For first time parents, the unknowns about academic deadlines can be stress inducing. In this section, we aim to alleviate some of that stress by alerting you to potential milestones for which you may want to prepare.

Conversely, we hope that by knowing when major deadlines are, you won’t over prepare and stress out months or even years before you should! Below is a timeline of events that may or may not apply to your child.

If

You want your child to attend a private school, many schools will start accepting children as young as two years old. ​

Then

  • Start researching schools and preparing applications before your child’s second birthday.
  • Applications are usually due in the January of the calendar year that your child will matriculate.
  • Expect to submit your child to a battery of IQ tests such as the WPPSI. ​

If

You want your child to attend a private or select public school for elementary school.

Then

Prepare your application for submission by January of the planned matriculation year. ​

If

You want your child to attend a private or select public middle school.

Then

  • Prepare your application for submission by January of the planned matriculation year.
  • Prepare for the ISEE standardized test.

If

You want your gifted and talented child to participate in Duke University’s TIP summer programs, seventh grade is the first year that many students will take the SAT and/ or ACT to qualify for this opportunity. ​

Then

  • Register for the Duke Talent Identification Program national talent search and sign-up to take the SAT or ACT.
  • Students scoring in the top 10% by grade level generally qualify for the program’s highest recognition.

If

You want your child to attend a private or application- based high school, summer and fall of the 8th grade year is about preparing apps. It’s very hard to gain admittance after 9th grade.

Then

  • For private schools, register for ISEE and/or HSPT admissions tests.
  • Applications are generally due by early January of the matriculation year for both private and public schools. ​

If

You want to get ahead on college entrance exams, students may take the Practice SAT (PSAT) and the Practice ACT (PLAN) for the first time. This exam is actually a “practice, practice” exam since the doesn’t actually count scholarship awards recognition until 11th grade.

Then

  • Relax, if your school offers these exams, your child will be automatically enrolled and given the test during a normal school day.
  • 9th and 10th grades are the calm years before the storm of college applications! ​
  • The best thing your child can do at this point is to focus on good grades.

If

You want to be a good candidate for a selective college.

Then

  • Study for the PSAT for the National Merit Scholarship.
  • Do some serious reading or consult a college counselor about getting ready for college.
  • Take an SAT or ACT the spring of your Junior year as a “diagnostic” to see how you do and start preparing in earnest.
  • Step up community service and other resume building activities

If

You want to go to college, you’ll need to submit most of your applications by early January before your high school graduation.

Then

  • Start preparing applications the summer before senior year.
  • Many Texas schools offer rolling admissions, so you want to get your application in early before all the spots are taken up.

If

You’re not ready to go to college.

Then

Take a Gap Year.

  • While not admittedly that popular in the United States, some students may want and really benefit from taking some time to think about what they want out of life.
  • Popular activities include living/ working/ volunteering abroad.
  • Try to research and apply to Gap Year programs before January of your matriculation year.
  • You can also complete college applications senior year as usual and, if accepted, likely defer matriculation for a year. ​

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