2015 Winter Round Admission Exam for TJ is history. My students and a few thousand other students who took the test are now scrambling to get ready for the 2nd phase of the TJ Admissions Process. The 2nd phase requires a student to highlight his/her academic achievements and convey his/her passion for attending TJHSST primarily through his writing. The writing involves writing a couple of short essays and answers to specific questions. In speaking to my students and their parents over the years, I have commonly noticed that there is considerable confusion about what a students should and could do prepare for this. Since the SIS comprises entirely of written words, many parents incorrectly assume that a good writing teacher (or writing advice) is the most effective help for a student. Unfortunately this approach is not only lop-sided, it, often, is a dis-service to a student and can diminish his/her chance of admission to TJ. The real problem is that, to the student and to his/her parents, the fallacy of the approach is not obvious until it is too late; of course at that point, the only remaining option is to prepare and try for transfer to TJ in 10th grade.
So what can a prospective student do? Every prospective student must realize that it is impossible to determine the best way to prepare for the TJ SIS until your record of achievement has been carefully and objectively analyzed. You must realize that whether you perceive your record to be strong or weak, there are good and bad ways to present yourself to the admissions committee. SIS is important for all students, however, it is especially critical for students whose track record of achievements in math and science is less than optimal. Many students contact me every year after the test and say, “I don't have any math and science activities” and ask, “Do I still have a chance of getting accepted to TJ?” My answer always has been, “Yes.” While I cannot provide exact or specific advice I offer my students, because, prior to providing specific advice, I will need to understand your exact situation as defined not only by your grades, your activities, your passion for attending TJHSST, and your commitment to math and science, etc., I want you to understand that other than your school grades, your teacher recommendations and your TJ test performance, everything else can be polished and projected in a desirable light by you, provided you seek and heed appropriate expert advice. The most important thing you must realize is that good writing skills/advice is only one component of a god SIS response; even more important is the content of an SIS response. Failing to realize the value of significant and persuasive content in SIS is the most significant mistake, students, especially those who need it the most, make in “preparing” for the SIS responses.