As a rising senior, it's important to remember that the sooner you begin mapping out your own individualized plan for the college admissions process, the further ahead of the game you'll be and on your way to a successful college career. Yes, it is a daunting process that can take a lot of time and effort, but the earlier you put in the time and effort, the less stressed you will be later in the process. While many ignore this advice, those that do take it are later very grateful that they did in fact prepare earlier on. Even if you prepare a little bit at a time, you will be further ahead than you think! Follow these lists as guidelines to help you create your own college preparation map as a high school junior or, better yet, rising senior:
- Take the most challenging academic schedule you can. It shows admissions officers that you're ready for a competitive college environment.
- Research prospective colleges. Sign up for Fastweb's College Search to find the right school for you.
- Attend college fairs and speak to on-campus college representatives.
- Register, prepare for and take the PSAT/NMSQT.
- Begin studying for the SAT or ACT.
- Register with Fastweb to find scholarship money.
- Take leadership roles in clubs, activities and volunteer organizations.
- Begin to consider which teachers, advisors or employers you might ask for college recommendations from.
- Explore financial aid options with your parents/guardians.
- Apply for scholarships.
- Visit prospective colleges during spring break.
- Continue discussing college costs and options with your parents/guardians.
- Make an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss your college options.
- Put together your resume, including academic record, extracurricular activities, honors and volunteer work.
- Check academic requirements for your prospective schools. Summer is the best time to fill any gaps.
- Find out when the SAT is offered and sign up.
- Apply for summer jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities.
- Visit prospective colleges. Be sure to talk with current students about the school.
- Athletes should register with the school at the end of the academic year.
- Request applications and brochures from your top colleges.
- Get started on college application essays by writing sample drafts.
- Take some time out to prepare for your standardized tests.