You just arrived, so focus your energy on getting acclimated to the school community. Approach your first year with thoughtfulness and genuine inquiry for a successful outcome down the line. Take advantage of the resources available to you.
Get involved in life at your school. Build strong mathematical and critical thinking skills. Start developing your interests and passions by exploring the extracurricular opportunities that are available outside the classroom.
Be productive during the summer. That could mean working, volunteering in your community, taking a class, or interning. And, don't forget to read!
Continue to stay engaged in the community. Work towards honing your skills as a student and start assuming a more active role in your areas of interest.
Take the PSAT. When you receive your scores, carefully read through the material that accompanies your score report, note areas that need improvement, and put together a study plan.
If you are an athlete or artist, talk with coaches and art teachers to gauge your abilities in these areas. If you are talented enough this may potentially play an important role in your college process.
Remember, if you are in an honors-level course, and doing well, register for SAT Subject Tests.
Make the most of your summer. Find opportunities that complement your academic and/or extracurricular interests.
Begin the college application process with your assigned college counselor. Your counselor will be your advocate and your best cheerleader.
Take the ACT or SAT at least once during your 11th grade year. After receiving your score report, read it thoroughly to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Develop a preparation strategy to address areas that need improvement.
Schedule individual meetings with your counselor and meet frequently enough to get to know each other well. Your counselor will help you develop a testing plan, gain a better understanding of how to effectively research colleges, and build a well-balanced list of schools that are the right fit.
Start talking to your parents about college costs and whether or not need-based or merit financial aid will be a part of your process. Fill out the FAFSA4caster to get a ballpark estimate of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
If possible, spend part of your spring break visiting a range of colleges: liberal arts colleges, research universities, public universities, single-sex colleges, etc. Take notes!
Map out your senior year courses. Take the most challenging classes that you will be able to handle, particularly in your areas of greatest interest. Don't forget to consider any remaining graduation requirements.
Take advantage of college fairs to explore schools on your preliminary list.
Consider which teachers know you well and ask them to write a recommenation letter on your behalf.
Use your summer wisely. Research and tour colleges on your list. If you're unable to physically get to the campus, visit virtually. Take thoughtful notes and interview whenever possible. Research scholarships and fill out Net Price Calculators for the schools on your list.
Senior fall is a very busy time so get an early start on your application over the summer. Start filling out The Common App and drafting your personal statement and supplemental essays. Be sure to review them with your counselor. Artists should work on their portfolios and athletes should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
There's a lot to be done in the fall. Continue to stay engaged in the classroom and your extracurricular activities.
Meet with your counselor to discuss your summer research, finalize your list, and review your Common Application and essays.
Register and take the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests if necessary.
Decide whether you will apply via an early action, early decision, or rolling admission plan. Most of these plans will require that you submit your application prior to November 1st. If applying for financial aid, you may need to complete financial aid forms prior to the early deadline.
APPLICATION MATERIALS ARE DUE OCTOBER 15. Supplementary documents are due November 15.
Check the deadlines for submission of your FAFSA, CSS Profile, and any other financial aid forms.
Decisions for early applications will be received in mid-December. If accepted, withdraw all other applications.
Bucket List! Think about what your mark will be on your high school community and brainstorm all of the things you'd like to do before graduating. Gradually work through the items on your list, making the most of your remaining time.
Decisions, decisions, decisions! Most admission decisions will be released in late-March/early-April. Take time to consider your various options. Talk through your college choices and financial aid packages with your counselor.
May 1st is the universal reply date. You must make your final decision by this deadline and submit the necessary paperwork and/or deposit for your future college!