College Planning -Tips To Get An Early Start

For many high school seniors, the college planning process has finally come to an end. Aside from searching for scholarships and filling out those applications, seniors must simply wait to hear from the schools they applied to and then make that final college decision about where they want to spend the next four years.

For high school juniors, January marks the official beginning of the college planning process. While many students have already taken the PSAT and perhaps thought a little about college, the second semester of your junior year is a big one.

1. Most high school juniors will be taking the SAT and ACT for the first official time. As a college admissions consultingI recommend a test prep class to help you prepare. You do not need to spend a lot of money for a course, but Google “test prep” and the city you live in or near to find some small companies that offer a comprehensive course at an affordable price.

2. It is now time to get into a full college planning mode. Make a calendar of what needs to be done and when. This should include dates when you intend to take the SAT and ACT, AP tests, college visits, and meeting with your high school counselor to go over your senior schedule.

3. Colleges will be very interested in the grades you get this second semester and in many cases, they may be the last grades schools will see before they evaluate your college applications and transcript. Work hard to make your grades the best. If you need to make any schedule changes, do them sooner, rather than later.

4. Extracurricular activities are important and high school juniors should look for leadership positions in the activities you already pursue. Although it may involve a little more time and commitment on your part, colleges like to see students who have made that extra effort to not only be a member of an organization, but distinguish yourself as a leader.

5. Starting your college search is one of the most important parts of the college planning process. It takes self-reflection and research to find the schools that really fit your academic and personal needs. Do not eliminate any schools because of cost. That can come later in the process if needed. Keep an open mind when you consider schools and do not limit yourself to a few with which you are familiar.

6. Visit some schools that are within driving distance from your home to get a feel for different campuses. They may not be of interest to you in terms of attending, but you will gain some idea of size and what kind of campus location you might like.



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