It's never too late to improve your grades. Colleges look for an upward trend. Your GPA and class rank are important for college admission and scholarships. Specialize your involvement in activities. Concentrate on your special talents, abilities and interests. Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities, as well as variety. If you are interested in a military academy, start the application process now. See your guidance counselor. Sign up to meet with college representatives who visit your high school. Attend Kiwanis and other local college fairs in the area. See your counselor for dates and times. Develop leadership skills by accepting responsibility. Participate in the practice program for the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Prepare for and take the PSAT/NMSQT. Discuss your scores with your counselor.
Take the EMPT (Early Math Placement Test) if available to determine how strong your math skills are. Think about where you would like to go to college. Size, costs, location and academic programs are some of the things to consider. Explore the Internet. Write to request college catalogs. Consult college guidebooks. Talk to your counselor. Continue to research information about scholarships and other kinds of financial aid. Attend your school's financial aid night. Take a parent or guardian if possible. Study for the ACT and SAT tests. Study guides, prep courses and computer tutorials are available in every high school. Register for the early spring ACT and/or SAT tests. If you are planning to apply to a highly selective college, the SAT II subject test may be required. See your guidance counselor. Take the ACT and/or SAT tests.
Continue to take a full course load of college prep courses in your senior year. It will pay off later. Discuss post-secondary enrollment options with your guidance counselor. Discuss ACT/SAT scores with your guidance counselor. If necessary, develop a plan to increase your scores when you take the tests again in your senior year. Apply for a summer job. It's important to save most of your earnings for college. Be prepared to pay for college application, financial aid and testing fees in the fall.
Visit as many college campuses as you can. Talk with students currently enrolled at the colleges and/or alumni who live in the Columbus area. Read, read, read. Become involved in the community by volunteering. Participate in summer academic enrichment activities, such as Summer Scholars.
All male students must register for selective service on their 18th birthday to be eligible for federal and state financial aid. Read thoroughly through all the mail you receive from colleges. Consult with your guidance counselor. Continue to improve your grades. Don't just take the easy courses. The more you are challenged, the better prepared you will be for the first year of college. Continue your specialized activities demonstrating initiative, creativity, commitment and leadership. Consider a more active role. (Get involved in student government or a project.) Narrow your college choices to four. Attend local college fairs. Be sure you are enrolled in the college prep courses needed for college admission. If you haven't taken the ACT or SAT, register now. Sign up to meet with college representatives who visit your high school. Make more college visits, if necessary, to narrow your choice. Apply for scholarship and talent grants. See your guidance counselor or college representative for more information. Search for scholarships on the Internet. Obtain letters of recommendation (teachers, employers, counselors, volunteer organizations, etc.) Meet college application deadlines. Apply early. Be sure you have applied to at least one college you know you can afford, and where you will most likely be accepted. Order the CSS Profile if required by your university. Keep copies of everything you send.
Finish completing your college admission and financial aid applications. All applications should be sent prior to winter break. Keep a copy of everything you send. Obtain the need analysis forms: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the guidance office. The FAFSA may not be processed prior to January 1. The form also is available on the Internet. Write to the colleges of your choice for their own institutional financial aid applications (some require separate forms). Attend the financial aid night at your high school. Collect college financial and tax information in preparation for completing your financial aid application. Register for financial aid forms assistance nights, which are held in February. See your guidance counselor for your college's specific financial aid deadlines.
Be sure all forms necessary for admission and all possible financial aid applications have been submitted (keep copies). Attend college workshops in your school. Pass the 12th grade proficiency tests.
When you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), review it with your guidance counselor. By now you should have received the financial aid award notice from colleges. Discuss results with your guidance counselor. Return acceptance form (for admission and financial aid) to the college you plan to attend. Include all appropriate fees.
Finalize your college choice. If possible, do not make your selection without having made a campus visit. Withdraw your application from admission and financial aid from the colleges you have decided not to attend. Complete the follow-up paperwork for the college (examples: scheduling orientation session, sending housing deposit, having a medical exam, etc.). Notify the guidance office of your college of choice and request a final transcript be sent to the college in June.
If applicable, apply for a Stafford Direct Loan through a lender. Allow six weeks for processing the loan. Receive orientation schedule from the college. Receive residence hall assignment from the college. Receive course scheduling information and cost information from the college. This may be done during orientation. Congratulations! You've done a great job. Best wishes!
College planning timeline: Juniors and seniors