Meet With Your School Guidance Counselor.
Check your class rank and GPA. Determine what classes you need to graduate from high school and get into your first-choice college.
Plan Your Senior Class Schedule.
Challenge yourself by reviewing possible honors and AP/AICE/IB or dual enrollment classes. Colleges pay attention to senior year courses and grades, so set yourself up to stand out.
Explore Possible Careers and Majors.
Complete several online questionnaires and tests that have been developed to help you figure out a possible major and career choice. Seek advice from your parents, friends, and teachers.
- Take the PSAT in October. When you take this test in the 11th grade, a high score can qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship.
- Practice taking the SAT or ACT Test.
Use an SAT/ACT prep book or online program to experience what it’s like taking the tests from beginning to end. This will help you focus on improving your weak areas.
- Register for the ACT, SAT, and/or SAT Subject Tests. Decide when and where to take the test(s) and make sure you register by the deadlines so you don’t have to pay late fees.
Narrow down your College List.
Search online. Go to college fairs. Talk to college representatives that visit your school. Visit local colleges to get a feel for what you like and dislike: Large or small school? Public or private? Close to home or out-of-state?
Visit your Top 3-5 Colleges.
Take campus tours. Speak with teachers and students. Talk with the school admissions counselors and financial-aid staff. If you can’t visit in person, look for virtual tours and college forums online.
Discuss Financial Aid with your Parents.
Have a frank discussion with your parents about the costs of college and what they can afford. Of course, scholarships and financial aid can make a huge difference. Attend a financial aid meeting at your school.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities.
Colleges like well-rounded students who participate in more than just academics. Become a leader, play sports, join a school club or get involved in community service. It look good on your application, and offer you an opportunity to learn and grow.
Ask for Letters of Recommendation.
Reach out to counselors, teachers, mentors you want to ask for a letter of recommendation. Why wait until the last minute.
Work on College Applications.
Download applications to the colleges you want to attend. Compose rough drafts of the essays you will need. Review them with an English teacher or counselor. Your essay should be flawless and error-free.
Maximize your Summer Experience.
- Seek out volunteer or internship opportunities. Demonstrate your willingness to serve others and make your community a better place. These are traits that your college admissions officer look for.
- Take Summer Classes. Attend a summer program (academic enrichment, dual enrollment, travel) that can enhance your chances of getting into a competitive college.
Check off the boxes: College list narrowed to 3-5 top choices. High GPA. Great test scores. Letters of recommendation completed. Resume with all your extracurricular and community activities. Now, you’re ready to start your senior year with a bang!