Sequencing College Planning Part II

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:

Junior Year:

  • 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 ( – 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.

Senior Year:

  • 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.

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