Students make the transition in grades 5, 8, and 12, but much of the work to prepare for those years is done in advance.
For example, students applying to colleges in grade 12 often take their SATs & ACTs in grades 10 and 11, and start studying for these tests in grades 9 and 10. Similarly, when applying to specialized high schools in NYC, students take their SHSAT in grade 8, but start studying in grade 7. In both cases, the transition years are when students take the admissions exams needed to demonstrate their academic achievement.
Since students showcase their achievement in transition years, it’s important to support their learning throughout their academic journey.
One way to do this is to monitor schoolwork and grades. Homework functions for academic achievement like a canary in a coal mine; consistently poor performance on homework can be a sign that extra support might be needed.
Another way to do this is to provide extra enrichment. This is especially useful in developing reading skills. For younger students, read together at night, before bed. For older students, schedule family reading time and then share out together about what was read. Building math skills can be tricky (when was the last time you needed to use scientific notation?), but don’t let that stop you! Get outside help from a teacher or tutor, if needed.
Make a List
Parents often report feeling that transition years are a whirlwind. Indeed, they often are! Applications need to be completed, schools visited, and tests taken – all while normal schooling is going on and fall extracurriculars are ramping up.
Work backward from your goal to make a list of your priorities. For example, if you are applying to college, make a list of schools and key dates. If you are applying to private middle schools, find out when your applications are due, and what tests you have to take.
You can also use a checklist from a reputable source to help you remain organized, get on track, and stay on track. We’ve included some of our planning checklists below for your convenience!
- Taking the ISEE Lower (Applying to Private Middle Schools)
- Taking the SHSAT (Applying to Specialized High Schools in NYC)
- Taking the ISEE Upper (Applying to Private High Schools)
- Taking the SAT (Applying to Colleges & Universities)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need help planning!