Anticipating Your PSAT Scores

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Anticipation involves a bit of hope and, perhaps, a dash of worry—an emotion involving excitement or, at times, anxiety in considering an expected event. 

The expected event, in this case, is the arrival of the PSAT scores in early December. Most likely, this will mark the beginning of your test prep plan and the integration of your college search process. How so? Grades and scores! Your academic record (transcript) and your test scores are the most important aspect of your college application. With this information, you can begin building your list of colleges.

For now, you are in a period in which you’re preparing for and anticipating your next move. So let’s take a moment to think about the overall arc of junior year. 

Junior year covers a lot of ground: tough courses, PSAT, SAT or ACT prep, college prep courses, campus visits, peer/mentor responsibilities, activities, awards and accomplishments, portfolios, jobs, internships, summer pre-college courses, recommendations, and auditions (just to name a few). It’s a lot, so it’s important to know what is expected of you and to try to stay on top of your very busy schedule. 

Pace yourself, keep your balance, eat well, sleep, exercise, and sleep some more. The year may be intense, but think about what has worked for you thus far. Be mindful of what you can regulate, such as the best way (for you) to study, your activity choices, and how to spend time with friends. Accept what you cannot control: your English teacher’s method for grading essays, a standardized testing policy for your dream college, or the coach’s required 6am practice on Saturdays. Make good choices, one at a time, over an extended period of time, and you’ll find yourself headed in the right direction. The key to your success next year will be this: do what you’ve been doing all along, albeit in greater numbers, at a quicker pace and with wider implications. 

As you embrace the dynamic reality of junior year, understand the expectations: stay alert, commit to what you enjoy and keep on top of your academic life. As a junior, remember that not all transitions are smooth as silk; there may be a glitch or two along the way. Take them in stride. These experiences are important learning moments. They may be difficult to endure, but they will make you stronger and better prepared to face the challenges you can anticipate encountering at college.