Sarah: a Grade 9 Guidance Success Story

How the Vested Academics Team guided a 9th grader toward an enjoyable high school experience and more college options

How It All Started

Sarah’s parents had mixed feelings about college planning. On the one hand, they were put off by the idea of anything that might pressure their daughter to think perfect grades or an elite education were the only roads to success. However, on the other hand, they had witnessed the regret that can come with an absence of quality high school guidance.

As with most parents, they had given their oldest child, Kevin, a lot of freedom during his high school career. Coming out of middle school, he had grades that landed him in some advanced classes. He even played varsity football during his sophomore year.

Yet, despite their best efforts to get him to try something outside his comfort zone, Kevin refused to participate in anything other than football. Prioritizing his practices and games over everything else, he let his grades slip. And, while a solid player, he had no real chance of being recruited—a conversation that his parents had avoided initiating.

When the summer leading into Kevin’s senior year rolled around, the college search process was incredibly stressful. Mediocre grades, poor class selection, and few extracurriculars severely limited his options. Unfortunately, his experience was so bad at his chosen school he ended up coming home after one semester of college, after which he transferred to an out-of-state private school the following fall.

With all that unnecessary frustration and wasted time and money behind them, Sarah’s parents were determined to do things differently with their daughter. That’s when they came to Vested Academics.

Parent Perspective

  • Gave their oldest child too little guidance
  • Wanted to offer Sarah more college options
  • Didn’t want to pressure her to be perfect

Sarah’s Perspective

  • Felt a little nervous about starting high school
  • Solid grades but not very outgoing
  • Liked science and art classes

How the Vested Academics Team Helped Sarah and Her Parents

Devoted Consultant—After an initial meeting with Sarah and her parents, we matched her family with the right member of our College Coaching Team. From there, her consultant created a rough high school timeline for Sarah, highlighting significant events (like standardized tests, the college search, and application processes) as well as a tentative class schedule.

Quarterly Check-Ins—By connecting with her college consultant during 9th and 10th grade, Sarah and her parents received advice on extracurricular options, volunteer programs, and class guidance.

Learning Support—Like most students, Sarah had a little trouble with one or two classes during her freshman and sophomore years. However, instead of letting it affect her GPA, her college consultant reached out to our Learning Support Team. After a few months of one-on-one subject tutoring support, Sarah was not only back on track but thriving academically.

Early Test Prep—Recognizing that Sarah often struggled with test anxiety, her college consultant recommended she take a slow, steady approach to test prep. By beginning her test prep over her 9th-grade summer, Sarah filled several learning gaps that served her well throughout her high school career.

College Visits—At the advice of her college consultant, Sarah and her parents took occasional trips to college campuses. These leisurely visits led Sarah to develop a better sense of the campus sizes, academic programs, and social offerings that would make her happy. Additionally, having completed the bulk of the research by the middle of Sarah’s junior year, the family avoided the stress that comes with a rushed college search.

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The Result

With professional, consistent guidance from her Vested Academics consultant, Sarah was able to get support when she needed it, make changes, and adapt. Her parents noticed that, with her academics covered, Sarah was free to explore her interests, leading to several new hobbies, like sculpture and drawing, as well as skills, including graphic design and American sign language.

Her consultant even got her to venture outside of her comfort zone and join the debate team and regularly volunteer at her local animal shelter—the latter of which led to Sarah’s interest in veterinary medicine.

During the college search and application processes, they were surprised by how seamless everything was. The gradual approach felt natural. It was more like a series of low-pressure discussions rather than the heavy, heated discussions they had when their son applied. And, when they did have questions, Sarah’s parents knew they could rely on the advice of their family’s college consultant. She had been there the entire time.

At the end of high school, with her number-one-college-choice acceptance in hand, Sarah was excited to move on to the next phase of her academic journey. Planning on becoming a veterinarian, Sarah had a bright future on the horizon. Her parents couldn’t have been happier.

In Her Own Words

“She became part of our family. I remember we’d talk about things, my parents and me, about grades or college. Basically if it had anything to do with school, one of us would end up texting her. She always knew what to say or how to fix things or who to ask for help. I still text her.

Sarah
College Sophomore

Next Steps

Whether your child is in eighth grade or entering their junior year of high school, the ECP consultants on the Vested Academics College Coaching Team offer families guidance and support throughout the entire college planning process. Contact Our Team to learn more.

Attend our classes and events on this topic. From webinars to in-person events, guest speakers to professional instruction, our events calendar is filled with outstanding resources for parents and students alike. Go to the Events Calendar.

With nearly twenty years of experience as an educator, Jennifer Chase has developed a natural ability to meet individual students at their level, helping them find confidence while working toward their goals.

More about Jen C.

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