Extracurricular Focus: Band



What can I do with band?

Concert Band – First Chair, Section Leader, Student Director

Marching Band – Various Leadership Positions (Section Leader, Drum Major, Captains, etc.)

Awards/Honors – Solo & Ensemble, All-State, High School Band Awards, etc.

Organization: Tri-M Music Honor Society (Join, or Found your own chapter)

Outside of Band: Pit Orchestra for local shows, perform shows for hospitals and nursing homes, perform for events and charity organizations, etc.


Sample Freshman Schedule

Academics, Uncategorized

For a Full-Year Schedule:

Science: Honors Biology/Chemistry

Social Studies: AP Human Geography

Math: (Depends on level) Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II

English: Honors English

Elective: Honors Language (Of Your Choice not including ASL)

Elective: Band, Debate, Theatre, HOSA, Leadership, Etc. (Main Extracurricular Focus)

Elective: Second Extracurricular Focus or Necessary Graduation Requirement (Gym, etc.)

Letters of Success #2

Letters of Success

Nicole R.

College: Eckerd College

Major: Psychology

In Florida, it’s hard to believe that everyone doesn’t either go to UCF, UF, FSU, or UM for their university experience. It seems like every store only sells merchandise related to these schools and no others. For Nicole, it was hard to believe that any other schools existed!

Yet, private colleges in Florida can be just as great as one of the more popular schools depending on the major you’re looking for. For Nicole, she wanted to focus on Marine Science and Marine Psychology. The best program for this would be found in a school near Tampa that she hadn’t yet heard of or even thought about.

Nicole, like many other students, was dead set on a different school before her parents insisted that she take a look at Eckerd College. Eckerd had the best program for Marine Science, which Nicole found intriguing. She was reluctant (to say the least) to even tour Eckerd when the time came. But, she was certainly glad she did. She fell in love with Eckerd, and the rest was history.

So, how did Nicole get into Eckerd? Well, Nicole had an interesting resume. She started off high school doing concert band and marching band and pursued this all four years. She noted that dedication was key to her because it would show commitment in her college resume. Furthermore, Nicole balanced this with cheerleading. She wasn’t able to do Varsity cheerleading because of the time conflicts with her marching band. She recalls having to jump across the bleachers in her cheer uniform during football games down onto the field during halftime to perform a marching band show while everyone else was in their marching band uniforms just so she could do both. Yet, to her, it was all worth it.

As for the SAT, Nicole admits that she didn’t study as hard as she wanted to for the test. She used a few study books but didn’t emphasize the test enough because she didn’t know how to study for the test. She felt that her experience in high school didn’t allow her to develop a good study method. Nicole recommends that students don’t slack off their first year of high school and begin working hard towards standardized testing as early as possible. She also notes that not taking freshman year seriously can cause one’s GPA to tank and that a GPA regrettably doesn’t go up as easy as it goes down.



Letters of Success #1

Letters of Success

Taylor M. 

College: Florida Institute of Technology

Future Major: Forensic Psychology

Taylor M. had wanted to be a pre-school teacher in high school. So much so that she decided that she would take early childhood education courses taught at her high school. By the end of the course, Taylor would get her teaching certification for pre-school students. It seemed like her future was certain.

Yet, things took a turn for Taylor when she decided she wanted to research (on her own) Forensic Psychology. Her interest peaked in the subject after watching Criminal Minds. It is safe to say that TV sometimes can change your life. While she googled forensic psychology schools in Florida, she found the one.

Florida Institue of Technology was the ONLY school in Florida that offered the major that she wanted. On the bonus side, FIT was close enough to home for her to be able to visit on weekends. Telling her parents, they told her to think about it. The following day at school, they took a college matching test, and FIT was her number one result. That’s when she knew it was meant to be.

Overall, Taylor thinks that high schools don’t do enough to tell students what to do as far as getting into college and applying for college. They simply “don’t tell you what to do”.  Taylor didn’t study for standardized tests. She felt as if she never had the time and wasn’t motivated to do it. Her school didn’t make an effort to emphasize the importance of studying for standardized testing to the students. This, combined with not having a group to study with or to keep her motivated, is where Taylor feels she fell short. “If I had a group of friends to study with, I probably would have tried more,” She says. She also noted that she didn’t get the score she wanted, yet she believes that her score ultimately got her into FIT, which was important to her.

Taylor participated in the band in high school. She did marching band and concert band all four years. She held leadership positions such as Percussion Captain. She felt that this really showed her dedication to colleges. She also continued with her early childhood classes, because she wanted to show continuity to her resume despite changing career paths in high school. Outside of school, Taylor did dance competitions on a dance team and worked the summers as a camp counselor. To Taylor, she wouldn’t change a thing.

As far as the struggles and advice she would give, Taylor said that staying organized and filing all her important documents since the beginning of high school kept her grounded. She recommends file folders that you can organize your tests, quizzes, important report cards, AP scores, etc. This portfolio helped her apply for colleges and remember her achievements. Her biggest struggle so far has been figuring out how to pay for college. As an expensive private school, Taylor is on the hunt to find school loans that will help her pay for her college tuition. She plans on holding a job to help pay for the costs while she is there.

How can I get letters of reccomendation from my teachers?


This can be a tricky process. Not to worry! We have the advice to get you great letters, but only if you are willing to work for it!

Our best piece of advice would be to plan out which teachers you want to get your letters from early on. Say you seem to get along great with you English teacher and you are doing really well in that class. This might be the time to attend after school sessions with the teacher once in a while, stop by to say hi and chat, and generally seek guidance from. While you are in class, offer to read that passage aloud to them, volunteer to run down to the office, or sign up to help decorate the classroom. That way, you are building a relationship with this person as opposed to randomly asking for a letter when you barely said two words to them all year.

Furthermore, think about timing. Say this teacher is someone you have only for your sophomore year. Well, you can’t drop off the face of the earth and then go strolling by two years later looking for a letter of recommendation. Teachers have plenty of students and they aren’t going to remember every last detail about you (Sorry to break it to you!). So, be sure that you stop by their office, email them, and CONTINUE to build a relationship with them. Maybe join a club that they sponsor at school, etc.

There is also the option to be a rock star at that subject. Say you want a letter of recommendation from your drama teacher. You can easily be the shining star in your teacher’s eyes if you win all the awards and get superiors on your performances. If you prove your talents and are a good student overall, there is no way your teacher won’t want to write you a letter!

Remember, you don’t have to be the best in the class to get a letter from your teacher. The foundation of a great letter of recommendation is one that is based on a great relationship with your teacher. Prove yourself to them, and they will vouch for you!

I need to drop out of one of my AP classes… how bad will this look on my transcript?


Not as bad at you think. From experience speaking to our students, we have learned that many students have done this in the past and it has not affected their chances at a great college acceptance letter coming in the mail! One student, for example, had to be placed in an Honors Biology class as opposed to an AP Biology class due to the rigor of the course. She wasn’t able to handle the balance of school, her part-time job, and her leadership positions. She was able to receive an A in her Honors Biology class and her GPA and transcript still looked stellar.

Our advice if you are having these thoughts? Speak to your guidance counselor and see if this is an option for you. We doubt that you can switch out of the class on the last semester of school, but it is worth a shot if you are feeling buyers remorse early on in the school year.

What can be considered a leadership position?

Q&A, Uncategorized

Leadership positions and those opportunities can vary depending on where you live and which school you attend. Yet, the concept is similar.

Great leadership positions for your resume often involve those that are considered the top ranks: President, Captain, Director, etc. These can often make the biggest impact on how colleges see you. You can even be more specific depending on the role you handled as long as you can describe what you did during this role on your application and show the impact you made and the commitment you made to the role.

Other leadership positions could be cabinet positions: treasurer, secretary, liaison, ambassador, vice-president, etc.

Furthermore, you can have positions specific to certain organizations: Drum Major, Woodwind Captain, Debate Coach, Theater Dance Leader, etc.

A leadership position is essentially a title given to you/assigned to you for an action that you are responsible for doing. So as long as you have a name for it and you can effectively describe what you did in this role, you should be good to go!

Regular courses versus Honors versus AP… what’s the difference on my GPA?


This can be a tricky scale to balance when it comes to building a resume. In personal experience, I chose to take a regular band class for all four years of high school that was horrendous for my GPA… yet, it provided me with a great resume builder particularly because I took the class for four years and excelled in it as a member of the top band and participated in band leadership/marching band. So, it depends on you.

AP courses trump Honors courses and Honors courses trump Regular. This is all dependent on your grades as well. So don’t assume a D in an AP class is better off than a B in an Honors course.

A lot of extracurriculars including band, theater, art, etc. may be regular courses for a period of time or for the entirety of your high school experience. What you should NOT do is take random regular elective courses once a year and assume that colleges will look well upon you. This won’t show commitment. Choose to take art for all four years, theater for all four, or band etc. Show that even though it was a regular class/elective, that you intended to be there because you were dedicated to it. NOT, because it was easy.

Core classes such as math, science, social studies, and English should be taken honors or AP if possible. If not, intend to show commitment to these regular classes.


Everyone around me is taking AP Classes, but I’m not sure if I can handle them. What should I do?


If you feel as if you can’t handle the course work that these classes require, it is best that you don’t gamble your GPA on a course that you know if above your current academic level. However, it is also important to distinguish whether or not you can’t handle the level of difficulty, or if you just don’t WANT to handle it.

If possible, ask students who are older than you which AP classes were difficult because of the workload or because of the concepts behind the class. You should know yourself and what you can handle. Even if you would dread writing those practice essays for AP English Langauge or reviewing those AP Spanish Vocab flashcards, would you still be able to get an A or a B in the class? If so, then your best bet is to take the course. Don’t be lazy with AP courses. They can make or break what your GPA can become and many top colleges prefer a hefty load of AP courses (if taken with good grades of course).


How Do I Know What School to Go To?


This is a question that’s certainly important when considering the topic of college. You should choose your school based on three major points: the academic level of the school, the financial aspect of attending the school, and more importantly, the school’s reputation/campus/overall likeability to you.

It is important to choose a school where you will have the best academic resources possible for your desired major. We wouldn’t recommend attending a school that specializes in Engineering for a student who really wants to study music. It simply wouldn’t make sense. Furthermore, you want your school to provide you with internship opportunities and connections that will help you find jobs and get into graduate programs for those who wish to continue their education even further.

Financing your education is also important because, without the money to attend, there is no way you can attend! Which schools will offer scholarships? Which schools have grants? Which schools can get you access to private scholarships? Consider the above in your decision.

Finally, the overall message of the school. If you have narrowed your options down and have two schools that are similar on financial and academic levels, you have to decide which school is the one you want to spend four years at. Do you want a big school or a small school? Are you inclined to attend sports games or would you much rather study in one of the campuses large libraries? The choice is simply yours.