Your entire High School career prepares you for college. Each year is an opportunity to focus on different aspects that build on each other. The outline below lays out what the priorities are for each year. As you get into your junior and senior years the priorities become more specific. Using this guide will help you be prepared for the each step.
- Plan your curriculum carefully to meet college requirements. Consult your counselor when it is time to select courses for the next year.
- It is important to start high school on the right foot. Be sure that you are doing the work required of you in each of your classes.
- Building relationships with your teachers offers many benefits. Do your best and ask for assistance as needed.
- Establish your study habits early. The later you are in your high school career, the tougher it is to make improvements in your GPA.
- Look for opportunities to develop non-academic skills such as: leadership, creativity, responsibility, special talents, and individuality.
- The earlier you become involved in activities, the easier it will be to achieve leadership roles in those activities.
- The more activities you try early, the easier it will be to determine which activities hold the most interest to you.
- Be a “doer” not a “joiner”.
- Challenge yourself by taking honors classes if appropriate.
- You will have your first exposure to the SAT through the PSAT and take the PLAN for the second time.
- Results of the PLAN, taken as a sophomore, offer a good predictor of a student’s ACT score.
- Begin to include college campus visits as part of your family vacations, etc.
- Prepare for the PSAT.
- The October test will be used to determine the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and Commended students. (Stop by the Counseling Office for details).
- Attend the local college fairs.
- Attend college representative visits at HF.
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in school.
Meet with your counselor to review your record and identify any areas of concern.
- Work on maintaining or improving your grades.
- Grades from junior year and first semester of the senior year will be what most important.
- Results of PSAT are returned to students.
- Review your scores to help identify the areas you need to concentrate on in your preparation for the SAT.
- Begin preparation for SAT and ACT.
- Consider taking your first SAT/ACT late this month or early February.
- Schedule a conference with Mr. Wilson to begin the college selection process.
- This meeting for juniors and their parents is designed to begin seriously considering specific schools.
- Register for April and May SAT/ACT.
- Identify two past or current teachers to complete evaluations which will be used by Mr. Wilson in writing your recommendation.
- Schedule campus visits.
- Explore different options:
- Gather information regarding admission and scholarships
- U.S. Service Academies: West Point, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard, or the Merchant Marine
- You need three letters requesting a nomination, one for each of your senators and one to your congressperson. Form letters can be found on the Academies’ websites.
- Division I or II Athletics
- Get registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This is required to make an "official" visit as a prospective student-athlete or to play at the Division I or II level. Register online at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
- Pre-College Program in the summer.
- If applicable register for the June SAT II Subject Tests.
- Check the admission criteria for the schools to which you plan to apply.
- ROTC Scholarship applications (Air Force, Army, and/or Navy) must be completed and turned in to your counselor before summer vacation begins.
- READ! READ! READ! This is the best way to improve your standardized test scores and academic performance.
- Visit college websites and look through college guidebooks.
- The Fiske Guide to Colleges, The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, Princeton Review’s Best 376, Donald Asher’s Cool Colleges, The ISI Guide, Choosing the Right College andPeterson's Competitive Colleges.
- Make Campus Visits
- Read carefully the pamphlets and brochures that you receive in the mail or in the admissions office. They are much more meaningful after you have been on campus.
- Complete military academy and ROTC applications.
- Start your applications.
- Know what your deadlines are and plan so you can meet them.
- Save all of your documents so you can use them for other applications.
- Start your essays early and have someone else read them.
- Early decision or early action plan applications must be completed now.
- Keep your grades up.
- Some colleges will wait to make a decision until after they have first semester senior grades.
- Register to retake the SAT, ACT, or SAT II (Subject Tests). Over two-thirds of students improve the second time around.
- Complete your senior resume.
- Schedule another meeting with Mr. Wilson.
- Meet with the college reps from any school in which you are interested when they visit school.
- Attend the local college fairs.
- Finish campus visits to your top schools. Arrange for permission for these trips with the office.
- Finish and turn in all of your applications.
- The earlier you get them in the better.
- Have someone review your application before you submit it.
- Make sure you put your best foot forward.
- Complete any applications which you still intend to submit. Do the preliminary work on any financial aid applications this month. Plan to mail them as early in January as possible.
- Apply for your FAFSA PIN # at www.pin.ed.gov
- The earlier you apply the more likely you are to receive the financial aid you need.
- Register for the College Opportunity Fund if you have applied to in-state public colleges. https://secure.collegeincolorado.org/Home/COF/College_Opportunity_Fund.aspx
- Complete your FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You may also need to complete the Profile.
- Note - you can file the FAFSA and Profile before you file your tax forms with the IRS. If there are any significant changes to be made, a supplementary form can be filed at a later date.
- Expect to be contacted for an alumni interview by some colleges.
- Respond quickly to any requests from either admissions or financial aid offices for additional information.
- Be patient and wait; admissions offices are very busy, but if something significant develops which can enhance your chances for admission then let them know.
- Review all your acceptances and financial aid awards. Call the financial aid offices if you need clarification of your award or need to discuss the amount of your aid package.
- If you have any doubts about your decision, visit the colleges which have offered acceptances, stay overnight, go to class, talk to students and professors, and get a feel for the campus.
- By May 1, notify all colleges who have accepted you that you will or will not be enrolling.
- Your enrollment deposit must also be paid by May 1 to the college you plan to attend. At most schools, the earlier you deposit, the higher priority your campus housing application receives. Deposit at only one school.
- May 1 is the deadline date for deposits for admission to most colleges.
- Keep grades strong and do well on Final Exams!
- Do not forget that all offers of admission are contingent upon you successfully completing your final semester. This means performing at the same level you did throughout high school.
- Inform Mr. Wilson of your choice, so your final official transcript is sent to the correct school
Most of these programs are designed for capable, highly motivated young men and women who have completed the 11th grade and who are intellectually prepared for college level work. The sessions usually run one to six weeks. Costs vary; a six-week session may run $3000 or more while other programs may only cost a hundred dollars. Application deadlines vary, but most are May 1. Classes are taught by college faculty.
In addition to your courses, the programs usually also feature workshops on selecting a college, pre-professional programs, career planning, college survival skills, and many diverse extracurricular activities.
These programs are widely recognized by college admissions committees. However, a student should not attend one because he thinks it will give him an "in" at a specific college. Admissions offices are clear that those who attend summer programs have no special connection. Rather, they value a new knowledge, experience, or creativity that these programs might help develop. They also strongly value work experience, volunteer activities, and unusual travel experiences which add to the profile of the student.