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Plan a challenging program of classes to take. The courses you take in high school show colleges what kind of goals you set for yourself. Are you signing up for advanced classes, honors sections, or accelerated sequences? Are you choosing electives that really stretch your mind and help you develop new abilities? Or are you doing just enough to get by Colleges will be more impressed by respectable grades in challenging courses than by outstanding grades in easy ones. Keep in mind the courses that colleges expect you to have completed for admission; your schedule should consist of at least 5 college preparatory classes per year, including:
- 4 years of English
- 4 years of math (through algebra II, trigonometry or higher)
- 2-4 years of foreign language
- 3-4 years of laboratory science
- 3-4 years of history/social studies
- 1 year of fine arts (if applying to UC schools)
- 1 year of electives from the above list
Create a file of important documents and notes.Copies of report cards, lists of awards and honors, and lists of school and community activities in which you are involved, including both paid and volunteer work, and descriptions of what you do.
Get involvedEnroll in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops, and
camps with specialty focuses such as music, arts, and science.
Keep in mind that learning doesn’t happen solely in the classroom.
Stay active in clubs, activities, and sports that you enjoy. Colleges look at more than just your academic record for admission. It’s important that you demonstrate your abilities outside of the classroom too.
Learn what resources are available to help you plan for college. Meet with your school’s college or guidance counselor. Ask about catalogs, guidebooks, college search programs, and college information Web sites.
Begin your college search and visits.
- Create a list of colleges and universities in which you are interested and discuss the list with your parents and school counselor.
- Find out about the different types of schools. Decide which characteristics are most important to you, such as the size of the school, distance from home, cost, and extracurricular activities.
Continue participation in
- extracurricular activities, as admission officers look at students’
- extracurricular activities when considering them for admission.
- academic enrichment programs, summer workshops,
- and camps with specialty focuses such as music, arts, and science.
Update your file of important documents and notes.
Prepare for standardized testing
- Ask your counselor about taking the ACT PLAN or PSAT test in the fall. These are valuable tests to help you prepare for the actual ACT and SAT, college entrance exams which you can take during your junior year.
- Review PLAN or PSAT test results with your parents and school
- Consider taking the SAT if you have taken Advanced Placement or an accelerated sequence of courses.
- Many students take SAT Subject Tests for college admission as early as sophomore year. These tests help you show colleges your proficiency in different subject areas.
Sign up for junior year courses
- Keep in mind you will want to challenge yourself with tougher courses. It will pay off in the long run not only by making you smarter, but also by impressing colleges and helping you win scholarships.
- Talk to your counselor about registering for AP (Advanced Placement) or dual credit courses next year. AP and Dual Credit courses may grant college credit for achievement in exams during high school covering many different college-level subjects.
- Start your year off right by talking with your guidance counselor about the year ahead. Be sure to ask about test dates for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT. You’ll need to register up to six weeks ahead of time.
- Start investigating sources for financial aid. Take note of scholarship deadlines and plan accordingly.
- Develop a résumé—a record of your accomplishments, activities, and work experiences. This will be an important part of your college application.
- If you don’t participate in many activities outside of class, now is the time to sign up. Consider clubs at schools, team sports, or even an after school job.
- Take the PSAT. Even if you took the test during your sophomore year, taking the test this year will count towards National Merit Scholar consideration and will give you a better predictor for the SAT you take later this year or next.
- Sign up for ACT or SAT prep courses or use free test preparation resources on the Internet. If you can’t find the best Web sites, ask your counselor. You will want to take the test at least once in the spring and again next fall during your senior year.
- Attend the National College Fair and other college informational meetings
- Attend college visits held at your school
PSAT test results should be coming in. Review the results to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and discuss them with your parents and counselor.
- Meet with your guidance counselor again to develop your senior schedule. Ask how you can improve your college preparation.
- Talk to a counselor or teacher about registering for AP or IB courses during your senior year.
- Register for a spring offering of the SAT or ACT.
- Think about registering for SAT Subject Tests this spring. The final registration deadline for taking the test this academic year will be in April.
- Think about summer enrichment programs. Many of the application deadlines are in the months of January through March.
- Begin taking a more serious look at colleges and universities you are interested in attending. Make a file and gather information about academics, financial aid, and campus life to put in it. Go to college fairs and open houses and learn as much as you can from the Internet about schools.
- Begin planning college visits. Spring break is a good time because you can observe a campus when classes are going on. Even if they are not campuses you think you would attend, it is important to get exposure to college campuses and the college experience.
- Think about lining up a summer job, internship, or co-op. If you are in AP or IB courses, get ready for the AP or IB exams next month.
- Develop a preliminary list of colleges that interest you. Email or call them to request a view book and additional information.
- Take a look at some college applications and consider all of the different pieces of information you will need to compile.
- AP and IB Examinations are given in high schools nationally this month. Make sure you are signed up and know the dates and times for your exams.
- Make a list of teachers, counselors, employers, and other adults who you might ask to write letters of recommendation for your college applications.
- Register for the September/October SAT or the ACT in August. This will allow your scores to be available before early college application deadlines.
- Review college application deadlines and special application requirements. Use College Simply to view application deadlines.
- Ask teachers/counselors for letters of recommendations. Allow 3-6 weeks.
- Attend District Informational Night/FAFSA and scholarship information. nights
- Continue to seek and apply for available scholarships. View Fastweb for a wide range of national scholarships.
- FAFSA- October 1st complete the online application. You will need parents/guardians tax information from the year before.
- ORSAA- For students who do not qualify for FAFSA. Comes available November 1st . Please see your counselor if you have questions about qualifying for ORSAA.
- OSAC- Oregon Student Access and Completion is the state of Oregon’s opportunity scholarship portal. Applications for the next school year opens November 1st. You could qualify for over 500 state scholarships just by completing the OSAC.
- Oregon Promise - Grant money for students planning on attending community college in the state of Oregon. Applications for the next school year opens November 1st. Must have a 2.5 GPA
- Attend college visits in the Future Center or Auditorium. Please see Canvas Announcements or the website for a list of visiting colleges.
- Complete college applications for early decision schools through Common Application or Coalition. Usual deadlines for early action and early decision are Nov. 1st and Nov. 15th .
- If needed register for the December/January SAT or ACT Test.
- Early Decision replies usually arrive between December 1st and December 31st
- Contact admissions offices of the schools that you have applied to be sure that they have received all needed information.
- Continue to apply for scholarships.
- Early Bird Applications for OSAC are due Feb. 1st. This will qualify you for the $1000 scholarship funded by OSAC.
- Make sure all financial aid forms have been submitted. Final Deadline for OSAC is due March 1st
- Keep up to date on scholarship applications and deadlines.
- Watch for local scholarships announced on Canvas Announcements.
- Prepare for AP Exams.
- Receive admissions notifications and compare financial aid packages.
- Send your acceptance letter along with any required deposits to ensure your place.
- Send final transcript and student loan applications to your chosen college.
- Contact the school you will be attending to determine when fees for tuition, room, and board are due.
- Participate in any summer orientation program for incoming freshmen.
- Apply for scholarships for following year.
College applications can be very difficult to follow and understand. The most often visited question is… when are applications due? College Simply has a comprehensive list of colleges application due dates.
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