During Uncertain Times

During May of 2020, we led a webinar with admissions counselors from WashU, Bowdoin, Vanderbilt, and San Diego State (formerly GW) where we discussed how the college admissions paradigm has changed and how students can develop a growth mindset to best position themselves for the college application process and beyond. We wanted to reshare it with you as it is more applicable than ever.
What We're Reading
What We're Listening To
The College and Career Clarity Podcast!
At many schools, like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, prospective students must apply to a specific major when applying to college during the high school senior year. Since this is not standard at all colleges, it can be a confusing hurdle for many high schoolers and their families – but it doesn’t have to be. What does this mean for your teen? In this episode with Andy Borst, UIUC’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions, you’ll learn how college major-based admissions works and how to set your teen up to successfully navigate the process.

College Visits!
Read about our visit to Barnard.
Lisa, Abby, and Stef recently visited Barnard. Click here to read about their experience!

What's Next


If any of you decided to venture out on college visits during President's Day to further develop your lists, we'd love to hear about your experiences. Lisa wrote an article for Grown and Flown called “Creating a Balanced List.” It's also time to plan your summers and classes for senior year. You can schedule a meeting below.


We are available to meet with you to help you plan classes and your summer. You can schedule a meeting below.

You bring your friends, we provide the info. If anyone is interested in setting up a free interactive workshop on how to maximize students’ high school years leading up to college, please reach out to stefanie@collegeboundmentor.com