Junior Year Justice…. College Prep and What Counts to get in! | Your College Planning Coach

LWMSeptOct2014-Final_Page_29One’s junior year of high school is by far the year that counts – a lot!!!! Colleges are most interested in YOU Especially if you are a Junior preparing to go to college in less than 2 years…YIKES!

Uhhh… you WILL need reference letters and more. No matter which college you apply to, schools are looking for a solid GPA and to see that you have taken the most challenging courses you could. Most colleges want to see decent SAT or ACT scores as well. Also, there is more to applying to college besides grades and scores, so being the bright college bound student I know you to be, you’ll pay extra attention to this checklist and bump your chances of getting in to a college that will be the right fit for you to accomplish your dreams!

You’re Not Late (But Don’t Procrastinate) If you haven’t begun the admissions process, you’re not so behind that should you freak out. However, you do need to get the ball rolling. Doing something, even just checking out a few college web sites, is a constructive first step. Look to compare academic requirements; find out if there are opportunities for undergraduate research; do they have intramural sports; what’s the deal on studying abroad; etc.

Here is some advice I know you will find useful:

Lay it Out Few of us like doing things where we have little or no experience. It’s hard to demonstrate competency and confidence when attempting things the first time around. Shopping for colleges isn’t so easy when you have thousands of options and aren’t sure of what you want. The quest can seem completely overwhelming. This may come as a shock to you, but not all moms and dads are skilled carpenters, electricians or plumbers. We need to sit down with a cup of coffee, read the instructions, these days we watch a YouTube video (maybe 10 times like me) before taking on the job. Then and only then will we proceed to fix the leaky faucet, change the light fixture in the bathroom, or build a bookcase for your bedroom. So, do some prep work. The more you can organize what you need before starting the college admissions process, the easier life will be. For example, select your SAT/ACT test date, then study for it. At many colleges, a few extra points can mean the difference between getting a scholarship or not. If you’re shooting for a seat at an elite college, you can also expect to complete SAT Subject Tests at the end of your junior year. If a college recommends that you take a few but doesn’t require that you do, what they really mean is that they are expecting you to take them. Then check your calendar, and make plans with your parents to visit a few colleges during the year. So you can get a sense of what’s out there, look at a broad range of types: big, small, public, private, city or country.

How Important Are After School Activities? Other than taking the most challenging courses your high school offers, it’s a good time to evaluate what you do outside the classroom. Don’t stay in activities just because you think they would look good on a resume. It’s way better if you choose one or two extracurricular activities that you’re enthusiastic and passionate about. Most colleges are looking for well-rounded students, not just the student with their nose in a book! Ultimately, you will need a plan of action and smart money moves to make those four years of college the perfect fit. Call us.703.928.9036.

By Luanne Lee, CCPRS


Can This School Year Be Different? YES, it Can! Yes, it Will! | LearningRX Leesburg

As a mom, I always look forward to a new school year. Yellow pencils, backpacks, cute, new school clothes, all the bright gear for new beginnings and new adventures. I want my children to succeed this year.

Every year, my husband and I encouraged, recognized and rewarded our kid’s success. We loved that they got excited and felt positively about themselves. But the excitement began to fade every fall as they began to notice that they were struggling in areas that were easy for other children. For the years that followed, the beginning of the school year meant stressful teacher meetings and those frustrating talks with our kids.

I hoped and prayed my kids would look forward to the school year with greater expectations and real excitement, but as the summer began to fade all we’d hear was…

“School is boring, boring, boring!”

“It’s just stupid.”

“Only recess is fun…”

We lost several years hoping that this year would be different, but none of the academic interventions changed their underlying weaknesses. The outside help we hired barely made a difference in how they saw themselves or their confidence in school.

That’s when we tried something totally different. That’s when we were rewarded with huge improvements. Our oldest two children went through individualized programs at LearningRx and now they’re excited again about school and we’re all excited what the future holds. LearningRx is not tutoring. We tried tutoring. We tried multiple tutors. Tutors were re-teaching material that our children didn’t get the first time.

Unfortunately, tutors could not treat the cause behind learning difficulties. They didn’t know how. But at LearningRx they trained our kids’ brains to focus better, think faster and retain more information. They made learning easier by treating the cause behind weak academic skills. Our kids were more successful and better yet, they knew they were becoming more successful! That’s why my husband and I are owners of LearningRx Leesburg. Now we live with children that believe they are capable of anything!

The best part of what we do is that we aren’t limited to just helping children and teens. LearningRx has proven it’s effectiveness with students of all ages and all academic performance levels. Since research has now revealed that IQ is not fixed and the brain can improve its cognitive ability at any age, we can help young professionals working towards a promotion, career adults struggling to stay on top of their game, as well as senior adults with weak memory skills. And the changes are permanent. So ask yourself, “Can this year be different?” My answer is yes—it can be with a stronger, faster brain at LearningRx. Take a moment and see our story at: www.learningrx.com/leesburg. We live with the proof that a changed brain means a changed life.

By Lian Hollenbeck, LearningRx Leesburg

Back to School with The Real Housewives of Loudoun County!

back to school loudounThe day is upon us: Loudoun County schools start the new school year on Tuesday, making today the last “real” day of summer vacation. Some of us are ready for our kids to get back into school and back on a schedule. Others have been enjoying the extra hours of sleep and no pressure to get homework done. And, of course, there are the new kindergarten parents who are about to send their babies off to school, meeting that “big kid” milestone head on. Whatever your take on a new school year is, rest assured, you’re not alone. Loudoun has great schools, great kids… and, of course, a group of great moms who are in the parenting trenches daily. Which is why, of course, we asked The Real Housewives of Loudoun County:

What is your biggest concern with the beginning of the school year approaching?

Roxce: A new school year for me is just that, ” new”, and that can be scary for some parents and kids but not my children;  I do the worrying for them.  I have to mentally prepare myself for anything that comes my kid’s way, such as dealing with friends, bullies, and new teachers.  There is only so much I can do because I can’t spend the whole day at school with them, so I wait and prepare myself for any problems they may come home with and hope that any of my wisdom will rub off on them.
Maria: I would say that my biggest concern for the start of school year is how I can be a more proactive mom in my children’s classrooms. With all the testing they will have this year my 7th and 3rd grader are already stressing out about all the work they have to do for the big tests during the school year. Managing to get them up in the morning will be one of the hardest tasks since they haven’t had to wake up at a certain time this whole summer. Homework and making sure they do it, hand it in on time and not hate it is also a big concern here in my home.  With my daughter in softball year round, balancing her time with studies,  practices and games during the week drives me crazy but having balance with all of this is key and easier said than done.  School is something the kids should always look forward to and I feel this year things are different, so many cuts have been made and it’s very disturbing to say the least.  I love seeing the kids get super excited for the first day and I just hope they carry that same momentum throughout the school year. As in life there are always challenges but it’s how we handle them that make it worthwhile. I will do my best to be “THAT” mom this year and every year with my kids and hope all parents take the time to do the same.  The kids need us more than we know.
Kimmy: This is my daughter’s last year of preschool, so not too many concerns as of yet. We live in Ashburn but she attends preschool in Herndon, since we both work full time, we need my parents to pick her up. Because of this schedule, the thing we always struggle with are the mornings, getting her up and dressed and out the door on time! Every morning she has school is a battle and rushed! Since she only goes every other day, I feel like its not routine enough for her. Also, since this is her last year, most of my concerns are actually for the following year, hoping she transitions easily into kindergarten!
Rachael:  My biggest concern with the school year approaching would have to be homework. I wasnt a fan of it when I was in school and still not a fan now that Im a parent. I want to spend time with my son after school, but with dinner, showers, and bedtime, and having to fit in homework that leaves us no time. I understand and agree with having to study, and keep things fresh in their minds, but I wish it was sent home to be returned at the end of the week so you can do it on your terms. I know the teachers are under pressure and its not their fault. Its just my preference, what would work better for our family. Otherwise, we are looking forward to the upcoming school year and seeing what 5th grade is all about!
real housewives of loudoun county

Maybe next time, we should find out how the RHOLC gang treats themselves after surviving summer break! Be sure to check back for more expert tips from this great group of women, and definitely check out the group on Facebook!

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Tutor Time and No More Tears – Teacher Robin

tutor talkIt is a good time to look back and ahead at your child’s experience this school year. As the year progresses, as parents, we need to assess our kid’s attitude towards school. Are they doing well academically and working to their best ability? Are they happy and excited to wake up and get to school in the morning? Are they eager to get their homework done or are they a procrastinator like most? Are they confident and do they feel good about themselves?

I wanted to talk about the benefits of hiring a tutor and dismiss the stigma that is usually associated with the term tutor. Many times both parents and students feel that the term “tutor” is negative. Often the student, parent or both associate the word tutor with failure and that is so not true! I try and tell all my students and parents alike whether they are in elementary, middle, or high school that a tutor is just like a coach. I am not there to point out the negatives or the flaws. My purpose and goal is to accentuate your successes and be your advocate.

Many times schoolteachers rush through their scheduled lesson of the day, because they are driven to get that chapter completed for the next test and/or in preparation for the SOL exams (Standards of Learning exams). As we all know, everyone learns differently, and so a tutor or “academic coach” is there to help find that particular student’s style of learning. I like tutoring on a 1:1 basis so that I can find that student’s special style of learning. Math is a perfect example. Sometimes it is just being able to work with the student and do a couple more examples a different way. And then – the light bulb goes off! Nothing is more rewarding as an academic coach to see the student’s eyes light up, because they get it. Or even better a text the next day, because they got an “A”’ on the quiz and they couldn’t wait to share the news. Nothing makes me happier!

Sometimes all your scholar needs are a few sessions to review information that the teacher covered in class. One on one time can make the difference in their world – especially if the classroom environment does not teach in a style or way in which your child learns.

Meeting once or twice a week is usually enough to get the job done. Of course, if more time is needed one might consider group tutoring with a neighbor or friend who also needs help. Optimum success often does not take much, just a second look and a willingness to consider all of the options.

In addition to improving your child’s confidence, that 1:1 time with an after school Teacher-Coach will save more than tears and time. It will prepare for continued achievement where it really counts. And mostly, it will keep your scholar on track for the great things ahead.

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