Going & Growing Guide
to the High School Experience
Empowering students and families to thrive through their high school experiences with self-awareness and college admissions strategy
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What are the conversations and topics that need to be addressed each season of every year in high school for students to grow in self-awareness while developing their personal strategic edge in the college admissions process? This annual guide to growing and going through the high school experience helps you navigate what’s next with confidence, intentionality, and organization.
We recommend students and parents/mentors come together at least four times a year and make room for a reflective hour to discuss the seasonal checklist questions. Taking time to work through each question by writing first and discussing second, will create deeper connections in awareness and actions. In our practice, we encourage this process occur with parents and mentors also answering the questions from their perspective. This invites multiple viewpoints to inform the conversation. In between these intentional conversations, it’s important to set smaller goals and follow-up conversations for accountability on a weekly and monthly basis.
Finally, at Cultivate., we know there is usually not one right answer to a question. The answer to, “What is the best school?” is “How do you define best?” These questions are designed to help students and families take ownership of their growth and mindsets, so that you are empowered to chart your own course forward. We wish you the best in going and growing through your high school experiences.
Guiding Question: In what ways am I developing intentionality, and how is that expressed through my engagement in my school and community?
Summer Sophomore Year
- Where can I get a practice SAT? What does it feel like to take it? Does my school offer the PSAT? What is the score I get on it?
- What am I enjoying about my summer experiences? As I reflect on what I am doing, what am I noticing about what I choose to do and how I spend my time? How are my choices affecting others around me and my larger community? How might I be more intentional in the coming school year to make sure how I spend my time positively impacts others as well as myself?
- What habits and goals worked successfully for me freshman year? What do I want to keep and let go of to make sophomore year great?
- What is a list of colleges I would like to spend some time exploring over the next few months?
Fall Sophomore Year
- How do I want to begin to track my involvement in activities and special recognition I might receive during my high school experience?
- What is working about how I prioritize my time? What shifts might I consider making to feel more productive?
- What problems am I interested in solving in my world? How might I develop an opportunity to explore what a possible solution/s could look like?
- What college fairs are accessible to me, and how might attending help me better refine the list of colleges I am exploring?
Winter Sophomore Year
- In what ways do my actions and choices demonstrate personal leadership? How am I growing through my choices and how am I helping others to grow as well?
- What do my PSAT results mean for my study plan for standardized testing (SATs/ACTs)?
- Am I able to develop my identified problems/challenges into a small project to create community impact? What might that look like? Who would be a good mentor/s for me?
- What kinds of summer opportunities might I create (internship/shadowing) to explore my interests and extend my skills?
Spring Sophomore Year
- What kinds of courses will I take junior year to challenge myself intellectually and prepare academically for as many future options as possible? What does the right kind of schedule look like and feel like for me?
- Am I applying to a summer program or working with my family to craft an intentional use of my summer time? What would I like to gain from my experience/s?
- What colleges am I able to tour or explore more deeply this summer? Are there particular schools I am interested in touring next year? What might these travel plans look like?
- What might my community impact look like if I continue to develop and use my skills and talents with the purpose of improving the lives of those around me?