Freshman

  • Building flexible schedules of classes based on career goals. Get in to college prep classes. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking taking easier classes will help you get a higher grade point average (GPA). Taking challenging courses looks better on a college application. Classes you take freshman year are just as important as the ones you take senior year.
  • Consider taking interest inventories to explore your career interests. There are many free inventories on-line.
  • Get involved! Join extracurricular activities and community service organizations. Look for flyers advertising meetings, visit clubs during activity period, use your handbook to find out who sponsors various clubs. Join organizations and get involved!
  • Start building your School Profile or Resume. Keep track of activities, awards, and involvement in school and around the community. This is a great tool when completing scholarships, college application, and when asking for recommendation letters.
  • Get to know your teachers, upperclassmen and your school counselor. Use teachers and older students as mentors. They know how things work around the school and know what it takes to prepare for college. Your counselor assists you with what you need to do over the next four years to prepare for post secondary training.
  • Find out about summer jobs and/or volunteer experiences.
  • Begin scholarship search. Federal, state, college/technical school, private funding. Many scholarships for freshman revolve around academics (reading a book and writing an essay), community service, essays based on your opinion or creative writing samples. Pace yourself-fewer students put forth the effort for these scholarships so your odds are higher!

Sophomore

  • Re-evaluate your class selections to make sure you are meeting college/technical school requirements for admissions. Be sure to take advanced classes to qualify for Beta or Honor Societies.
  • Ask your counselor about job shadowing. You can spend a day with a professional who can offer valuable insight about their job and what training is needed to succeed.
  • Explore college catalogs and other materials including financial aid. Use the internet to find out what schools offer your preferred majors. Start thinking about priorities for schools-size, location, cost, degrees offered. Visit schools over the summer.
  • Update your School Profile with awards, honors, and athletic information. Focus in on a few extracurricular activities and really make a difference.
  • Continue participation in enrichment programs-leadership, volunteer, summer jobs.
  • Keep thinking about scholarships!
  • Interested in military academy-start making contacts now. Military academies require a nomination from a Congressman or State representative. Establish these contacts now and begin the screening process for nominations.

Junior

  • Take the PSAT or PLAN (preliminary ACT) to prepare you for college entrance exams. These tests may also qualify you for certain scholarships. National Merit Scholarship is based on PSAT scores.
  • Take SAT and/or ACT test to practice taking entrance exams. Take ASVAB to help you develop your career interest for military or vocational options.
  • Maintain your grades. Many colleges base GPA for entrance on end of junior year. Be sure required classes are nearly completed.
  • Develop a list of postsecondary schools. Talk with admissions representatives during college fairs.
  • Make an impact in your club or organization-run for office. Colleges are looking or students with leadership skills.
  • Scholarships! Many are designed specifically for juniors on the ball!
  • Athletes-NCAA Clearinghouse eligibility- check out the requirements. Write to coaches at your target schools. Create a highlight tape and relevant articles. Art, drama, engineer, architect-start developing your portfolio, audition tapes, writing samples or other evidence of talent. Update your school profile.
  • Develop contacts in school and community for writing recommendation letters. Remember to keep your school profile handy to assist the writer of these letters.
  • Read college mail you are starting to receive. Over the summer visit schools for your interest.
  • Spring: Review previous SAT and/or ACT scores and sign up to take test again.
  • Summer: Practice writing essays for college admissions. Decide if you are going to apply for early admissions to a college. Check deadlines for admissions for colleges.

Senior

  • September: registration deadline for October ACT/SAT. Ask your school counselor. NMSQT semi-finalist announced. Review transcript and courses to be sure you have met all requirements for graduation and for your particular college admissions or technical school admissions. Narrow down your lists of schools. Be sure you have “safe” and “reach” and realistic schools. Request applications from schools early.
  • October: College Fairs. VISIT! Make contacts with Admissions Representatives. Request teacher and counselor recommendations. Provide a copy of your school profile so your recommendations can be personalized. Complete Early Action/Early Decision applications. Prepare for and take ACT/SAT. Be sure your scores are sent to your top schools. Scholarship search is ongoing!
  • November: Register for SAT subject tests. Attend financial aid night. Attend college night.
  • December: Write essays and complete applications for colleges with January/February deadlines. Finalize references and turn school profile into a working resume.
  • January: Students and parents mush submit FAFSA. Send in early. Continue searching for scholarships!
  • February: Be sure all necessary information is sent to colleges. Follow up on your application packet.
  • March: You will begin to receive notification letters. Perhaps re-visit your tip choices.
  • April: Choose a school that fits your needs. Review financial aid packages and talk with financial aid officers.
  • May and June: Thank teachers who wrote recommendation letters. Notify colleges you did not choose so they can admit others.
  • July and August: You are on your way!!