In Grade XI? How College Ready Are You! (Part I)

In Grade XI? How College-Ready are YOU?

I hope all of you have gotten out of the relaxed mood that one tends to enter right after the Class X Boards.  In fact, it is in your best interests to shake yourself out of slumber as soon as possible, get organized and start focusing on the things needed to prepare for the College application process.

Although the clock starts ticking from the middle school and especially from Class IX onwards, you have the next one and half years remaining to ensure that you get into your dream American College.

What is your action plan and how will you ensure you make the most of each opportunity that comes your way, and in some cases, actively look for some that you can get associated with?

Most of you are aware that getting into a good American College depends upon many factors since they look at applicants holistically, carrying out an evaluation of your academic records, test scores, extra and co-curricular activities, honors and achievements, social contributions, and more.  A SAT score of 2400 might still not get you into a top university if the rest of your application just does not measure up to expectations, while a seemingly average score might get you into the best colleges on the back of a good overall application.

To help you in the process to follow over the next few months of Class XI, I have compiled a list of things that you need to consciously do and be aware of to maximise your chances and make your candidature more college-ready.  Lets talk about a few of these …

Extracurricular activities

Colleges prefer students who take an active interest in activities outside the classroom, be it sports, school clubs, drama, music, social service, environment issues, special interest or hobby groups.  Make sure you are part of some activities that you feel strongly about and strive to take up leadership positions within the ones you are active in.  Remember that it is better to be actively involved with a few activities than to fill your resume with multiple ones where you have hardly contributed.

Challenge yourself

Colleges are impressed with instances where you have challenged your limits and achieved (or at least genuinely tried to) success in challenging courses or activities.  Do not choose the easy way out or select the easiest courses on offer.  Challenge yourself and aspire for greater things!


If you have not done so already, start preparing for your SATs.  I advise students to take the SAT I by the end of Class XI and SAT II thereafter. Even if you have not done well in your first attempt, you still have time to prepare better and retake the test.  The SAT II are the more rigorous subject tests and it makes sense for you have more of your High School syllabus covered before you attempt it.  Also keep an eye out on the Test Dates and last dates for registration. 

You have a little more than a year to get your act together and secure admission into a college and program of your choice.  Give it some thought and get your action plan organised on how you will approach this task.  Well begun is half done!

Stay tuned for the next post for more suggestions!

Nirmal Agarwal

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