Get off to a good start academically. Remember, all of your 9th grade courses and grades will be on your transcript. Your freshman grades will also be used to calculate your grade point average (GPA)
Develop a 4-year high school plan. This plan should list all of the courses you intend to take each year. Make sure that your 4- year plan includes the recommended college prep courses.
Talk to your parents and your high school counselor about your plans after high school.
Take the PSAT-- this is the practice test for the SAT exam that it is recommended students start taking the 2nd semester of their junior year.
Make informal visits to post-secondary schools to get a feel for what different campuses are like.
Start thinking about what is important to you in a post-secondary school (size, location, cost, major, etc).
Begin to seriously research and consider your post-secondary options by the doing the following: meet with post-secondary representatives, attend college fairs, visit post-secondary websites, search online for post-secondary schools that meet your needs, and talk to your parents about post-secondary costs.
Take the PSAT in October
Think of your interests and abilities in terms of possible college majors
Look into scholarship possibilities
Take the SAT in the spring
If you are thinking about playing a sport in college, register with the NCAA (www.eligibilitycenter.org).
Meet with your counselor to discuss your post-secondary options and your senior year schedule. Make sure that your senior courses meet your high school graduation requirements, and that you are taking all of the courses recommended for college.
Make post-secondary school visits in the spring and summer. If possible, try to visit when classes are in session. Narrow your choices so that by fall of your senior year, you know where you want to apply.
During this month you should be researching and visiting schools of your interest. In addition, as you are researching schools of your interest you should be focusing on schools that offer the program that you are interested in. Applications are available online and by paper applications. The schools website contains information on their major programs, tuition rates, admission criteria, scholarships, and course offerings.
Complete your applications and return them to your counselor together with the pink transcript requests. The record of your grades, class standing, quality point average, etc. will be sent directly to the school and must be sent from the school counseling office to be considered “official.”
If you apply to a school that you know has very high standards for admission, be sure to apply to an additional “safe” school that you know will admit you, rather than just hope you will be admitted to the very competitive school.
Take the college entrance examinations which are required by the school to which you are applying. If you are applying to a business or technical school, you should get your application on file at the end of the first semester which will come toward the end of January.
At the end of the first semester, have your counselor send your first semester grades to those schools which have requested this information. It is your responsibility to let your counselor know that this must be done.
Be sure that you have filed your application for the state’s financial aid program (PHEAA) by the first of May. The application for this aid will also include the application for the federal government’s aid program (PELL). If you are applying for financial aid that may be offered by the school you plan to attend, you may have to file a Financial Aid Form in order to be considered. Be sure to check the deadline when the information from this form must be on file with the financial aid office of the school you will attend. All of these forms may be obtained at the guidance office.