Your Path to College

The road to college begins far earlier than many people think...

(Cue ominous music)


• Develop time management and organizational skills.
• Aim for good understanding and good grades, especially in English and Math courses.
• Help promote a good learning environment in your classes.
• Get to know yourself as a learner, doer, helper and leader.
• Explore community service and extra-curricular activities to find something that you really enjoy.
• Explore summer programs that develop your interests and skills.
• Check into options for saving/paying for college.
• Work to develop high-school ready study skills and habits.
• Start learning a language other than English.
Become aware of college admissions requirements.
Meet with your counselor to plan your high school schedule and path to college.
• Become aware of high school course offerings, including opportunities for honors classes.
• Get more involved in an extra-curricular activity that you really enjoy. Go deeper. Lead others.
Meet with your counselor to discuss your course selections for grades 10 & 11.
• Maintain strong grades and study skills. Colleges focus most on your 10th & 11th grade work.
• Consider taking a leadership role in a club or activity that you care about.
• Consider taking a "practice" PSAT in 10th grade.
• Start searching for colleges that match your interests and preferences.
• Start thinking about what your college major might be.
• Attend college fairs and open houses.
• Explore summer programs and activities that help you develop your passions and skills.
• Prepare for 11th grade PSAT/NMSQT over the summer (and take advantage of free PSAT practice tests).

• Maintain strong grades and study habits.
• Take challenging classes, including college classes.
• Do your best on the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Required for National Merit Scholarship consideration.
• Develop a preliminary college list with your counselor.
• Find out when college representatives will be visiting your school.
• Request additional materials from schools of interest.
• Plan some college campus tours for the spring.
• Sign up and prepare for spring SAT or ACT, SAT Subject tests, and any AP exams.
• Begin researching financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
• Visit colleges of interest.
• Consider participating in the February/March SAT prep class.
• Take SAT+Essay or ACT+Writing.
• Plan a summer of meaning, merit and fun.
• Learn about the college application process and start developing personal statements.
• Plan senior year class schedule.
• Maintain a strong GPA throughout senior year.

• Request letters of recommendation from teachers (and other recommenders if needed).
• Perfect your personal statements.
• Complete your college applications and send them out.
• Last chance to take or retake the SAT or ACT tests.
• Fill out the FAFSA for access to financial aid.
• Consider your family’s financial needs (project costs and resources, consider educational loans).
• Congratulations on college acceptances!
• Choose wisely. Compare your offers. Ask questions. Accept one offer, reject the rest.
• Pay close attention to communications from your chosen college.
• Establish a budget or allowance plan for school.
• Have a great summer.
• Prepare yourself mentally for the college workload and learn more about your career options.