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Wolfgram, Peter
head counselor

Academic Counseling

ISA Counselors

Pete Wolfgram

High School Counselor (9th-12th)

phone: 415-695-5866 email:




Preparing for College: 9th Grade


Now that you're in high school, it's time to start preparing for college! Colleges will look at everything you do for the next four years, so consider it your opportunity to show them your talents!

  1. Strive for A's in all your classes; do at least one hour of homework every night.
  2. Form a study group with friends who also plan to go to college, and study together as often as possible. If you fall behind in a course, ask for help! Visit teachers during their office hours or get help from the after school program.
  3. Create a file for saving items such as report cards; diplomas and certificates; a list of awards and honors you receive; a list of all school and community activities you take part in; a list of offices you hold in these organizations; and a list of volunteer or paid jobs you hold. Update this file every semester.
  4. Become involved in at least one extracurricular activity and, if possible, get really involved.
  5. Over the summer, enroll in academic enrichment programs and special summer workshops and camps for any subjects that interest you. (Many of these are held on college campuses.) You can also look for opportunities to make up a class, since UC and CSUs require a C or better.

Preparing for College: 10th Grade


This is the year that you can start thinking about possible colleges and majors.  It's also the time to step up your academic efforts!

  1. Strive for A's in all of your classes, and do at least two hours of homework every night.
  2. Continue to form study groups with friends. Again, seek tutoring if you start falling behind in a course.  Take advantage of office hours to talk to teachers and get any support you need.
  3. Get involved in at least one new extracurricular activity. Try to take a leadership role.
  4. Update your résumé file. Add report cards, transcripts, and other awards, achievements, or recognition you receive.
  5. Take advantage of the PSAT offered in the Fall.  Do your best and review the results once you receive them.  Ask teachers about any problems you missed.
  6. Start talking to your counselor about the most appropriately challenging courses that you could take in the junior year.
  7. Participate in academic enrichment programs and special summer workshops and camps, or consider registering for a community college course to enhance your record and give you a taste of college.
  8. If you have the time, work during the summer as a volunteer in an area where your community needs help. These are experiences you may rely on when you write your Personal Statement.

Preparing for College: 11th Grade


This is the year you practice your test-taking skills, explore colleges, and start making important choices.

  1. Strive for A's in all of your classes. This is especially important in your junior year because many colleges will examine this year closely. You should also be doing at least two hours of homework every night.
  2. Take advantage of the PSAT. The results of the PSAT will give you an idea of your strengths and the areas you need to improve as you prepare for college admission.
  3. Attend college fairs and presentations by representatives who visit the school.
  4. Continue your extracurricular activities, and take initiative in setting up programs or planning activities. Work to improve your favorite skill, and seek out people or programs that will help you. Explore ways to help other people by pursuing your main interests.
  5. If you are taking any Advanced Placement courses this year, register to take the AP exams in the spring, when the material is still fresh in your mind. Scoring well on the AP exams will help you earn college units.
  6. If you are completing any courses that will prepare you for the SAT Subject tests, sign up in March for the May test or in April for the June tests.
  7. Start thinking about when and how often you will take your college entrance exams (SAT or ACT). Your school counselor can provide you with the necessary information. Taking the SAT or ACT in the spring will allow you to receive the results and meet with your counselor to see if you need to take the exam again in the fall. Plan to register for the tests at least one month in advance of the test date.
  8. Continue to update your résumé file with new information and materials.
  9. In the spring, begin planning your senior-year classes, including AP courses. A fourth year of math and a lab science are strongly recommended for your senior year. 
  10. Investigate summer programs, workshops, internships and camps in your community or on college campuses, and apply to any that interest you.
  11. Check with your counselor to decide if you should take the SAT Subject tests in any subjects that you will complete in your junior year. While it may not be required by some schools, it can give you a more competitive edge.
  12. Over the summer, prepare for the SAT or ACT by reading books with testing tips and sample questions. You can find these in the Counseling Office or libraries, or you can access them on the Internet. 

Preparing for College: 12th Grade


The final year of high school is also the beginning of your collegiate experience, from application to acceptance to planning ahead.

  1. Review your recent and current class schedule with your counselor to make sure that you have taken or are taking the college preparatory classes you need for admission to the schools of your choice.
  2. Strive for A's in all of your classes, and continue to form study groups and to do at least two to three hours of homework every night. The grades you earn in your senior year are extremely important.
  3. In early September, register for the SAT or the ACT.  Plan to register for these exams a month or two before the test date. You can see your counselor for a fee waiver.
  4. Continue your extracurricular activities. Find new ways to demonstrate leadership, persistence, thoughtfulness, creativity or some other special trait through your activities.
  5. Pay special attention to application deadlines, and mark them down on your personal calendar.
  6. Practice filling out your application on a photocopy of the application form, or practice filling out the online application before you submit it.
  7. In October, ask your teachers and counselors for recommendations. Give them enough time and background information about your activities to enable them to do a good job for you. Pick up a Senior Profile from your counselor and use this as a guide.
  8. Begin planning your college essay. The personal statement should include a brief autobiography, extracurricular activities and volunteer work, leadership, sports and club involvement, as well as future college aspirations, major,  and career intentions. Have a friend and teacher or counselor proofread.  Revise, revise, revise! 
  9. Take AP exams, which are usually given in May, for all AP subjects in which you enrolled and for which you have not already taken the tests.
  10. Be sure that your final high school transcript has been sent to your college. Your new school will review it to make certain you continued to maintain a strong academic record in the spring semester of your senior year.

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