In order to be optimally prepared when it’s time to begin applying to prospective colleges (fall-winter of your senior year), it helps to know that you’ve been thorough in your planning. The following is a list of things to be stressed in each year of high school in order to have that assurance:
- Continue core classes and extracurriculars as previously suggested;
- Prepare for and take the ACT and/or SAT; take the pressure off by knowing you can repeat these tests if necessary, and that only your highest scores will count;
- Begin to explore colleges by viewing websites and making visits when you can; try and visit a college campus whenever you are traveling; attend college fairs at your school;
- Summer before senior year: Begin work on the Common Application (www.commonapp.org) – if you apply to schools that use the CA you’re well prepared; if you apply to schools that don’t use the CA you will likely be more than prepared.
- Complete requirements for graduation, ensuring that HEAR requirements are met;
- Repeat ACT/SAT if necessary, making sure you do some prep first if you are hoping for score improvements;
- Continue developing your list of possible colleges, identifying some that are reach schools, some that are safeties, and some that are likelies;
- Request references early on, ideally your counselor and one teacher who can speak to your potential;
- Continue key extracurriculars;
- Have fun but don’t slack off in your academic efforts. Colleges scrutinize performance during senior year and will ask questions if you crash and burn at this point;
- Finish honing your list of school of interest and note deadlines – applications must be received on time. Remember to inform your references of deadlines as well.