With increase talks about college in the Upper School, parents and students may feel pressure to get a head start on college counseling. The best thing we can do for our students in Grades 9-10 is to allow time for growth and discovery, so they can find their passions and learn how to balance being a scholar, athlete, artist, community member and teenager.
Students should take courses that are challenging and appropriate for them and work to their fullest potential in each class. Participation in classroom discussions, team-oriented thinking in group projects, respectful commenting in class and a desire to strive for knowledge versus grades are all examples of building a strong, positive presence in the classroom. We find that when students primarily focus on learning rather than grade achievement, the course becomes more enjoyable, which often translates to desired results concerning grades.
For non-academic activities, we encourage students to explore as much as possible to help find their interests and passions. By 10th grade, students may begin to realize which activities and initiatives are most important to them, and they can start to delve deeper into these passions by taking on important contributing roles. Many LJCDS students participate in a variety of activities simultaneously, such as a sport, theater group and community service projects.
Although official standardized testing generally takes place in the 11th grade, some preparation takes place in 10th grade. Depending on the courses a student takes, he or she might be ready to take an SAT subject test at the end of the school year. Students should consult with their subject teachers and/or college counselor to see if this pertains to them. Taking a practice SAT or ACT the summer after 10th grade can also help a student understand which exam will be better for them, and they can start preparing for the exams.