Planning for college should be a process that starts early and develops over time. MEFA has a straightforward and helpful resource that is recommended to guide you through the college planning process, both giving tips about the college admissions process as well as the college financing process. Check out MEFA’s Early College Planning Blog!
During your senior year, you will work towards finalizing your college plans. This year is filled with admission applications, scholarship essays, financial aid applications, and the need to meet several deadlines throughout the year. Continue to build your resume by achieving academic success, as well as participating in extracurricular activities. Colleges are very interested in well-rounded students. The college preparation process that takes place during your senior year is filled with a lot of details and related paperwork. It is very important that you involve your family with this process. Stay organized and keep track of deadlines! Refer to the Senior Year Checklist and Planning Calendar – this will be essential to keeping you on track during senior year!
During the sophomore and junior years, students should take challenging academic courses and participate in extracurricular activities. Sophomores will take the PSAT and juniors should seriously consider taking either the SAT or ACT during the spring. It is never too early for students to begin searching for colleges and developing the college list as well as visiting college campuses to get a sense of the type, size, and location of colleges that you like.
Things to think about when planning for college:
- Prepare for the SAT and ACT by signing up for the SAT Question of the Day, checking out the ACT Question of the Day, as well as downloading the SAT Sample Tests and ACT Prep Materials.
- Research colleges and develop your college application list. Use YourPlanForTheFuture to search for and research colleges. As you develop your college application list, please be sure to take note of details and organize information about the colleges you are interested in including application procedures, admissions deadlines, financial aid deadlines, and specific admissions criteria (such as GPA, course completion, and SAT/ACT Scores). Read more on developing the college list so you have an idea of how to approach finalizing your college application list.
- Keep your grades up! Colleges will request your transcript as part of the college application process, thus it is crucial that you keep your grades up!
- Begin writing a draft of the college essay and share with your English teacher, parent, or trusted peer.
- Think about which academic teacher and which vocational teacher you will ask for a teacher recommendation.
- Review your online social media profiles such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. What messages are you sending about yourself? Admissions counselors and employers may look at these pages when deciding whether to accept or hire you.
- Create an email account that you can use for all your college-related correspondence. Keep all of your user names and passwords in a safe place. You will be asked to set up MANY accounts during the college application process, so keep everything in a safe and accessible place.
- Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse if you would like to participate in Division I or II sports in college.
- You will need assistance from your parents/guardians, such as emotional and financial supports, so keep them in the loop. Have an honest discussion with your parents/guardians about your college plans and dreams.
- Develop a filing system to keep track of all the information from colleges, correspondence, and materials.
- Attend college planning and college financing seminars with your parents. For many parents, the college application process and their role in it is a new and daunting adventure. Include them in your process so they know how to best support you.
- Review the information on Scholarships on this site, as paying for college is a big piece of the puzzle. You can also begin to work on the essays and applications that will be required when applying for scholarships.