Recap: MEK’s 40 Month Project to College Admissions Success

Recap: MEK’s 40 Month Project to College Admissions Success

Recap: MEK’s 40 Month Project to College Admissions Success

MEK hosted our 40-Month Project to College Admissions Success seminar as part of our Build Your Dream Workshop, Saturday, April 20th at the Clinton Inn in Tenafly, NJ.

We were excited to share our wealth of information regarding MEK’s 40-Month Project with all of our participants. But in case you missed the workshop, we wanted to give you the detailed highlights to help you on your college admissions journey!

The 40-Month Project to College Admissions Success

Did you know: there are a total of 40 months from the first day of 9th grade to the submission of regular decision college applications in 12th grade.

Only having 40 months means that every day counts! However, these 40 months need to be approached like a marathon that requires planning, practice, and patience. Just like in a marathon, every mile of your 40 month journey will require you to focus on different areas. You’ll need to stretch and plan and dream. And you’ll need to set goals and reflect.

Our 40-Month Project sets students up with a detailed, step-by-step plan that takes them through each month of their high school career to build their college admissions portfolio. But what does your 40 months to college admissions success look like?

An Overview of Your 40 Month Project Plan

Our 40-Month Project ensures that you are building toward your goal every day of your high school career. The timeline above gives you a breakdown of when you should be focusing on each of the core aspects that comprise your college admissions package.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the 40 month plan!

Before the Marathon

The Summer Before 9th Grade: July – August

The summer before your 9th grade year is a time to prepare for what’s in store come September.


You’re starting your high school career with a blank slate. So, your goal for the summer should be to learn the beginning half of your 9th grade English, Math, and Science curricula.


Starting your studies of the curriculum before you even set foot in the classroom means that you’re giving yourself valuable time for other important aspects of your life in high school. You’ll have more time to:

    • Adjust to your new environment
    • Learn how to engage in your new classes
    • Build new relationships with friends and teachers


Most importantly, you’ll be able to focus on how you perform in your classes, rather than sinking all of your time and energy into learning new material.

Remember, YOUR GPA IS NOT REVERSIBLE. Give yourself the opportunity to start the year off strong by using the summer to study the content you’ll be learning in September. You’ll set yourself up for that 4.0, and then the goal is simply to maintain it.


How can you prepare?

With MEK, our summer course curriculum teaches you 65% of the Regular and Honors curriculum you’ll be learning in school. 

You’ll walk into September have content knowledge for:

Starting the Race

9th Grade: Months 1-10

At the beginning of your freshman year of high school, you want to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. How can you do that?

Set Your Pace

Focus on getting your academic bearings. Doing well in school is the utmost priority. So, it’s essential that you build a strong foundation while setting high academic and extracurricular standards for yourself.

First Impressions

First impressions last a lifetime. Make good first impressions on teachers and counselors from the very beginning. These are the people that will help you along your path and will be valuable resources as you encounter questions and obstacles on the journey.

Explore Possibilities

Try whatever extracurricular activities you can to explore your boundaries. What do you enjoy? Jump in – don’t be afraid to expand your potential!

Build Good Habits

Build good study skills that will take you through the rest of high school. Practice time management.

Case Study: Meet Emily

School: Bergen County Academies

Academy: Academy for Business and Finance

Interests: Business & Community Service

Emily met with her MEK counselor to start her 40 month project the summer before her 9th grade year at BCA, wanting to make a concrete plan for how she could make the most of her time at BCA/ABF.

As a 9th grader, the goal was to set a strong foundation for Emily’s GPA, get her started in extracurricular activities based on her interests, and begin SAT Prep.

With this plan in place, Emily was able to take her 9th grade year by storm! She ended the year with a 4.0 GPA, participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, including founding a non-profit organization, and began her SAT Prep in the Spring of 9th grade with a plan to continue her SAT Prep with MEK and to volunteer at the NY Math Museum during the summer.

Q: When should students start thinking about SAT or ACT Prep?

Now! Getting a headstart on SAT or ACT Prep is essential to giving students time to build the skills, strategies, and stamina that equate to top scores. The more time students have to progress, the higher their score will be come test time.

Q: Is it better to take harder classes and risk a low GPA or take easier classes for a higher GPA?

It’s always better to take harder classes because there will be more room for you to grow. Harder classes show admissions officers that you are hardworking, dedicated, and up for a challenge. Don’t be afraid of the work or how it will impact your GPA. You’ll get more from a difficult class.

Getting Ready for the Long Haul

10th Grade: Months 11-22

Now that you’ve completed 9th grade and are preparing for 10th grade, it’s time to settle in for the long haul. This is where some students can lose their momentum and falter. However, with a plan, you can keep steady and see progress.

Pick Up Your Pace

Increase your course rigor and explore your potential academic passions through electives and honors/AP courses.

Dig Deeper

Explore narrower but deeper interests, diving into more detailed aspects of wide-spectrum fields. Take this time to pursue leadership opportunities.

Reflect on Interests

What are your academic and personal passions? How do you want to explore them further?

Prepare Early

Master the content of the SAT/ACT and take your first official SAT test. Prepare now to save time later.

Case Study: Meet Noah

School: Bergen County Academies

Academy: Academy for Technology & Computer Science

Interests: Computer Science

Noah came to his MEK counselor during the summer before 10th grade with a low 9th grade GPA and recovering from a video game addiction that negatively impacted his GPA and participation in extracurricular activities. The overarching question for the creation of his plan was, “How can I redeem myself?”

As an incoming 10th grader, the goal was to start SAT Prep with shorter milestones to mark progress, enter coding competitions and design a research project as his personal project, and create a club with friends aligned to his personal interests.

With this plan in place, Noah was able to redeem himself tenfold! He ended the year with a 4.0 GPA and cumulative GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0, founded a Coding Club, tutored, and worked on various website projects with the faculty at his school. His SAT Prep led to a 1540 composite score and a plan to spend the summer traveling and working on personal projects.

Case Study: Emily

School: Bergen County Academies

Academy: Academy for Business and Finance

Interests: Business & Community Service

What about Emily’s 40 month plan?

By the end of 10 grade, Emily had earn a 4.0 GPA both cumulatively and for the school year, participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports, Class Council, performed local outreach, and took her first official SAT with a plan to take the test again October of 11th grade. During the summer, Emily planned to use her time to continue her SAT Prep with MEK, participate in a finance internship, and travel to Cambodia for her Non-Profit Organization.

The Middle Miles

11th Grade: Months 23-34

11th grade is the time to keep your pace. This is the year when you’re solidifying your SAT and ACT scores, putting the finishing touches on your extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, and internships, and starting to research which colleges you’ll want to apply to the following year.

Stay Focused

Don’t slow down! Slowing down will make you stop moving forward. Resilience is key during 11th grade as you approach the light at the end of the tunnel of all your hard work.

Prioritize Your Time

Be decisive about your priority of extracurricular activities and take out anything that is insignificant.

Set Yourself Apart

Pursue high-intensity exposure to areas of academic interest and consider taking on a passion project.

Finish What You Can

Use this time to complete your standardized test score portfolio.

Case Study: Meet Jess

School: Private Boarding School (Transferred from Private Day School)

Interests: None

Jess came to her MEK counselor during the summer before 11th grade with a perfect GPA, a perfect SAT score, and no interests because she was pretty much good at everything. We took the 40 month project and created a strategic college admissions plan.

Because Jess had a competitive GPA and SAT score but no idea about her passions or interests and no involvement in extracurriculars, we decided the best course of action was for Jess to…read.

Her counselor gave her a list of non-fiction books to read that would fill her mind with thoughts regarding a variety of topics from all sorts of subjects. Instead of participating in already formed clubs, Jess would form her own clubs that aligned with her personal interests. Throughout this exploratory period, Jess would keep a journal to reflect on what she was learning and to check in with her counselor to discuss the development of her new ideas. 

With this plan in place, Jess was able to come out of 11th grade on top with a passion for philosophy! She ended the year with a 100/100 GPA cumulatively and for the school year, founded three clubs, and participated in various research projects. She finished test prep and scored a 1590 on the SAT and planned to spend the summer preparing for college admissions by visiting different campuses of the schools to which she wanted to apply and getting her portfolio together. On top of that, she was going to continue to pursue her love of philosophy through a research project.

Case Study: Noah

School: Bergen County Academies

Academy: Academy for Technology & Computer Science

Interests: Computer Science

As the school years progressed, so did Noah! He continued to work on his passions and worked in a programming internship. He worked part time as a waiter at a restaurant, tutored his peers in math, conducted Robotics research, and continued the Coding Club that he founded.

A far cry from where he was when he started his 40 months.

By the end of 11th grade, Noah had earned a 4.0 GPA for the year with a cumulative GPA of 3.82, finished his test prep with a composite SAT score of 1540, and planned to spend the summer before 12th grade preparing for college admissions, and continuing his programming internship.

Case Study: Emily

School: Bergen County Academies

Academy: Academy for Business and Finance

Interests: Business & Community Service

Emily’s 11th grade year was filled with activities as she continued to pursue her non-profit. She participated in DECA, student government, and sports. But her priorities lied with her non-profit where she performed local outreach, began writing a book, and pursued economic research.

She ended the year with a 4.0 GPA both cumulatively and for the school year, finished test prep, and earned a composite SAT score of 1540.

During the summer before 12th grade, Emily planned to go deeper into her Non-Profit passions by expanding her non-profit, traveling to India, expanding her local outreach, and preparing for college applications.

The Finish Line

12th Grade: Months 35-40

You’re in the home stretch! These next five months as you put together your admissions portfolio for the colleges you’re applying to is a BUSY time. Make sure you’re keeping track of deadlines and checklists of the paperwork you need to submit.

When the finish line is in sight, don’t slow down! Keep your pace and run through the finish line. Take everything you’ve accomplished in the last 40 months and package it into the perfect college application.

How did Emily, Noah, and Jess do?

Emily was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania’s Huntsman Program in International Study, she was 1 of 45 students accepted to the program across the world!

Noah was accepted to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Computer Science!

Jess was accepted to Georgetown University, majoring in Philosophy.

Habits You Can Build Now

What habits can you work on now to start enacting your own 40 month plan?

  1. Read – as much as you can on a variety of topics and from a variety of genres. You never know what you’re going to learn or become passionate about.
  2. Build Your College List Now – Do your research! What are your dream schools? What does it take to get into those schools? 
  3. Set Goals and Reflect Regularly – Setting goals is a great way to see your progress, hit milestones, and mark the end of one task to begin another. Reflecting on your process is equally as important so you know what worked for you and what bad habits you can do less of.

Get Started

No matter where you are on your 40 month journey, MEK has what you need to guide you on your path.

Get a head start or continue your prep with our Summer 2024 SAT Prep and High School Honors program for top scores and top grades.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Discount for Summer 2024 when you register for Exam Prep 8! Save 15% off when you put down a $300 deposit by May 4th. Pay in full by May 4th to receive an additional 5% discount. Click here to register!

Call us at 855-346-1410 to learn more! We look forward to hearing from you!

MEK Review

MEK Review is the top learning center in North Jersey, dedicated to helping students of all ages begin an incredible success story. With our guidance, students have gained acceptances into the best schools in the country, earned top test scores, prepared for difficult admission tests, and transformed into their best selves in the classroom. To find your perfect solution, explore our programs or book your free consultation with an expert counselor!


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