• I Wish I Would Have Known....
    List of 'To Do's' for parents and students
     
     
    As you think about the upcoming school year, please consider the following:
     
    Ninth Grade
    • As soon as you can, meet with your counselor to begin talking about colleges and careers.
    • Make sure you are enrolled in the appropriate courses. (Remember almost all colleges require geometry, biology, CP English, CP math and a third year of foreign language.  (Tech Schools and Community Colleges have less demanding prerequisites.)
    • Get off to a good start with your grades.  The grades you earn in ninth grade WILL be included in your final high school GPA and class rank.
    • College might seem a long way off now, but grades really do count toward college admission and scholarships.
    • Explore your interests and possible careers with internships and summer jobs.
    • Get involved in extracurricular activities (both school and non-school sponsored)
    • Talk to your parents about planning for college and post secondary school expenses and/ or your career choices.
    • Look at the college information available in the counselors office and in the public library.
    • Plan to take the PSAT in October of your tenth grade year.  This summer would be a great time to practice your test taking skills and to take practice tests on the internet.
    • NCAA course requirements need to be considered at the time you schedule for 9th grade.

     

    Tenth Grade

        Fall

    • In September, sign up to take the PSAT at the counselors office.
    • In October, Take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSATs).  (Doing well on this test will help you to earn scholarship money.)  See your counselor or look online for practice tests.
    • Take CP Geometry, CP Biology and a second year of foreign language.  Almost all post secondary schools require these courses.
    • Read up on the entrance requirements of the colleges or post secondary schools that interest you.
    • Participate in your schools or states career development activities.

        Winter

    • Discuss your PSAT score with your counselor.
    • The people who read college applications arent looking just for grades.  Get involved in activities outside the classroom.  Work toward leadership positions in the activities that you like best.  Become involved in community service and other volunteer activities.
    • Read, Read, Read.  Read as many books as possible from a comprehensive reading list.  (Check for one from your librarian.)
    • Read the newspaper every day to learn about current affairs.
    • Work on your writing skills- youll need them no matter what you do.

        Spring

    • Keep your grades up so you can have a high GPA and class rank.
    • Ask your counselor about postsecondary enrollment options.  Some high schools allow college enrolled students to receive high school credits.
    • Continue to explore your interests and careers.
    • Begin zeroing in on the type of post secondary education you would prefer. (2 year or 4 year? Small or large?  Urban or rural?)
    • If you are interested in attending a military academy such as West Point or Annapolis, now is the time to start planning and getting information.
    • Write to colleges, or look them up on the web.  Ask them for their academic requirements for admission.
    • Attend college fairs.
    • Keep putting money away for college.
    • Check with the colleges that you are considering to see if theyd like you to take the SAT II Subject Tests.  Consider taking the SAT II Subject Tests in the courses you took this year while the material is still fresh in your mind.  These tests are offered in May and June.
    • Plan to take the PSAT in October of your 11th grade year this summer.  Books are available at the library or at the bookstore to help you study.

     

    Eleventh

        Fall

    • Meet with your counselor to review the courses youve taken, and see what you still need to take.
    • Check your class rank.  Even if your grades havent been that good so far, its never too late to improve.  Colleges like to see an upward trend.
    • If you didnt do so in tenth grade, sign up for and take the PSATs.  In addition to National Merit Scholarships, this is the qualifying test for the National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students and the National Hispanic Recognition Program.
    • Be sure you have requested (either by mail or online) that your test scores be sent to the colleges of your choice.
    • Make sure that you have a social security number.  Memorize it!
    • Take a long, hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school. 
    • Make a list of the post secondary institutions that meet your most important criteria (size, location, and distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing and cost.)
    • Speak to post secondary school representatives who visit your high school.
    • If you want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, start the certification process.  Check with your counselor to make sure you are taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA requirements. (Remember!  This begins in the 9th grade!)
    • Notify guidance to send your transcripts to the NCAA.
    • If you are interested in one of the military academies, talk to your guidance counselor about starting the application process now.

         Winter

    • Collect information about post secondary institution application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, room and board costs, student activities, course offerings, faculty composition, accreditation, and financial aid. You can do this on the internet.
    • Discuss your PSAT scores with your counselor
    • Begin to narrow down your post secondary institution choices.  Find out if the post secondary institutions you are interested in require SAT I, ACT Assessment or SAT II Subject Tests for admission.
    • Attend High School sponsored Financial Aid Night.
    • Register for the SAT I and additional SAT II Subject Tests which are offered several times during the winter and spring.
    • Register for the ACT Assessment which is usually taken in April or June, if the schools your are interested in require it instead of SAT scores.
    • Begin preparing for the tests youve decided to take.
    • Have a discussion with your parents about the post secondary institutions in which you are interested.

        Spring

    • Meet with your counselor to review senior-year course selection and graduation requirements.
    • Discuss ACT Assessment / SAT I scores with your counselor.
    • Discuss your college essay with your English Teacher.
    • Stay involved with your extracurricular activities.  Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities.
    • Consider whom you will ask to write your recommendations.  Think about asking teachers, clergy persons, coaches or employers who know you well and who will write positive letters about you.   (Admissions personnel look for variety.)
    • Inquire about personal interviews at your favorite colleges.  Call or write for an early appointment.  If your grades aren't that great, this interview may get you in.
    • Request online applications from the schools youre interested in.
    • You will be taking your PSSAs in Math and Reading in March.   A score of Proficient or Above is necessary to graduate.
    • Check the accuracy of your transcript.  Request unofficial copies from the guidance secretary to take with you on your post secondary institution visits.
    • Plan to attend the National College Fair in Pittsburgh.

        Summer

    • Visit the campuses of your top 5 college or post secondary school choices and ask them if theyll waive your application fee.
    • After each post secondary institution interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer.
    • Talk to people you know who have attended the post secondary institutions in which you are interested.
    • Continue to read books, magazines, and newspapers.
    • Start filling out college applications.
    • Volunteer in your community.
    • Develop a financial aid application plan.
    • Plan to get your senior picture taken early in the summer.

     

    Twelfth Grade

         Fall

    • Continue to take a full load of college prep courses.
    • Keep working on your grades.  Colleges have been known to refuse students whose grades have dropped in their senior year.
    • To male students: you must register for selective service on your 18th birthday to be eligible for federal and state financial aid.
    • Talk to counselors, teachers, and parents about your final post secondary institution choices.
    • Make a calendar showing application deadlines for admission, financial aid and scholarships.
    • Its sometimes good to have your guidance counselor review and mail your application and all that goes with it along with an official transcript.  This way, the complete package will be received at the same time.
    • Check resource books and the internet for information on scholarships and grants.
    • Give recommendation forms to the teachers you have chosen, along with stamped, self-addressed envelopes so your teachers can send them directly to the colleges.  Be sure to fill out your name address and school name on the top of the form.
    • Give School Report forms to your high schools guidance office.  Fill in your name address and any other required information.  Verify with your counselor the schools to which transcripts, test scores, and letters are to be sent.
    • Register for and take the ACT Assessment, SAT I or SAT II Subject Tests, as necessary.
    • Mail or send electronically any college applications for early decision admission by November 1.  (If your grades aren't that great, you may qualify for an early decision admission.)
    • Mail or send electronically all post secondary applications as early as possible  - by November 1 at the latest.
    • If you plan to apply for an ROTC scholarship, remember that your application is due by December 1.
    • Print extra copies or make copies of every application you send.
    • Mail your post secondary institution applications as soon as possible because some institutions have discretionary scholarships that you might be eligible for.  (These funds are distributed on a first come, first awarded basis.)

        Winter

    • Attend all college prep nights offered at your high school.
    • Send midyear grade reports to colleges.  Remember, focus on your school work!
    • Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online after you have completed your taxes.  ( www.fafsa.ed.gov/)  These forms will not be processed before January 1 and must be filed by May 15.  (Know your colleges specific deadline.)
    • Mail or send electronically any remaining applications and financial aid forms before winter break.
    • Follow up to make sure that colleges have received all of your information.
    • Meet with your counselor to verify that all forms and your graduation are in order.

        Spring

    • Watch your mail between March 1 and April 1 for acceptance notifications from college.
    • Watch your mail for notification of financial aid awards between April 1 and May 1.
    • Compare the financial aid packages from the colleges and universities or post secondary schools that have accepted you.
    • Make your final choice; notify all schools of your intent by May 1.
    • Be sure that you have received a FAFSA acknowledgment.
    • If you applied for a Pell Grant (on the FAFSA) you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) Statement.  Review this notice and forward it to the college you plan to attend.  Make a copy for your records.
    • Complete all follow-up paperwork.

        Summer

    • Plan to schedule and attend the orientation session offered by your post secondary school of choice.
    • If applicable, apply for a Stafford Loan through a lender.  Allow eight weeks for processing.
    • Congratulations!