9th grade- It’s never too early to start planning!
  • Create a four year high school plan- this is extremely important because you want to make sure the classes you choose are part of the UC’s/CSU’s A-G list required to get in to some colleges. Do this now so that you will not have to backtrack and take courses that you didn’t know you needed, when you are in 11th grade.
  • Start thinking about careers- What do you like, what are you good at? Explore your interests, not just academically, but in all areas. Talk to your parents, counselor, teachers, and community professionals, anyone that can give insight on different careers.
  • Actively participate in extracurricular activities- Sports, clubs, music, band, choir, theater, video, yearbook, community volunteer activities, anything that can expose you to different activities that you might be interested in.
  • Meet with your counselor during the year- Discuss high school requirements and classes as well as post high school plans and requirements, this way you can make the most of your high school classes- Remember, they are here to help!
  • You have roughly 2 months to work on your personal/professional growth. Read books, volunteer, travel, take a class (high school summer school or community college). Colleges will ask you how your spent your time when you’re not required to go to school.

10th grade- Prepare yourself!
  • Meet with your Counselor- again! Make sure you are enrolled in the right classes. Work hard to keep your grades up.
  • Take the PSAT or PACT in October - This will prepare you for the real deal, the SAT or ACT. Find out your score so that you can prepare for the areas you need better knowledge of.
  • Attend Fall College and Career fairs- Go outside your comfort zone and talk to the colleges you don’t know too much about. Sometimes those are the colleges that give the most scholarship money!
  • Be involved- Extracurricular activities help you develop time management skills, as well as enrich the high school experience, AND… look great on your college applications!
  • Tour college campuses – Take advantage of vacation or travel opportunities to visit colleges. Spring Break is an excellent time, since many colleges have different spring break schedules from high schools!
  • Take your AP (May) and/or SAT Subject Tests (May/June) for subjects you’re taking during 10th grade.   
  • Spend your time wisely during summer. Whether it’s taking a college class or volunteering, colleges want to see that you’re improving yourself and/or the community.  

11th grade- Now’s the time!
  • Meet with your counselor during the year- Learn the college application process, stay organized and engaged! Talk about college options and senior classes that meet your personal requirements.
  • Visit college websites, attend fairs, meet with college representatives, and talk to your parents about college.
  • Take the Official PSAT- This will prepare you for the real deal, the SAT or ACT, and qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship.
  • Think about your interests and abilities in terms of possible college majors.
  • Take the ACT and/or SAT in the Spring- you’ve been preparing for this, now’s your time to shine!
  • Look into scholarship opportunities and or summer opportunities. Many of the highly selective programs have deadlines in January/February
  • Take your AP (May) and/or SAT Subject Tests (May/June) if needed
  • Visit colleges and narrow your list; begin brainstorming on topics/stories you’d like to share on your college essays.
  • This is the last opportunity for colleges to really get a glimpse on who you are. Get a part-time job, participate in one of the coveted summer programs or start something new! Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to shine!
  • Write drafts for your college essays and/or start filling out college applications. The common application (for private colleges) opens on August 1st!

12th grade- The Final Steps!
  • Decide which colleges you are applying to and start filling out applications- Be aware of all deadlines!
  • Retake the SAT/ACT if needed, last dates for seniors are in December.
  • Ask your teachers and counselors for letters of rec (if needed). Ask early so they have enough time to complete them
  • Attend college representative presentations- These reps are the ones who read your applications, ask questions, AND BE ENGAGING so they will remember you!
  • Fill out the FAFSA for financial aid (opens Oct 1st!) and request transcripts for private schools. Make sure you have all required documents needed for FAFSA (income tax info, social security number, etc.).
  • SUBMIT all applications, documents, and anything else needed and WAIT… for college responses!
  • Decide which college you are accepting and communicate with their admissions office on the process to finish enrolling.
  • Submit your mid-year reports to private colleges
  • Select your college by May 1st – the National “Statement of Intent to Register” day
  • Finish up your senior year strong! College acceptance is contingent on students passing all their classes, even the ones during senior year!