How to Set Yourself Up For Success – Junior Year

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With the first two years of high school behind you, it’s time to embark on your junior year! This is arguably the most important year of your high school career as colleges will be paying attention to the grades you earn in your classes, the scores you achieve on the ACT and/or SAT, and the extracurricular activities you’re involved in. It may sound intimidating, but we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to set yourself up for success this year:

Prepare for and take the ACT/SAT

Your ACT/SAT scores are one of the most important factors when it comes to college applications, so you want to score well to ensure you have a better chance of getting accepted. You’ll register to take the exams during the spring semester of your junior year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start prepping now.

You can sign up to take the PSAT during the fall, which will give you a good indication of what areas you need to improve on. You can also enroll in a test prep course, which is designed to go over all the sections you’ll see on the tests. ASU Prep Digital offers this course and you can find it here.

Keep your grades up

It’s important to consistently have good grades each year, but the stakes get a little higher when you get to 11th grade. When you apply for colleges in the beginning of senior year, you’ll be sending your junior year transcript along with your application—and colleges can deny you entry if you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement. If you’ve been earning good grades consistently, maintain that momentum through junior and senior year. If you haven’t been performing as well as you’d like to, it’s not too late! This is the year to make strides in your academic career.

Enroll in college courses

One way you can make your college applications stand out next year is by enrolling in college courses during your junior year. Universities like to see that you can handle a more rigorous course load, and earning college credit while still in high school helps you save time and money before you even begin your freshman year. At ASU Prep Digital, full-time Arizona high school students are eligible to enroll in two university courses per semester through ASU, for free. Check out our college course catalog here.

Start thinking about potential majors

You might not be applying to college for another year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what you might want to study in college. Write down a few of your hobbies and look up majors that would allow you to further explore your interests. ASU Prep Digital students can explore different career pathways and enroll in college courses based on majors they’re interested in, such as engineering, business, or communication. Check out the different career pathways here.


Still looking for a school to enroll in? ASU Prep Digital is accepting applications until September 9 for students to begin a compressed semester starting on September 16. Schedule a call with an advisor and get started here.


How to Set Yourself Up For Success – Sophomore Year

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You’ve done it! You’ve made it through freshman year unscathed. No longer at the bottom of the totem pole, you’re eager to begin your sophomore year a little wiser, a bit more prepared and ready to slay the next chapter of high school! Conquering daily homework and heavy course loads during your freshman year was no small feat and neither are the upcoming challenges. Keep in mind that in order to grow, you must first have an end in mind. Here are some goals to reach for in sophomore year:

Discover new extracurricular activities

Now that you’ve learned how to balance your course load and social life, it’s a great time to start diversifying your interests. Not only will this introduce you to new ideas and social circles, but it will also give you quality material for your college résumé. These days, a high GPA and diploma might qualify you, but what makes you stand out is extracurricular activities. 

We recommend you focus this year on exploring these options and pick a few to dedicate your attention to. On campus, you could join an academic club, philanthropic organization or athletic team. Off campus, you could take on a part-time job, find an internship or volunteer in a community project. These are just a few examples; there are many more at your disposal. Engaging in extracurricular activities shows colleges that you are a hard-working, well-rounded and active member in your community.

Foster supportive friendships

Freshman year was most likely fueled by late nights, study sessions and new friendships. As your courses get harder and your free time becomes sparse, be considerate of the friendships you are nurturing. Friends that offer genuine love and support have your best interests at heart. They will get you through stressful courses and tough life lessons. 

Look for friends you can study and celebrate with. Be wary of those that never seem interested in anything but the next social event. The friendships you form now can impact the rest of high school, for better or worse, so surround yourself with friends who share the same goals and are making strides to achieve them. 

In the same respect, be a good friend to others. Encourage their successes and help them be the best versions of themselves. Who knows, some of these friends might be here for a lifetime if you choose wisely.

Master life skills

Right now, you probably live with your family. Perhaps you already wash your own laundry, clean your room and cook your own meals. That’s wonderful! However, if you haven’t developed a knack for cooking yet, now’s the time to start. In preparation for college, you should get a head-start on conquering these essential life skills so when you do live on your own, you can rely on yourself to get it done. There’s nothing more frustrating than learning the hard way that whites need to be separate from your colors! 

This is an exciting time. You get to meet new friends, discover new hobbies and learn about subjects that really matter to you. Take advantage of your position as a sophomore and get a head start on the things that will matter in the long-run: your extracurricular activities, your  friendships and life skills. You’ll be thankful later in life that you didn’t delay in working toward these goals. Have a wonderful sophomore year!

How to Set Yourself Up For Success – Freshman Year

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Congratulations—you’ve made it to your freshman year of high school! The next four years are going to be both exciting and challenging as you discover who you are and what you want your life to look like in college and beyond. Freshman year serves as the perfect opportunity to get yourself off on the right foot, and we’ve rounded up some tips you can use to set yourself up for success:

Invest in a daily planner.

One of the best ways to ensure success early on is to get yourself a daily planner. You’ll be able to keep track of all your assignments and tests, as well as any events or meetings. This will help you establish good time management habits and keep you organized as you navigate balancing a more rigorous course schedule with a social life. There are plenty of apps you can use to keep track of your schedule, including Pocket Schedule Planner. In this app, you can track all of your courses, assignments, and exams in one place, making it even easier to be organized!

Go easy on yourself.

Going from middle school to high school is a big transition and it can feel a bit daunting at first. Luckily, no one is expecting you to know everything right off the bat! Give yourself a little bit of time to get situated and find your groove so you can be successful both in and out of the classroom. At ASU Prep Digital, new students are paired with a Learning Success Coach who will assist them in not only creating a schedule that works for them, but also establishing a personalized work environment that will enable them to succeed. You can learn more about the role of an LSC here.

Develop SMART goals

You’ve probably been told to set goals for yourself before, but have you heard of SMART goals? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based. For example, instead of saying that one of your goals is to study more, you would make that a SMART goal by saying you will study every Tuesday and Thursday night for thirty minutes leading up to a test. Developing SMART goals will help you stay more focused and feel more accomplished, keeping you on track to succeed. But in order for these SMART goals to be effective, you also have to find ways to hold yourself accountable. Sharing your goals with your parent or Learning Success Coach is a great way to not only involve them in the process, but also have someone to check in with on a regular basis who will be able to steer you in the right direction if you’re having trouble.

Explore clubs

While it’s likely that you’ll make friends in your classes, you should also consider joining a club your freshman year. This is a great way to meet people who have similar interests and get involved in your school, giving you a stronger sense of community as you settle in for the next four years. Check out some of our favorite extracurricular activities for online learners here.

It might seem like a lot now, but you’ll be a high school pro before you know it! Still looking for a school to enroll in? ASU Prep Digital is still accepting applications for students to begin a compressed semester starting on September 3. Schedule a call with an advisor and get started here.

ASU Prep Digital Student Spotlight: Michael Scavuzzo

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Discover how Michael became an ASU Prep Digital student

Michael Scavuzzo was destined for a life on the go since before he turned one.

“He literally started to kick the soccer ball around when he learned how to walk,” Diane Scavuzzo, Michael’s mom, said. “He must’ve been around 11 months old.”

As soon as he was old enough to join a team, Michael started playing soccer. He immediately fell in love with the game and possessed a natural talent on the field.

The San Diego native has played in various leagues, traveling the world to train with professional soccer teams, including Manchester City, West Ham United, and BVB.

At the age of 15, Michael moved to Arizona to attend Barca Academy, the only U.S. Soccer Development Academy program in the country that offers a full-time residential program as part of their partnership with a top international professional team. The program also includes access to an on-site high school—ASU Preparatory Academy at Casa Grande.

“I really enjoyed the focus on learning with ASU Prep,” Michael said. “I enjoyed being in the classroom as much as I enjoyed being on the field.”

At the beginning of the year, Michael was scouted and invited to play for Sporting KC Academy, one of the top U.S. Soccer Development academies in the country. Knowing he couldn’t pass up this opportunity, Michael and his family began to explore academic options since leaving Barca Academy meant no longer being able to attend ASU Prep at Casa Grande.

Michael loved the personalized learning he had grown accustomed to at ASU. When he discovered he could enroll in ASU Prep Academy’s online high school and become an ASU Prep Digital student, the decision was a no-brainer.

“I feel the teachers want to know me and help me achieve my goals,” Michael said. “I’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA while juggling a rigorous training and traveling schedule. I know this wouldn’t be possible without the support and guidance from my amazing teachers at ASU Prep Digital and I can’t thank them enough.”

And his mom couldn’t agree more.

“The teachers are very involved and the discussion based assessments provide a real opportunity for the teachers to get to know their students,” Diane said. “We feel very lucky to be part of the ASU Prep Digital family.”

Michael has his sights set on becoming a professional soccer player and leading his country to victory in the World Cup someday. Until then, he’s looking forward to playing collegiate soccer while studying either marine biology or sports science.

We couldn’t be happier to have Michael as an ASU Prep Digital student and we’re excited to see where this next year takes him!


Be sure to check out some other student spotlights here.

ASU Prep Students Debunk Common Moon Misconceptions

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This past summer, ASU Preparatory Academy was selected by NASA eClips and the ASU Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX Center) to debunk common moon misconceptions. Six ASU Prep students were assembled and divided into two teams to complete the project.

The project allowed students to meet up both in person and virtually, giving them the opportunity to collaborate on campus and utilize ASU resources.

One team was tasked with disproving the common misconception that the moon does not rotate, resulting in us always seeing the same side:

The other team was tasked with the common misconception that the phases of the moon are caused by shadows cast on its surface by other objects in the solar system:

Using scientific knowledge, the two groups made videos to teach the correct science and ultimately debunk the misconceptions. Over the course of the project, students learned how to create a narrative, develop a storyboard, film segments, do voice-overs, and create descriptions of their scenes. The descriptions were coded and fed into SkySkan, a program that brings images to life and animates the provided descriptions.

With any project, there are bound to be obstacles to overcome.

“For a lot of the time the video was in production, the entire team was spread all over the country and editing together was a little difficult without in-person talks,” Max Gao, ASU Prep Digital senior, said.

But our students have the ability to persevere and make the best out of any situation.

“Despite all of those setbacks, we had a ton of support from mentors and great team members that really carried the project through to its awesome state,” Gao said.

And for one student, the experience was more than just a fun project.

“My greatest wish is that the project never ended,” Aza Tyszkowski, ASU Prep Digital sophomore, said. “If nothing else, it solidified my love of science and science communication!”



What A Day in the Life of an ASU Prep Digital Student Looks Like

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If you’re thinking about making the transition from traditional schooling to online learning at ASU Prep Digital, you’re probably curious as to what your day-to-day will consist of. Whether you choose to enroll part time or full time, you’ll have the tools you need to succeed every step of the way. Here’s what you can expect your day to look like as an ASU Prep Digital student:

Part Time:

Students who enroll part time take 1 to 3 courses with us, usually while still attending a traditional school. For each course, you’ll be spending about 4 hours per week between live lessons and working on your assignments. As a part-time student, you will typically start your ASU Prep Digital work by logging into your student dashboard to check for updates or messages from your learning success coach, teachers, or fellow students. It’s important that you take a minute to reply to those messages and check-in with your coach and teacher with any questions or concerns—then jump into some coursework. This can involve watching course videos, reading articles, reviewing course modules and working on outstanding lessons. Each week your teacher will host a live video forum which you can join or watch the recorded version at your convenience.

Full Time:

Students who enroll full time take 4 or more courses with us, dedicating an average of 5 hours per day on schoolwork. The best part? You get to choose your schedule. If you’re more of a morning person, get your school day started early. If you need a few more hours of rest before jumping in, start a little later and go until the early evening. Having the flexibility allows you to make time for other activities in your life, such as clubs or sports. Your daily routine consists of checking in with your learning success coach and teachers, as needed, to get a pulse on how your pacing your way through each course and working out the plan that you created at the beginning of the semester. You’ll balance your time between working through lessons, watching course videos and reading materials that relate to your subjects. You’ll have weekly live lessons with your teachers and you may even schedule a chat with them if you’re in need of additional help in a particular subject.

Being an ASU Prep Digital student is convenient and challenging, giving you a taste of what learning at the college level is like all from the comfort of your own home or favorite coffee shop.
Every day is different and affords you incredible opportunities to develop your leadership and critical thinking skills.

We can’t wait to welcome you into our community of learners. Get started today.

How High School Sports Prepare Students for the Future

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For students approaching graduation, a focus on high school sports may seem like nothing more than a distraction. However, participating in athletics (of all kinds) can help students gain unique experiences and learn valuable lessons that can be applied to their college careers and far beyond. In fact, research shows that students who compete in high school athletics earn higher salaries later in life.

Firstly, high school sports involvement can be a huge boon to the college admissions process.

More high school students apply to college now than ever before, which means schools are consistently flooded with strong applicants. At a time when a high GPA and impressive academic extracurriculars aren’t enough to guarantee students a spot at their top choice school, sports involvement can be a valuable differentiator. Active participation on a high school sports team, when paired with a solid academic resume, demonstrates to colleges that a student is well rounded and has developed passions and skills outside of the classroom. College admissions officers are particularly aware of students who serve as team captains, as it shows evidence of leadership skills.

Aside from being a great way to boost the quality of your college application, high school sports teach practical lessons that can be essential to succeeding in college. According to Elizabeth Chambers, co-founder of BIRD Bakery, participation in high school sports ingrained in her one of the golden rules of college as well as the professional world: show up on time.

“Being an athlete in high school teaches you to show up – no matter what,”

says Chambers in her interview with Entrepreneur Magazine. As a high school athlete, showing up late or missing a practice results in direct consequences, whether it be running laps or losing playing time. In college you may not have a coach to hold you directly accountable, but the consequences are just as dire – if not moreso. Fail to show up for class in college and you could be looking at a failing grade, loss of scholarship, or any number of academic repercussions. Participation in high school sports, where coaches and teammates consistently hold you to a high standard of being present and on time every day, is a great way to build the habits of timeliness, punctuality, and consistency that will be essential to your success in college and beyond.

Preparedness is an essential life skill, and one that requires experience to master. Luckily, high school sports offer weekly lessons on how disciplined preparation factors into success, on and off the playing field. All it takes is one late night or one indulgent meal before a big game to realize how a lack of discipline prior to game time can lead you to let yourself and your teammates down. There’s nothing worse than performing poorly for reasons you could have prevented, and that’s true in college life just as much as it is in athletic competition. In the same way that getting distracted or wasting energy right before a game can hinder your ability to perform, waiting until the night before to cram for a test or project will rarely get you the same results as studying early and often. Competitive sports offer frequent chances to hone and develop your preparedness, which goes a long way toward helping you live up to your full potential in college and beyond.

The list of valuable lessons that can be learned from participating in high school sports goes on and on. Team sports teach students how to work together to solve problems and achieve a common goal in more practical ways than a typical classroom setting can provide. And athletics of all types give high schoolers hands-on experience with the type of discipline, focus, and preparation that spell success in the “real world.” If you find yourself looking for ways to expand your skillset and prepare for what’s to come in college, consider joining a team!