Today in our School is Cool series we are talking about getting the kids ready for college.
Timelines for College Admissions
Make High School Count
Realize that your grades count!
□ Your academic record, the transcript, is crucial to college entrance because it tells a college who you are over a 4 year period. College will be looking for strong grades and tough course choices. If you struggle in a course, help is available; ask your teachers and counselor!
Develop good study skills now
□ Practice good time management, plan ahead
Plan now to take a wide variety of rigorous courses
□ This will not only help you with gaining college admission but will also better prepare you to be SUCCESSFUL once you are in.
Start practicing for college entrance testing now
□ Take the PSAT each Fall of high school and take practice tests on line
□ Take a “Test Prep Course”; begin understanding the patterns of these tests early
Continue to explore your interest, strengths & gifts
□ Register at www.collegeboard.com; one of their free services includes info on “turning interests into jobs” and a personality test.
□ Take interest inventories on line at www.lifeafterhighschool.org or www.careercruising.com, user I.D. is “graysoncc”, password is “gocenter”
□ Talk to family members about their careers
Get involved & Keep a list of your activities
□ Community service of all kinds is important to college & scholarship applications.
□ KEY! → Focus on activities that interest you, quality rather than quantity.
□ Consider a summer job, internship, camp experience or volunteering opportunities
□ Maintain your list/resume on www.connectEDU. Your counselor can help you create an account where you can keep track through out your high school years.
Start a college search now at
□ www.collegeboard.com or www.fastweb.com
Attend College Fairs whenever available
□ Sherman & Denison High School both offer a local opportunity to attend and met representatives from up to 100 colleges and universities
Prepare a solid foundation & boost your skills
High school grades COUNT
□ Continue to keep your grades up, seeking help as soon as you struggle
Identify academic strengths & weaknesses
□ Take the PLAN test (pre-ACT), it can help you see where you may need to focus academically; it also contains a career component with an interest test
□ Utilize free access to College Board’s “my college quickstart” at www.collegeboard.com; here students can view their personal PSAT test results with feedback on why incorrect answers were missed.
Don’t forget – CHARACTER COUNTS
□ Be mindful of your behavior; you will need administrators and teachers to complete recommendations for you!
□ In the spring of Sophomore year, students will be considered for the TCS chapter of National Honor Society. Considerations will include GPA, service & character
Continue to build your college resume
□ Get involved in extracurricular & service activities seeking opportunities for leadership
□ Keep a list of your activities updating your college resume regularly
Begin to compile a college search list by:
□ Asking “What kind of college experience am I looking for?”; “What kind of college will help me grow as a person as well as gain a degree?”; “Do I want to stay close to home or move away?”; “Am I more comfortable with campus where some of my classes may contain 200 or more students or where the student to professor ratio is smaller?”
□ READ this book! Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope
□ Explore the College Library in our TCS library; look through the College Board’s College Handbook for brief descriptions of college campuses all over the US.
□ Utilize collegeboard.com or ConnectEDU.net where you can set up a personal folder to compile your own lists and research schools
College admission is a match to be made not a prize to be won.
A degree from a prestigious university does NOT guarantee success.
Narrow your search & make campus visits
Narrow your college choices to 3-5 by researching
& visiting campuses
□ DECIDE if you prefer a small or large campus?; decide if location is a factor?
□ Discuss college financing with your parents and begin researching your options and resources.
□ Make PERSONAL visits to campuses
What To Ask On A College Visit
□ What percent of first year classes are taught by graduate assistants?
□ What are the three most popular majors on campus?
□ What percent of first year students return as sophomores?
□ What percent of entering students actually graduate?
□ What percent of graduates who apply to Graduate school are admitted?
□ Register with www.fastweb.com; begin getting familiar with the various scholarships available;
□ Begin to prepare outlines of essays; you can obtain a list of commonly asked scholarship essay questions from your guidance counselor & TCS website
Prepare College Essay
□ Complete a college entrance essay in Junior English class
TEST! Take College Entrance Exams
□ Take the SAT and ACT early in the spring of your Junior year so that you will have scores for college applications in the coming summer and fall; it is also important to have SAT/ACT scores early to qualify for dual credit senior year
□ The SAT II Subject tests are required by more competitive colleges. Each subject takes one hour and you may take three subjects on any given test day. It is recommended that you take the SAT II exams as soon as you have completed the subject in your junior year but no later than November of the senior year.
Continue to build your college resume
□ Apply to Camp RYLA the summer of your Jr. year (a leadership training camp); see your guidance counselor for details
□ Continue to be involved in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership and employment
□ Up date your list of your activities on your ConnectEDU account.
Narrow your search and apply!
□ Apply to at least 3 schools early in the fall semester
□ Continue to visit campuses and schedule interviews if you have yet to narrow your search to 3 – 5 colleges
□ Make a calendar with your choice college application and financial aid deadlines. Note: Much of your financial aid/scholarship money will come from the college you choose to attend, so follow their scholarship application process closely, they will have special forms and deadlines to meet.
□ Sign up early for the SAT and or ACT if you have not already taken them
• www.sat.collegeboard.com for the SAT
• www.actstudent.org for the ACT
□ Sign up for SAT Subject Tests early, if required by your college(s)
□ Request recommendations early, at least 2 weeks in advance
□ Complete college applications early and online at:
• www.applytexas.org for Texas Public Universities and some private
• www.commonapp.org for some out of state and private schools
• Always check your college’s website for specific application instructions, deadlines and required forms
□ January: Begin to gather tax information for the FAFSA www.fafsa.ed.gov
□ February: Plan to complete the FAFSA & your college’s financial application, most priority deadlines are March 1 – check your schools!
□ Selective Service: Men, you must register within 30 days of your 18th birthday at www.sss.gov to be eligible for Federal Student Aid.
□ Continue scholarship search, many local scholarships are become available in the spring.
□ March: Sign up for Advance Placement tests with your counselor
□ Keep up your grades! – Once you are accepted, colleges will require another high school transcript in January & May.
□ Compare financial aid packages when you receive admissions notifications. Look for the best rather than the most.
□ Finalize your choice and notify the college. Also notify the schools whose enrollment offers you decline.
□ Send your final transcript and student loan application.