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Guiding the Gifted Advanced Academic Services Austin Independent School District

College Knowledge Now One of the greatest tools in planning for the future is accessing and understanding the information needed to make informed decisions. The expanse of information can be overwhelming to parents and their children. To help you begin your search, a select number of suggestions and resources are provided. Take a few minutes to browse these sites focused on college, career, and success. Click on any blue link below. Explore Career Opportunities Explore opportunities based on your interests and work values, match characteristics of your current or most recent occupation with similar occupations, and find specific information such as the fastest growing jobs, levels of education and training requirements, and average salaries. Explore careers using Texas CARES Evaluate Expenses Against Careers Estimate how much money you need for housing, utilities, transportation, clothes, health care, entertainment and other expenses, and see which careers will pay for these needs. Compare Careers & Expenses Using Reality Check GenTX Information and inspiration regarding college and career readiness. Get Ready for College A college planning guide and workbook for students in grades 9-12. College Prep 101 Provides information about how to prepare for and succeed in college.

Most middle schools and high schools have resources to assist families and their children with career exploration and college preparation. Ask your child’s guidance counselor what is available.

Austin Independent School District

Advanced Academic Services

The table provides a four year overview of key actions that your high school child can complete to support their college goals. Some items are repeated as they can be completed over multiple years of high school. 9th Grade     

  

Outline the classes you’ll need to take for the next 4 years. Take the most challenging course of study available. Join clubs and activities in your area of interest. Meet with your school’s guidance counselor to discuss courses and extracurricular activities. Start building relationships with teachers, counselors and activity sponsors. This will help you obtain recommendations for college later. Select a volunteer organization you'd like to join. Become familiar with the standardized tests you need. Discuss college costs with parents/guardians.

10th Grade          

Begin taking on leadership roles in clubs and activities. Begin thinking about potential colleges to attend. Sign up for FastWeb’s College Search and Scholarship Search. Make an appointment to talk with your guidance counselor. Strengthen relationships with teachers, counselors and activity sponsors. This will help you obtain recommendations for college later. Become familiar with the standardized tests you need. Attend college fairs and speak to college representatives. Research summer programs for college prep. Discuss college costs with parents/guardians. Apply for summer jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities.

11th Grade Fall  Take the most challenging academic schedule you can. It shows admissions officers that you're ready for a competitive college environment.  Research prospective colleges.  Attend college fairs and speak to college representatives.  Register, prepare for and take the PSAT/NMSQT.  Begin studying for the SAT or ACT.  Research FastWeb’s College Search and Scholarship Search.  Take leadership roles in clubs, activities and volunteer organizations.  Begin to consider which teachers, advisors or employers you might use for college recommendations.  Explore financial aid options with your parents/guardians. February-March  Apply for scholarships.  Visit prospective colleges during spring break.  Get all current school year test dates.  Discuss college costs and options with parents/guardians.  Put together your resume. April-May  Check academic requirements for your prospective schools. Summer is the best time to fill any gaps.  Get all current school year test dates. June-August  Visit prospective colleges.  Be sure to talk with current students about the school.  Athletes should register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse at the end of the academic year.  Request applications and brochures from your top colleges.  Get started on college application essays writing sample drafts.  Take some time out to prepare for your standardized tests.

12th Grade June – August  Tour the colleges you are interested in attending.  Research prospective colleges. September  Create folders and a filing system for your target schools.  Set up a budget for college application costs.  Check to see if you can get waivers on your application fees.  Request letters of recommendation with a 2-week notice.  Finish application essays.  Make sure that you include college choices on ACT/SAT.  Find and apply for as many scholarships as possible. October  Talk to your parents/guardians about college costs.  Request transcripts sent to your target schools. November  If you're applying Early Decision, get your application in now. Make sure that everything that is required is included.  Keep copies of all applications and forms sent to colleges.  Request test scores sent to colleges. December  Finish college applications! January  File or apply for FAFSA after January 1.  Check with your prospective colleges about additional financial aid application forms and requirements.  Send mid-year reports to colleges, if necessary.  Verify that colleges have received your applications.  Send thank-you notes to your recommendation sources. February  Review the SAR (Student Aid Report) for accuracy. March-April  Check the mail for admissions letters and financial aid awards.  Compare your admissions offers.  Contact financial aid office if you have any special financial aid circumstances.  If waitlisted, notify the admissions office if you're still interested.  Plan your summer internship, job or program. May  Make sure you've received the necessary forms for housing, health insurance, financial aid, etc.  Pursue additional student loan options.  Notify colleges of any private scholarship awards. June-August  Have your final transcripts sent to your new school.  Double-check any final deadlines: housing, financial aid, etc.  Set up a projected first-year college budget.

Adapted from College Preparation. (February 2006). “College Prep Timeline.”

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