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Steps To College

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7th Grade

Tell your parents and school guidance counselor that you plan on going to college.  Ask them to help you prepare.

Take challenging classes in English, Math, Science, History, etc.

Strive to maintain an “A” or “B” average all through school, especially the college prep courses.

Get into the reading habit and ask your teachers to recommend books. Start to study with a group of friends (create a study group).

Work with an Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), or other academic program representative.

Volunteer for a community service organization so you can start accumulating community service hours

Apply for scholarships, scholarships start as early as 5th grade, like the Angela Award http://www.nsta.org/about/awards.aspx#angela

8th Grade

Continue to participate in EAOP, MESA or other academic enrichment programs at all grade levels.

Continue to participate in study groups and read, read, read.

Ask your counselor or program representative about Summer Academic Enrichment Programs.

Talk pre-algebra or algebra.

Make sure your 9th grade schedule includes algebra or more advanced math and/or foreign language classes.

Take the American College Test (ACT) for fun. www.act.org. No need to select colleges to send your scores to, just wait until you have the scores you want to send.

It is extremely important to work with your counselor or program representative so they can help interpret your scores.

Volunteer for a community service organization to add to your community service hours. This helps with scholarships

Apply for scholarships for college. Check out our website https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources/scholarships

9th Grade

Take challenging college preparatory courses. Make sure you review you’re A-G, or require courses needed to get into college. Visit our website https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources

Begin researching universities that interest you.

Begin researching scholarships, grants and other financial aid programs. Check out our website for scholarships https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources/scholarships

Take the ACT test. www.act.org and SAT test. www.collegeboard.com

Make community and other positive extracurricular activities a must on your schedule. Please volunteer with organizations to get community service hours.  This is really good to have on your resume when applying for scholarships

Take a summer course that helps you prepare for college.

10th Grade

Continue to take challenging college preparatory courses, and striving for A’s.  Academic performance in 10th and 11th grade is extremely important!  D’s are unacceptable and colleges will not count D’s.  Remember you will be applying for college before you begin your senior year so make sure you perform well academically 9th, 10th and 11th grade.  These are the years most colleges will decide to admit you or not.

Continue researching universities and scholarships. Check out our updated scholarships https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources/scholarships

Now is the time to take the PSAT in October.

Take the SAT and ACT in again this year. This may be the great score you can use to get into college before your senior year.

Broaden your spectrum of community and other positive extracurricular activities.

Get a daily planner to help you stay on track and organized with all of your activities. Make using the planner a habit that you continue to use through college. Here’s one suggestion, but you can research other options https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/make-a-plan

Form a study group or get a tutor if you get behind in any course. This self-help experience can also be used in college. Also, ask your teach in the subject you are behind in for help or suggestions so you can do better.

Use the summer to hone your reading skills and experience. Get a suggested reading list for college-bound students from your English teacher.

If you get a D in a class please retake that course over the summer.

If you are a STUDENT ATHLETE register for the NCAA Clearinghouse at the beginning of your sophomore year so you are eligible for athletic scholarships. www.ncaa.org to allow sufficient time to be sure you are on track to graduate on time to meet the NCAA;s required initial eligibility standards.

11th Grade

Continue to take college preparatory courses. Work towards getting as many A’s as possible.  Academic performance in the 11th and 10th grade is extremely important! D’s are unacceptable and colleges will not count D’s.

Visit College fairs in your area. Look for a list of our expos www.thecollegeexpo.org

Narrow your choice of universities to an average of six to eight. Begin applying to universities.

Make plans to visit universities you are considering.

Continue looking for scholarships to apply for. Start putting your bio together.  Begin asking for recommendation letters from your teachers, counselors, administrators, and community leaders.

Take the SAT and ACT in the fall, winter or spring, and make sure you take the PSAT in October. 11th grade is when you can get merit based scholarships based on your PSAT test scores).

Continue to broaden your spectrum of community and other positive extracurricular activities and volunteer work. Community service is a BIG plus when you are applying for scholarships.  In many cases, as equally important as getting good grades.

Keep making use of your daily planner.

Become a pro at taking thorough notes. You’ll need this skill every day in college.

Apply early to summer programs at colleges and universities. And enroll in a college summer program. They are fun and give you a glimpse of the college experience.

If you have any D’s please retake the class in the summer.

Apply for federal and state aid by filing out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) www.fafsa.ed.gov application opens up for upcoming school year October 1st.

12th Grade

Keep going for A’s and continue to strive for academic excellence.

Keep attending college fairs in your area. These events are the next best thing to actually visiting universities. Look for a list of our expos www.thecollegeexpo.org. Many of the colleges that attend our expos have rolling enrollment which offers great options for attending college.

Narrow the application process to a minimum of eight to ten colleges. You can put up to 10 colleges on your FAFSA. Watch the deadlines! Also, look for colleges based on your major or what you want to become as a professional, not because it is the so-called “popular college”.

Make sure you set up a Web Portal account with all the schools you applied to, so you can see your status with that particular college, register for housing, check your financial aid award and scholarships, and vital information on campus tours, special events and important deadlines.

Finish the financial aid application process, which includes any changes if needed on your FAFSA. Watch the deadlines! Dollars are given away on a first come first serve basis.

In October or November re-take the SAT and/or ACT if you weren’t pleased with your scores on the previous tests and want to do better.

You should find out what colleges or universities have accepted you by March, no later than April. If you have not heard from a college that you really like by April, contact its admissions office to help expedite a decision.

Your financial aid award letters should begin arriving in the spring. Respond to the letters immediately!

When your student aid report (SAR) comes in, make sure all information is correct. Send the universities that have accepted you – your SAR.

By the end of May you should have finalized your decision on the college or university you will attend. Reply immediately to any questions or requests that it may have.

Take Advance Placement Examinations in May if they are offered in your area. Consider taking the College Level Entry Program (CLEP) in an area of study that you are particularly advanced in. If you score well on this test, you can earn college credit for a course, and this will save you money on college tuition because less classes will be needed to graduate.

Work during the summer to put away money for your college needs.

If you are able to graduate early (at the end of the 1st semester of your senior year in high school) work through the winter and spring, perhaps at an area department store, to put away money for your college needs, or consider taking general education classes at your local community college. Make sure the classes are transferable. This too will save you money on college tuition expenses.

Assemble everything you will need for going to college from your study gear to your wardrobe.

Don’t stop your community and volunteer work.

Consult and update your daily planner at least twice a day.

One evening in late July sharpen you culinary skills and fix a dinner (it can be simple) for your family. This will be your way of saying thanks for all of their help and support before you go to college.

Plan to take a summer orientation session at your university if it offers it. It will help you prepare in numerous ways for your freshman year.

Once in college look to get involved in student organization and student government so you can be engaged in your college and also go to the sporting events and games so you can really live the college experience. Try to balance your life and learn time management so you can be successful in college.  Have fun!!!

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