- Join clubs; try a new sport or activity
- Focus on your grades: they matter!
- Discuss class selection for sophomore year…challenge yourself!
- Contact NCAA if you are even considering playing a sport in college
- They have fairly stringent class guidelines that any potential student athlete should be aware of early
- You are beginning a system to jot down any accomplishments, clubs, awards…it is amazing how easy it is to forget, what you have participated in, when you are a Senior, trying to put your resume together for college applications and letters of recommendation
- Begin thinking seriously about WHERE you would like to go to college?
- Consider questions such as:
- Location? Close to home, explore a new part of the country, etc…
- Size? Large, small…what type of environment do you learn best in?
- Small classes, same sex schools/classes? Are you easily overwhelmed by large lecture halls?
- Liberal, conservative, catholic?
- Public university vs. private college?
- What are your passions, favorite classes? Any sense for what you want to major in?
- If on vacation, visit a school nearby (even if it is not one you are considering) to get a sense of what it feels like to be on a college campus
- Take the practice PSAT
- Get good grades! The vast majority of scholarship aid is merit aid: grades matter!
- Discuss class selection for junior year with your counselor
- Register with NCAA clearinghouse if you are considering playing a sport in college
- Introduce yourself to Mrs. Lerude in the CCC
- The better she knows you the more she can help
- Even if you do not think you want to go there it will give you some context for what you want or don’t want…you may be surprised!
- Opens up scholarship dollars for high achieving (National Merit Scholar) students
- Score will give you a ballpark for how you test
- Identify which standardized tests that you will be taking (SAT, SAT 2 subject tests, ACT)
- Register early, for as many as possible, your junior year, as you may feel that you need to take certain tests again
- Build a college wish list
- “College Club” (in the CCC once a week at lunchtime) is a great way to get your questions answered
- Your list should have 10-15 colleges that you are interested in
- Begin to research the required GPA and test score ranges, and learn more about them via school websites, College Greenlight (www.collegegreenlight.com), Big Future (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org) or “The Fiske Guide”
- Your goal should be to have a somewhat final list the summer between your junior and senior year
- A balanced list creates options!
- Your list should include schools that your GPA/standardized test scores are within the median of the admitted student, above the median and one or two reach schools (highly selective and/or your scores are below the median)
- Consider which teachers you would like to write a recommendation letter for you
- Reach out to them, build those relationships
- Discuss class selection for your senior year with your counselor
- Not a time to slack off, challenge yourself with AP/Honors classes if you can balance them and get A’s or B’s
- Junior Interview Project at RHS
- You will build a resume and participate in a mock interview with a community volunteer
- Tour some of the colleges on your list
- Start to give some colleges priority over others, eliminating some
- Ideally building a list of 6-10 schools that you want to apply to
- Come to College Club, in the CCC, at lunch on Wednesdays
- We will be working through the college application process, discussing key components of the college application and answering your questions
- Develop some template essay topics if you are interested in applying for scholarships or to schools that require an essay
- The essay, for competitive schools, is a defining piece of your application packet
- Choosing a topic can be the toughest part
- Think about it early…identify experiences that have shaped you and/or give insight into your personality (your strengths)
- The last available dates to take SAT, SAT subject tests or ACT tests as a junior
Summer between junior/senior year:
- Do something interesting with your time!
- Primary essay draft complete if you are applying for scholarships or to schools that require an essay
- Be aware that many of the more highly selective schools require supplemental essays
- Review the topics, develop your drafts
- If you are interested in applying to schools that accept the CA it becomes available August 1st: familiarize yourself with it
- Ideally, fill out as much as possible before school starts
- Determine if you will be taking/re-taking any standardized tests
- Update your resume listing your high school accomplishments
- Check in with the CCC to make yourself aware of any college visits to your school or community
- Join us in College Club, Wednesdays at lunch, to help you through the application process
- Request your letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors by mid-September
- Include your resume in the request
- Allows teachers to write about you easier
- Include instructions for submitting the recommendation (via the Common Application? Sent directly to the school? Sealed letter given to you?)
- Educate yourself about early decision/admission application deadlines
- Develop an application strategy
- NOTE: MERIT AID DEADLINES ARE OFTEN EARLIER THAN REGULAR DECISION APPLICATION DEADLINES – Do your research so you don’t miss out
- Requires you to begin to finalize your list of schools that you want to apply to
- Develop a simple spreadsheet with basic stats of school (population, cost, required tests, application deadlines)
- Can always add one or two later on…
- Have one person (ideally an English teacher) review your essay/personal statement for any grammatical errors
- Will you be applying for scholarships?
- If so, research what is out there
- Be strategic, only apply to those that are looking to award your talents, accomplishments, ethnicity, background (there are a ton out there, can be incredibly time consuming, choose wisely)
- Sign the scholarship match sheet in the CCC
- Continue to focus on academics, getting solid grades
- Be aware of early application deadlines, restrictions, etc…
- Fill out the FAFSA as close to January 1 as possible
- Use your tax information from the two years’ prior if your prior year’s return is not yet complete, check “will file”
- You can update your financial information once you officially file, holding your priority spot for aid distribution (first come, first serve)
- Fill out CSS Profile for any private schools
- Some private schools request the CSS Profile with your application
- Again, first come/first serve
- The award may be a defining factor in your school selection
- Best to have this information as early as possible
- Apply to any last minute school, although ideally this will be done!
- Have fun! Relax!
- Remember that we all face rejection, it is not personal
- You will end up where you are meant to be!