Begin college selection process. Attend college fairs, financial aid seminars, general information sessions, etc., to learn as much as you can about the college application process. Make sure you are meeting NCAA requirements if you want to play Division I or II sports in college.

September

  • Register for the October PSAT. Meet with your guidance counselor to review your courses for this year and plan your schedule for senior year.
  • Save samples of your best work for your academic portfolio (all year).
  • Maintain your co-curricular record (all year).

October

  • Junior year PSAT scores may qualify a student for the National Merit Scholarship Competition and the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholars Programs. So, even though these scores will not be used for college admission, it is still a good idea to take the PSAT. The more times you take standardized tests, the more familiar you will become with the format and the types of questions asked. If you wish to receive free information from colleges, indicate on the PSAT test answer form that you want to participate in the Student Search.

November

  • Junior year grades are extremely important in the college admission process, because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. So put in the extra effort and keep those grades up!
  • If you will require financial aid, start researching your options for grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor or start by visiting NACAC’s Web Resources for the College-Bound to do research on your own using the Internet.

December

  • During December you should receive the results of your PSAT. Read your score report and consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test, which you will take in the spring.
  • If you plan to take the ACT, register now for the February ACT. Many colleges accept the ACT (American College Test) or the SAT Reasoning Test. Some colleges require the ACT or both SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Tests. When you begin to explore different colleges and universities, double-check to see if they prefer or require the ACT, the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the SAT Subject Tests.

January

  • Begin to make a preliminary list of colleges you would like to investigate further. Surf the Internet and use the college resources in the guidance office or library.
  • Ask your parents for your Social Security number (required on many college applications). If you were never issued a Social Security number, contact the closest Social Security office as soon as possible to obtain a number.

February

  • Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your preliminary list of colleges. Discuss whether your initial list of colleges meets your needs and interests (academic program, size, location, cost, etc.) and whether you are considering colleges where you are likely to be admitted. You should be optimistic and realistic when applying to colleges.
  • Register for the March SAT Reasoning Test if you have completed the math courses covered on the SAT Reasoning Test. If not, plan to take the SAT Reasoning Test in May or June. Prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT by signing up for a prep course, using computer software, or doing the SAT/ACT practice tests available in the counseling office or at bookstores. But don’t spend so much time trying to improve standardized test scores that grades and co-curricular involvement suffer.

March

  • Write, telephone, or use the Internet to request admission literature and financial aid information from the colleges on your list. There is no charge and no obligation to obtain general information about admission and financial aid.

April

  • When selecting your senior courses, be sure to continue to challenge yourself academically.
  • Register for the May/June SAT Reasoning Test and/or the May/June SAT Subject Tests. Not all SAT Subject Tests are given on every test date. Check the calendar carefully to determine when the Subject Tests you want are offered. Register for the June ACT if you want to take that test.
  • Continue to evaluate your list of colleges and universities. Eliminate colleges from the original list that no longer interest you and add others as appropriate.
  • Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests.

May

  • Attend a college fair to get more information about colleges on your list. NACAC sponsors college fairs in cities across the country during the fall and the spring. Visit NACAC’s National College Fairs Web pageto check out the schedule for the National College Fairs and the Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.
  • Get a jump start on summer activities-consider enrolling in an academic course at a local college, pursuing a summer school program, applying for an internship, working, or volunteering. If you work, save part of your earnings for college.
  • Begin visiting colleges. Phone to set up appointments. Interviews are always a good idea. Many colleges will tell you they are optional, but an interview will show interest, enthusiasm and initiative on your part and provide an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered. Do a practice interview with your counselor, teacher, employer, or a senior who has had college interviews. Set up interviews as early as possible-interview times become booked quickly!
  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test or the SAT Subject Tests.

June

  • After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges. Seeing the college firsthand, taking a tour and talking to students can be the greatest help in deciding whether or not a school is right for you. Although it is ideal to visit colleges during the academic year, going in the summer will be valuable. Admission offices employ their students to give tours and answer questions from prospective students and their parents.
  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests and/or the ACT.

July

  • Check your AP Exam scores, which will be available beginning July 6.
  • Visit colleges, take tours, have interviews and ask questions. Make college visiting a family event. Involve your parents and siblings in every step of your application process. Choosing the right college is a tough decision; the opinions of those who know you best can provide helpful insight into which college is best for you.

August

  • Continue to refine your list of “Colleges I’m Thinking About” on Family Connection.
  • Begin preparing for the actual application process: draft and revise application essays; collect writing samples; and assemble portfolios or audition tapes. If you are an athlete and plan on playing in college, contact the coaches at the schools to which you are applying and ask about intercollegiate and intramural sports programs and athletic scholarships.
  • On August 1, the Common Application will go live. Mr. Spear will hold virtual and on-site workshops to help you complete the application. Do not submit any applications until you return to school.
  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you hope to play Division I or II sports. (This form cannot be completed until you finish your sixth semester of high school.)
  • If you have identified a list of schools that you think you’ll apply to, use the colleges’ “Net Price Calculator” to estimate what your family will be expected to pay.

Reprinted from NACAC’s PACT Guide, 2000. Revised Online Only: March 2005

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