• Start your year off right by talking with your guidance counselor about the year ahead. Confirm that your courses will put you on the right track for college admission. Be sure to ask about test dates for the ACT and SAT. You’ll need to register up to six weeks ahead of time.
  • Start developing a résumé—a record of your accomplishments, activities, and work experiences. This will be an important part of your college application.
  • If you haven’t participated in many activities outside of class, now is the time to sign up. Consider clubs at school, team sports, leadership roles, or involvement in your religious or civic community group.
  • Begin to prepare for the ACT or SAT.  You should plan to take at least one of these tests in the spring and again next fall during your senior year. Ask your counselor if you qualify for a fee waiver.


  • Meet with your guidance counselor again to develop your senior schedule. Make sure that you will be enrolled in the most challenging courses for which you are qualified.
  • Register for a spring offering of the SAT and/or ACT. Ask your counselor if you should take an SAT Subject Test this spring.
  • Ask your counselor about summer opportunities on college campuses. These can be a great way to find out what college life is all about and make you a more attractive candidate for admission to colleges.


  • Begin taking a more serious look at colleges and universities. Make a file for each college in which you are interested and gather information about academics, financial aid, and campus life. Go to college fairs and open houses and learn as much as you can about colleges online.
  • Begin planning college visits. Spring break is a good time to visit. Try to visit colleges near you and include a large, medium size, and small campus
  • Develop a preliminary list of colleges that interest you. Write or email to request a viewbook and additional information.
  • Think about lining up a summer job, internship or co-op.


  • Take a look at some college applications and consider all of the different pieces of information you will need to compile.
  • Make a list of teachers, counselors, employers, and other adults whom you might ask to write letters of recommendation for your college applications.


  • Continue investigating colleges
  • Begin thinking about your applications. Generally, colleges will have their applications online by the beginning of August. Work on the essay before you return to school!

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