AJ Tutoring Blog

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How to Prepare Your Middle Schooler for High School!


How can 7th graders get ready to apply to schools next year? 

A lot of 7th graders and their families reach out to us asking questions about the private high school admissions journey. They watch their 8th grade friends go through the process, and start to wonder about what their own will look like next year. It can also raise anxieties about how to make yourself as attractive as possible to private schools.

The good news is that there’s still time! Seventh grade is a hugely important year for high school applications. It’s the last full year of grades that will appear on transcripts, so academic performance really matters. It’s also a great opportunity to start thinking about how to bulk out your application outside of school. Extracurricular activities, community service experiences, and religious and/or cultural involvement are all great ways to set yourself apart!

So how do I find those things?

Before you get too far, make sure you’re staying true to yourself and your values and interests. It’s abundantly clear when kids are involved in things just for the sake of being involved to beef up a resume. Remember, your application tells a story. Think about what story yours should tell.

Once you figure out what message you want to present to the schools, choose activities that are in line with that message. We’ve put some ideas below, but you might be surprised to find that you already have quite a bit to include!

Impress Academically

There are lots of ways to flex your intelligence and interest in learning beyond good grades

  • Participate in a competition! 
    • AJ is hosting the American Math Competition (8) on January 17th – we can even help you prepare
    • There are lots of short story and poetry competitions, art competitions, and more
  • Apply to a summer program
    • Check out academic-based summer camps
    • Look into renowned summer programs like the Johns Hopkins CTY courses
  • Show interest in a specific subject by visiting local organizations
    • Get a tour of the Stanford labs
    • Attend a talk at your library by an author

Give Back

There are countless organizations that you can get involved with that align with your interests

  • Into sports? Volunteer as an assistant coach or donate equipment to low income schools
  • Love academics? Help tutor younger kids after school
  • Passionate about animals? Reach out to local shelters or start a drive to collect needed supplies
  • Worried about the environment? Participate in a beach cleanup or write letters to elected officials

Be Smart This Summer

The summer between 7th and 8th grade is a great opportunity to create noteworthy experiences for your applications. 

  • Go to a camp that will help you get better at something you love
  • Find a local organization to volunteer at one day on your vacation
  • Work as a junior lifeguard or counselor in training
  • Build a computer or write a book of short stories

As you can see, there are nearly infinite possibilities to strengthen your application, while accurately representing yourself. The goal should be to find things you enjoy doing, not things you think will make you seem super elite. Give us a call if you have any questions or get stuck along the way!


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