Page 1

my college planner


































fore you e B r. a e y e phomor It’s your so ing from t a u d a r g ou’ ll be . know it y o college t g n i o g ol and high scho e! Here’s m i t e l t t li and so Lots to do ins and e h t u o y o give a guide t ollege. c r o f g n i y pl outs of ap


Register for the PSAT/NMSQT — check with your guidance counselor about the dates or visit the College Board website at

Make a list of your interests and possible careers. Answer some basic questions. What are your interests? What activities and classes do you enjoy? What kind of career interests you? Start a list here:


irs College fa d . s ir fa e g s to fin d colle Tip: Atten ellent opportunitie admissions offer exc ols from bout scho They are there a re o m t ou mni. rs and alu ons and tell you counselo sti r your que to answe chools. ut their s o b a le tt a li

Start looking at classes you will take your junior year based on your interest list.

Start a list of schools and then request information from them. Start a list here:

1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) 10.)


1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) 10.)

SOPHOMORE YEAR Think about the location you would most like to go to school in — near home? Away from home? In a city? In a rural area? List pros and cons of each. Consider the size school you would want to attend and the size of its student body — a small college or a large university, small student body or large student body? List pros and cons of each. Talk to your guidance counselor, parents, siblings and friends about schools they have heard about. Start looking at college-search websites or college and university sites to find out more about the schools. Make a list of schools you would like to visit and attend college fairs. Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your college plans.


summer before your

JUNIOR YEAR Register to take the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT or ACT. Plan to visit some of the schools that interest you. Revisit your thoughts about location, school and student-body size — are you still interested in the same things as you were a year ago? Consider other things that you might want from a school and make a list of your top five expectations — from academics to on-campus life, to extra-curricular activities, to off-campus life.


2.) 3.)


5.) Narrow down >>> Continue to evaluate your list of colleges and universities. Eliminate colleges from the original list that no longer interest you.


2.) 3.)




Tip: Re memb e challen r to keep ging yo urself academ ically.

JUNIOR YEAR SEPTEMBER Things to do Keep searching online. Plan to attend college fairs. Start looking into scholarship opportunities and make a list here:


2.) 3.)


5.) Talk to your parents about their expectations. Write them down here:

Private or public school?

In-state or out-of-state?

How much can they contribute?

Will you have a car to take on campus, if the school allows?


JUNIOR YEAR OCTOBER Things to do Prepare to take the PSAT/NMSQT or SAT if you have not already done so. Visit the College Board website at for test-taking tips and practice tests. Review the test with your counselor — formulate a study plan for preparing for the SAT. Write down your plan here:

NOVEMBER Things to do Review the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but do not file the form yet. You can get the FAFSA from your high school counselor, or call (800) 4FED-AID (433-3243) or go online to Start to investigate eligibility requirements of the various government and private student loans. Schedule appointments for summer interviews and campus visits. Write down your plan here:


JUNIOR YEAR SPRING Things to do Finalize a list of schools to visit.

1.) 2.) 3.)


Tip: Try to go o while s n campus visi ts ch session ool is still in , maybe d your spr ing brea uring k.


5.) Attend open houses and college fairs. Meet with your guidance counselor and map out your class plan for next year. Write down your plan here:

Make appointments for summer interviews and campus visits.


summer before your

SENIOR YEAR Things to do Start jotting ideas down to include in your personal essays for colleges. Consider essay topics. Make a list:




k r jobs, thin e m m u s o int you n looking will help b jo f o Tip: Whe e p at ty ests. about wh and inter er ls il k s r u o develop y bout special summ . ka ams in Also, th ent progr m h ic r n e r o academic




Think about recommendations — who will write them? Make a list:


2.) 3.)


5.) Register for the SAT.


summer before your

SENIOR YEAR Start compiling a résumé of activities, honors, leadership positions and job experience. Note them here: Activities


Leadership positions

Job experience

Make a list of things to look for in a college:

1.) Where is it located? 2.) What degree programs does it offer and does it have what you are looking for? 3.) What’s the student body like? 4.) How big is the campus? 5.) What do you feel like when you visit the campus? 6.) Does it have what you are looking for in a school? 7.) 8.) 9.) 10.)


SENIOR YEAR SEPTEMBER Things to do Check your course load — do you have all the credits you will need? Keep researching scholarship information.


2.) 3.)


5.) If you’re still not sure, it’s not too late to schedule more tours of schools — talk to faculty and students and get a good feel for the campus and programs. Meet with your counselor to finalize your list and start applying to the schools that you are most interested in, including at least one that you think is a “long shot.”


2.) 3.)




say, g your es our in it r w n e y Tip: Wh ore than m t u o b re to a write . Make su ou s t n e m h s accompli t is important to y ha include w u enjoy doing. yo and what

SENIOR YEAR OCTOBER Things to do Take the SAT or ACT. Hand out your recommendation forms and stamped envelopes already addressed to the admissions office.


Tip: Stu dy for th your pra e SAT and time ctice ses sions.

Ask your high school to send transcripts to your selected colleges. Mail early decision applications.

NOVEMBER Things to do Take the SAT language test if required. Start writing and revising essays.

DECEMBER Things to do Submit applications or turn them in at school. Schedule interviews. Start filling out financial aid forms — follow the steps for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid form at or ask your guidance counselor for assistance. Apply for outside funding and scholarships.


SENIOR YEAR JANUARY Things to do File all federal financial aid forms — apply for any state financial aid available. Ask your high school to send midyear grade reports to your colleges. Verify that all your application materials have been sent and received.

WORD OF WARNING! Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely important to keep your grades up second semester senior year. If your grades take a significant dive, your admission could be withdrawn.

MARCH Things to do Watch the mail for admission acceptance letters. Remember, it is not too late to apply to more schools if you did not get in to your first choices.

APRIL Things to do Review your acceptances — write a list of pros and cons. College




SENIOR YEAR APRIL (more) Things to do Visit your top choices again if possible. Finalize your decision — most colleges want a reply by May 1.

MAY Things to do Notify your chosen college of your decision and send a deposit. Notify the colleges you did not choose so they can offer your spot to others. Write and send thank-you notes to teachers and counselors who wrote recommendations for you. CONGRATULATIONS! If you have taken all the required courses and tests to apply for college, it is time to prepare for some fun.

JUNE Things to do Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your chosen college. Start your list of what to bring to college.

1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.)


Located in the heart of RICHMOND, the capital of Virginia since 1779

Student organizations represent a VAST RANGE OF INTERESTS — whether you’re interested in student government, fraternity or sorority life, recreational or religious activity, community service or student media. If you can’t find the perfect club to suit you, create your own!

44 Our mascot is a RAM.

O r

The number of VCU students and recent alumni who have received Fulbright awards since 2005

At the DA VINCI CENTER for Innovation, the schools of the Arts, Business and Engineering collaborate to engage the creative, technical and commercial elements necessary for successful product development.

OFFERS ACADEMIC PROGRAMS IN: College of Humanities and Sciences (which includes the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and the School of World Studies) • School of the Arts • School of Allied Health Professions • School of Business • School of Dentistry • School of Education • School of Engineering • L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs • School of Medicine • School of Nursing • School of Pharmacy • School of Social Work • University College • VCU Life Sciences • VCU Graduate School

One of the most MULTICULTURAL student bodies in the nation: Diversity can be found in VCU’s programs, students and faculty.


The number of FITNESS FACILITIES with free membership for students: the Cary Street Gym and the Recreation and Aquatic Center

uR t

m a

AN NCAA DIVISION I and ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE MEMBER. No football team, but there’s baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

JUST A ROAD TRIP AWAY from Washington, D.C., New York, Boston or even Daytona Beach.

ENCOURAGES LEARNING OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM AT: Fortune 500 headquarters based in Richmond Art galleries and museums (more than 50 in the city) Government offices at the state Capitol Internships in D.C., New York or Seattle for that outof-state experience

W   G C

 q


Offers STUDY ABROAD in places like China, Italy, Costa Rica, England and South Africa


Outing Rental Center offers all the equipment you might need to create your own OUTDOOR ADVENTURE. Grab a sleeping bag, tent and canoe and be on your way!

DINING HALLS serve more than an average sandwich. Options like sushi, stir-fry, fresh salads, pastas and homemade desserts keep the dining experience exciting. While COFFEE SHOPS located throughout campus provide a quick pick-me-up and a tasty treat.


The number of acres on which the campus sits

Two libraries — the James Branch Cabell Library, home to the largest book art collection in the Southeast and the largest popular culture and COMIC ART COLLECTION in the state, and Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, housing the largest medical collection in Virginia

COLLEGE CHECKLIST THINGS TO BRING TO COLLEGE 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) 10.) 11.) 12.) 13.) 14.) 15.) 16.) 17.) 18.) 19.) 20.) 21.) 22.) 23.) 24.) 25.)


TUTORIALS There are so many acronyms out there. Which test should I take? Which test is right for me?


TUTORIAL: TESTS WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE: PSAT/NMSQT, SAT AND ACT? PSAT/NMSQT: Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – practice test for the SAT. If taken in the junior year, you have the opportunity to earn entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program. You should register through your school and check with your guidance counselor for registration deadlines (usually late September/early October). SAT – administered by the College Board. Measures verbal and mathematical reasoning ability and is the most widely recognized college admissions test in the U.S. Students usually take the test in the spring of their junior year and will retake the test in the early fall of their senior year. You must register directly with the College Board. Check with your guidance counselor for registration information and deadlines. SAT Subject Tests – also administered by the College Board. These measure achievement in a specific subject area such as Spanish, mathematics, chemistry, etc. Students take these tests if required by the college/university they plan to attend. Students use the same registration materials they used for the SAT.



ACT – measures academic ability essential to success in college. Format is different than the SAT. Students receive scores in English, mathematics, natural science and social science, as well as a composite score. Students should take this test in the spring of their junior year and again in the early fall of their senior year. Students must register directly with ACT. Check with your guidance counselor for registration information and deadlines.

WHY TAKE THE SAT OR THE ACT? The SAT and ACT are college aptitude tests and help

to determine a student’s academic potential in college. Check with your intended college or university on which to take.

Plan to take the test twice, but no more than three

times. Most schools accept the best scores; check with individual schools. Sign up for either test during the spring of your junior year in high school. Allow for fall of senior year to take the test a second time, if necessary.

Although there are several important factors in college admission, grades definitely matter. Grades reflect a student’s work ethic.

Recommended schedule for tests: • Grade 10: PSAT/NMSQT • Grade 11: PSAT/NMSQT October; SAT/ACT spring • Grade 12: SAT/ACT fall, SAT Subject Tests (as required) fall, but no later than January


TUTORIALS TUTORIAL: APPLICATION WHEN DO I START COLLEGE VISITATIONS? Any time is a good time. Get involved in summer activities sponsored by colleges and universities.

Plan to begin visits during your junior year of high school. Open houses provide great opportunities.

During your senior year, you should plan final visits.

Reminder: Many applications are due by the fall. Your junior year is the best time to investigate schools.




es, g campus in it is v n e ake Tip: Wh res and m take pictu the cafeteria. t in sure to ea universities me Bonus: So pend the to s g allow you pus housin m a c n o life. night in of college te s ta a t to ge

Most of the time, the fall of your senior year. Check deadlines for individual schools.

Regular admission applications usually are due in January or February.

When applying to a college, learn as much as you can about

the school. Read its literature, visit and talk with an admission counselor or an alum. Make sure these people know you are serious about attending.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE CLUB LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, COMMUNITY SERVICE, EMPLOYMENT, SPORTS AND MUSIC? Very important . . . but remember quality versus quantity. More is not always better when listing activities on your application. Colleges look for the quality of your involvement, your passion for it and whether you took on a leadership role in the activity.



TUTORIAL: PAYING FOR COLLEGE HOW CAN I AFFORD COLLEGE? Grants are need-based awards that are not repaid. Scholarships are awards (usually based on merit) that are not repaid.

Employment opportunities can include work on

or near campus; check out the Federal Work-Study Program.

Loans are money borrowed and must be repaid. Other opportunities include veteran’s benefits and an

installment plan where you pay over a semester’s period.

Apply for financial aid your senior year — follow the steps for

your Free Application for Federal Student Aid form at or ask your guidance counselor.

HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT SCHOLARSHIPS? Sign up online for free scholarship searches during your sophomore year.

Visit your library. Talk with your guidance counselor.


















 VCU? t u o b a o re inf Want mo ! s Contact u, d a r g u it is V 1-3638 4 8 ) 0 0 (8 t or call us a 8-1222. or (804) 82

Virginia Commonwealth University Division of Strategic Enrollment Management Office of Admissions P.O. Box 842526 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2526

VCU does not discriminate in admissions, treatment, employment or access to its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, pregnancy, political affiliation, veteran status, family medical and genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding VCU’s nondiscrimination policies: director of equity and access services and Title IX coordinator, Moseley House, 1001 Grove Ave., P.O. Box 842549, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2549, (804) 828-1347, 002730-01

VCU College Planner  
VCU College Planner