9th /10th Grade Timelines

    • Your involvement in the IB program, demonstrates to colleges that you are willing to challenge yourself academically.  Colleges pay attention to the types of classes you take (regular, honors, AP, or IB) and they also look at your grades in high school classes in order to predict your success in college.  Choosing IB and being the best student you can be within the IB program is very impressive to colleges.
    • College admissions committees are also interested in considering students who will contribute to their campus community. They evaluate your extra-curricular activities, commitments to in-school organizations or teams, involvement with out-of-school clubs and organizations, and your interest in learning.
    • Pay attention to your interests, skills, and passions.  Knowing your academic and personal strengths and weaknesses will help you plan your future.  Look at the following websites to increase your self-awareness: bigfuture.collegeboard.org and act.org.  Another good one is from the Dept. of Labor called mynextmove.org.  Their tabs for College Planning and Career Planning will lead you to self-assessment questions and inventories.
    • Read books in your spare time.  Research on students who perform well on the SAT and ACT suggests that reading books in your spare time is the best way to prepare yourself in the years before you ever take a college entrance exam.  Colleges are interested in your score on the SAT or ACT because it is an objective way to measure your academic strengths and weaknesses.  Your score is a way to supplement what the college already knows about your academic record from your transcripts, and it gives the college a way to assess your readiness for college-level work.
    • In the winter/spring of sophomore year, consider applying for some of the summer programs that are open to students who are academically gifted or highly motivated in a certain area.  For example, the website: pathwaystoscience.org is an excellent listing of summer programs for students interested in science, technology, medicine, and engineering; some of the programs have deadlines starting in January.  Here is a listing of math-focused summer programs for high school students. Other pre-college programs that are held on college campuses across the United States for students interested a variety of fields (including some with scholarships) are listed here.
    • Other summer programs for gifted students include the Duke Tip program, summer college programs for “motivated high school students” at Johns Hopkins program, and Telluride program.  Another interesting program is the Summer Institute for the Gifted.


  • During the summer between sophomore and junior year, consider doing an activity that deepens your base of knowledge or experience in one or two areas that you love:  it could be committing yourself to volunteering at a sports camp, chess camp, or creating a small business of your own (e.g., lawn care, babysitting service, dog-walking service, etc.).  It could be attending a pre-college program in the arts or in the sciences or technology.  It’s a great time to explore what you love to do.
  • Continue Volunteering:   Explore volunteer opportunities and build up your CAS hours.  Look at the IB website at http://robinsonhs.mysdhc.org/robinsonIB/ for a comprehensive list of possible volunteer options.  The school board’s website has extensive listings across 10 categories of volunteering at:  www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/involvement.  Another excellent website is www.volunteersuncoast.org – it is a volunteer matching website that is run by the United Way.
  • Visit College Campuses:  Plan to visit a few colleges, local and distant, large and small, urban and rural, in order to figure out the right fit for you.
  • Study for the SAT/ACT:  Study for both the SAT and the ACT through paper-based study guides that are available through book stores, online, or through your public library.  You can pick up free practice test booklets in the Cube or in the Guidance office.  The best way to study online for the SAT is through Khan Academy at https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat.   A final way to study for the ACT is through accessing online resources at www.actstudent.org. If you are interested in more formal test-prep services, many students sign up with companies that specialize in preparing high school students for the SAT and ACT – you can find some excellent organizations by googling “SAT Prep Tampa” or “ACT Prep Tampa”.
  • Branch out and use summer to explore your strengths:  Summer is a great time to participate in academic programs, work in a job, commit yourself to your hobby, start a small business, or travel and solidify your grasp of the language you are studying at Robinson.