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How to Keep Grades Up and College Plans on Track

Whether you’re struggling with distance learning or simply want to give yourself a little extra challenge, there are numerous online resources that can help you keep your grades up and keep your college plans on track.

1. Challenge Yourself with Online Practice Tests

Testing schedules may have been disrupted this year, but tests are not going away. Advanced Placements tests, for example, have shifted online, and it’s likely the SAT and ACT tests will follow

One way to help keep yourself prepared for all of your tests is to practice. Many standardized tests offer official practice tests. Taking practice tests can help you overcome test anxiety and develop test-taking strategies. You’ll not only review the content, but also get comfortable with the test format, types of questions, and you’ll determine which topic areas you need to focus on to improve your score.

2. Watch for Changing Admissions Policies 

The college admissions process can feel daunting on a “normal” day. COVID-19 has triggered a number of changes, from canceled tests to changing admissions policies. Thankfully, the National Association for College Admission Counseling offers a free online tool to check the latest admissions requirements helping you track everything from whether they are test-optional to changing decision dates. 

3. Dive into Researching Colleges….Virtually

Has COVID put your college tour on hold? You can still research and “visit” colleges on your shortlist by taking virtual tours. Youvisit allows you to take a 360 degree virtual tour of many schools. This helps give you a sense of the campus, but don’t rely on it alone to research schools. You should search for specific schools and see if they are hosting virtual events. Signing up for a webinar or other virtual event demonstrates your interest…and offers you a chance to ask questions. 

4. Stay Sharp with Online Tutoring

Distance learning comes with its own unique challenges. Supplementary online tutoring can help keep students engaged with course materials and ensure that overall grades stay in good shape. Essentially, online tutoring can do two things:

  • Help students who find it difficult to learn without direct interaction. An online tutor can provide one-on-one instructional guidance designed to help students absorb assigned concepts.
  • Keep students engaged in the process of learning. Some students may require an extra challenge to make sure they don’t “tune out.” Online tutoring can provide academic rigor that aligns with the student’s overall scholastic goals.

5. Gain an Advantage with Test Prep Classes

Students living through lockdown might suddenly find themselves with significantly more time on their hands than they’re used to. One way to use that time is to take a test prep class. The benefits of such a class tend to be twofold. 

First, students will be better prepared for the standardized test for which they happen to be studying. 

Second, a test prep class can help keep students in learning mode. Just as with the online practice sessions, a test prep course can help students develop study skills and work habits that apply across a wide variety of academic situations.

6. Expand Your Access to Study Material

Most of what you learn in a classroom comes from the teacher or the textbook. But when students are engaged in distance learning, the classroom suddenly becomes much more nebulous. Check the exam sites for additional material. The College Board, for example, offers resources to AP students for free if you create an account. Some teachers offer additional study support using apps such as Quizlet or other study materials. Additional study materials and online tools provided for your study can help students dive deeply into a topic with focused, well-researched, and reliable information.

If you have questions about keeping your grades up or what your GPA goals should be, talk to your guidance counselor or a college admissions specialist. If you’d like further information about resources, schedule a free 30 minute consultation with A-List to answer all your questions.


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