Winter Guidance News Specific to Juniors

End of First Semester

With the end of term 2/semester 1, junior students will have their current GPAs reported for the first time. Weighted and Unweighted GPAs will be available based upon 10th grade and first semester of 11th grade, and will be found in Naviance prior to February school vacation.

Course Selection

Students will be reviewing course options for next year in the coming months. This presents an excellent time to talk with your children about their interests, abilities, talents, and future aspirations. Encourage them to consider the most beneficial selection of courses in light of their future plans. It is important that they create a schedule that ensures their eligibility for the type of higher education/post-secondary path they seek, allows them to explore different academic and elective interests, and keeps in mind the necessity for maintaining a balance in their lives among academic, extracurricular, family, and work obligations.

PSAT Results Returned

If your eleventh grader took the PSAT exam in October, he or she should have received their PSAT score by now. Students can access their score by creating an account on using the same email they provided on their PSAT answer sheet. If your child needs assistance in interpreting his or her score, please encourage them to make an appointment with their counselor to review. This year marks the first year that The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy as the official provider of free, authorized SAT preparation materials. There is a link to access the Khan Academy SAT prep site directly from your son or daughter’s College Board account. We strongly urge students to access this free resource

National Merit Scholarship Competition

Based on their selection index (the sum of the verbal score, the math score, and the writing score), juniors with the highest scores (the top 0.5% of scorers in each state) will go into competition for the National Merit Scholarships. In September, 2016 about 15,000 National Semifinalists will be named. Later that month, the next 35,000 high scorers across the country will receive Letters of Commendation, but will not continue further in the competition for Merit Scholarships. More specific information on the National Merit Competition is available in the PSAT information students received in October.


Please note: Deadlines for the March, May, and June SAT are approaching on February 5th, April 8th, and May 5th respectively. Students should register online at for their desired test date(s) as soon as possible to reserve a seat at the Newton South test center. Student planning to take the ACT at Newton North on either April 9th or June 11th have deadlines of March 4th and May 6th respectively.

Initial Stages

Often, the return of PSAT scores to students stimulates their thinking about the road ahead. Many juniors are deep in thought about their lives after high school and what post-secondary option might be right for them. For some students this will be a four-year college. For others, they may be interested in a two-year college. Others still may want to pursue technical training, work, or military service.

Engage your son or daughter in conversations about what their hopes are for after high school, but be aware that this is their life and choice and it is important not to pass judgment on their preferred plan. Even if their plans differ from your plans for them, it is important to allow this to be your child’s choice to make. Counselors will be having these conversations with juniors as well, and you should feel free to make an appointment with your child and their counselor to assist in the process.

If you plan to do any college visiting this year, the best times may be during February or April vacations as classes will be in session, as opposed to during the summer, when the student population is scarce and not necessarily representative.

College & Career Center/College Planning Guide

The Newton South College Planning Guide is available to all families online. Hard copies of the guide are available for sale for $5.00 in the NSHS College & Career Center. Students and families can access Mrs. Sabet in the College & Career Center in addition to their child’s guidance counselor to assist in college planning throughout the spring and into senior year.

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