College and career planning increases in GISD

In an effort to better prepare students for the future, Garland ISD increased its college and career planning initiatives beginning in 2013-14. Every October, 10th and 11th-graders take the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) at school for free. Eighth and ninth-graders, who took a career exploration exam for two years, also now take the PSAT following adaptations released by The College Board in 2015.

“The PSAT not only helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can choose the right classes in high school. It also provides practice for college admissions exams and several scholarship opportunities,” said Jovan Wells, associate superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.

Every year, approximately 8,000 U.S. seniors receive National Merit Scholarships based on their junior year PSAT scores. Offering the invaluable opportunity to practice starting in eighth grade, GISD hopes its students claim several.

“We hope students gain the experience of taking this type of test and become more comfortable with what these tests are like,” said Sachse High School Assistant Principal Brandy Schneider. “We also hope that our students will take ownership of their results and see what their areas of strengths are and what areas need improvement.”

Students can prepare for success by taking advantage of Khan Academy. This free online resource offers specific test prep and general subject area practice. It provides personal growth plans as well, once PSAT scores have been received and entered. Visit for more information.