High School College Planning Timeline As Crosby Scholars, you understand the importance of early college planning. Here are a few tips to help you stay on course for preparing for college. Student tips reprinted from: MyMajor.com; and the book, First in the Family Parent tips reprinted from: Peterson’s College Search (http://www.petersons.com/college-search/planning-list-students-parents.aspx)
Ninth Grade Academics
Meet your guidance counselor at the beginning of the school year. Explore your personal, college, and career interests with him or her. Start thinking about the kinds of colleges you would like to attend. Take classes that correspond to the most demanding requirements of the colleges to which you are thinking about seeking admission. REMEMBER: Admissions counselors consider a strenuous course load through high school to be quite important when they are considering how to evaluate a somewhat lower grade point average. They often prefer students who have taken a demanding set of courses, but who have average grade point averages, over students with high grade point averages, but who have taken easy courses. Discuss your class schedule with your counselor. Begin making a four-year plan for graduation. Enroll in advanced level classes if you can succeed in them. REMEMBER: GRADES MATTER! Even freshman year, first semester grades count in calculating your grade point average. Note: High school level courses taken in middle school will be displayed on your high school transcript. Develop good study habits and test-taking strategies. You can learn many of these skills during Crosby Academies. REMEMBER: ATTENDANCE MATTERS! Not only do grades show up on your transcript, attendance records do also. Being in class makes it easier to be successful in your academic studies, and colleges will know that your education is a priority to YOU! Don’t discount the impact this detail can have on your college applications! Begin talking to your counselor about the possibility and availability of Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, or dual enrollment classes. These discussions will help you select the most challenging courses you are able to complete during your sophomore year.
Most universities and colleges seek to enroll students with a wide range of skills, interests and backgrounds. Plan to participate actively in in-school and out-ofschool clubs, activities, and sports. Select extracurricular activities and community service opportunities that interest you. Begin to work on your activities resume listing extracurricular activities and community service involvement. Create a physical folder or online portfolio to
keep track of your involvement and awards. Note: Learn about Activity Resumes at your Freshmen Grade Advisor Meetings beginning in January.
Remember the names of your teachers. When you are applying to college you may need letters of recommendation, so good relations with your teachers is important. Open a CFNC account (www.cfnc.org). This account can be used to plan, apply, and pay for college. Use the Internet to visit college Web sites, take their virtual tours, and learn what majors are offered and what makes them different from one another. Research the differences between scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. This research will allow you to begin planning financially for college.
Provide support: Keep up regular conversations with your child about his or her academic progress. Grades should be up to par and course levels appropriate. If not, perhaps your child could use your help in establishing better study habits or creating a better study environment. Be a motivator: Develop an improvement plan together if your child is struggling and remember that the best motivation is encouragement. Remain open to change: One of the points of high school is for students to explore their interests. Determine if your child is enjoying what they're doing, and if any changes need to be made.
Tenth Grade Academics
Take challenging courses in your sophomore year. REMEMBER: Keep your grades up! Challenge yourself to have perfect attendance! Sign up for the PSAT offered free of charge at your school. Take these tests seriously and prepare for them. Use resources such as My College Quickstart (https://quickstart.collegeboard.com/posweb/login.jsp) to analyze your PSAT score report and to get suggestions on ways to improve your score for the SAT. Meet with your counselor to evaluate your post-high school plans and your academic progress toward graduation. Review and change your plans, if necessary. Research the differences between the SAT and the ACT to see which test best matches your abilities. Most schools accept either test, but check the websites of the schools to which you plan to apply to make sure. Find a trusted adult who can serve as a mentor. This individual can provide advice on academic, career, and personal issues. Plan your junior year carefully. Again, consider registering for advanced level classes if you are able to be successful in them.
Continue to engage in extra-curricular activities. Look for leadership roles and opportunities to take on responsibilities in these organizations. Leadership roles include heading committees or organizing events, in addition to having ―named roles‖ (i.e. President, Vice President, etc). Use your summer wisely! Work, volunteer, or take a summer course at a local community college or recreation center. One helpful book, The Ultimate Guide to Summer Opportunities for Teens by Sandra L. Berger (available on amazon.com), may be able to point you in the right direction. Other resources include the internet, your guidance counselor, and family friends.
Attend a college and/or career fair. Be sure to ask LOTS of questions. Not sure what to ask? Check out this link for some suggestions: http://www.schoolguides.com/collegetips/questions_to_ask_at_the_college_fair.h tml Keep thinking about majors and careers. Ask people in the community about their education and about their profession. Conduct informational interviews with these individuals to learn more about the day-to-day operations on their job. Pick some questions from this sample list: http://www.careerchoiceguide.com/informational-interview-questions.html Visit campuses when you can and collect information about schools you may want to attend.
Encourage preliminary testing: Make sure your child gets in touch with the school guidance counselor about taking the PSAT/NMSQT. Although the "real" PSAT/NMSQT is taken in October of junior year, this is a great way for your child to get familiar with the test. Stay coordinated: Mark the date for the PSAT/NMSQT in big red letters on the wall calendar! Your child should be doing a little prep work for this test, but remember, this is a practice run. Get a head start: It's also time to start checking out college fairs and possibly meeting with school representatives that come to town. Encourage your child to start investigating schools by attending one fair and a session or two with representatives at school. But don't push it — this might be way too early! Make the break a productive one: Encourage your child to have a job or be participating in constructive activities throughout the summer. Summer study, jobs, and volunteer work always rate high with admission officials. If your child has a career goal in mind, see if you can help arrange a day where he or she can "shadow" someone who works in that field.
Eleventh Grade In the 11th grade, the Crosby Scholars Program will help guide you by providing you with a timeline, discussing the college admissions process in more depth, reviewing the SAT and ACT test dates, sending a newsletter to students and parents via email, and by helping you develop your activities resume and your target list of colleges. Attending grade advisor meetings is especially important in the junior year of high school.
Continue taking advanced level courses, making good grades, and attending school regularly. REMEMBER: Grades received during junior year are very important in college admissions! For some application deadlines, these may be the final grades that the admissions’ counselors see. If you are having trouble with your schoolwork, be sure to ASK FOR HELP! Meet with your guidance counselor to recheck your high school courses. Will you meet graduation and/or college admission requirements? Plan to take the PSAT. REMEMBER: You must take the PSAT during your junior year to qualify for scholarships and awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Plan to take the SAT or ACT in the spring. If you are concerned about paying for the test, see your guidance counselor about a fee waiver. Note: Register on time for your test. Late registration fees can cost you an extra $26 (SAT) or $21 (ACT), and a fee waiver cannot be used for late registration. Take Advanced Placement (AP) exams in May. Check the websites of the schools to which you plan to apply to learn the passing scores in order to receive college credit. Meet with your counselor to discuss questions you have about college. During registration in the early spring, make sure you sign up for challenging courses for your senior year. Don’t take an easy senior year—colleges want to know that you’ve challenged yourself during your entire high school career.
Stay involved in activities. Genuine involvement in one activity is better than sporadic participation in several. Take on leadership roles whenever possible. Keep a record of awards you receive as well as of important events you participated in. If you are planning on participating in college athletics, meet with your counselor to learn more about the NCAA Clearinghouse process.
Make a list of possible colleges to attend and visit their websites. Consider criteria that are important to you like size, location, majors, etc. Attend a college fair to find out more about colleges and their requirements. Throughout the year (and during the summer) visit colleges in which you may be interested. Note: Consider visiting nearby colleges in order to get a better understanding of different types of schools (small private universities, large public universities, two-year colleges, etc.). Talk with graduates of your high school who are home from college to see what they have learned from their college experiences. Attend the Crosby Scholars Junior Bus Tour for a FREE opportunity to visit North Carolina colleges. These trips take place during Spring Break. Review the information about financial aid options from your freshman year. NOW is the time to begin researching scholarships. There are some scholarships available for juniors in high school! Practice writing personal essays before you need one for your college applications.
http://www.college-admission-essay.com/admissionessayresources.html - See examples and get tips for writing a successful college admissions essay and/or personal statement. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/01/ - More advice on writing a successful personal statement. http://www.essayedge.com/promo/samplework#college – This website provides examples of student’s personal essays, before and after.
Learn how to write a resume, interview for a job, and network with people who work in your field of interest. These skills will come in handy in the near future.
Start thinking dollars and cents: Attend, with your child, financial aid planning programs to learn more about the process of applying for and obtaining financial assistance for college. Encourage your child ask questions about financial assistance when meeting with college representatives. Kick it up a notch: Make sure your child registers for the October PSAT. This is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship program and great practice for the SAT. Go to the fair: Check into college fairs and college representative visits to the school. (The school counselor should have a schedule.) Encourage your child to attend and to start becoming very familiar with the college resources available at school. Get out of town: Schedule a day trip to visit nearby colleges. Don't worry if these are places where your child won't apply. The goal is to explore different types of schools. Aim for variety. Discuss which characteristics of schools are attractive and which aren't. Get organized: Have your son or daughter start a "College Binder" by making an early list of target colleges in a notebook. Visits to college Web sites should increase and he or she should begin calling, writing, or e-mailing target colleges to request publications. Set aside an area where all the marketing materials can be organized and be easily referenced. Note: Your child can learn more about making a list of target colleges at his or her Junior Grade Advisor meetings beginning in January. Think scholarships: Take advantage of the summer slow-down by visiting scholarship search and financial aid websites with your child, or by checking out comparable library resources.
Learn how to access and use online resources. Here are a few to get you started: o www.college.gov – Information about preparing for college, and interviews with current college students. o
http://www.nacacnet.org/PublicationsResources/steps/Pages/default.aspx - An online newsletter for and about students in the high school-to-college transition. New stories are added throughout the year. http://www.blackexcel.org/ - A wealth of information for minority and firstgeneration college students and parents. http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/checklist.jsp - A college preparation checklist with tips for students and parents.
http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/parents.jsp Information specifically for parents, focused on academic and financial preparation. o http://www2.ed.gov/students/prep/college/thinkcollege/early/parents/edliteparents.html - Information for parents about ways to help your child prepare early for college. o http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/Prepare/index.html - A resource book for Parents about college preparation. o http://www.act.org/path/parent/college/all.html - College planning information for parents. The following books might also be of interest: o What High Schools Donâ€™t Tell You: 300+ Secrets to make your kid irresistible to colleges by Senior Year by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross o First in the Family: Advice about college from first-generation students by Kathleen Cushman