Quick Checklist

winter prep for HS juniors

Use this time to search and list the colleges of your choice. Get your college admission requirements started to beat the last-minute rush.

Use this checklist to note those tasks that should be completed by the end of last semester (Sept-Dec):

  • Any idea that you want to do after high school? Link to the Fall Semester plan to review latest job trends:
    see fall semester
  • Are you preparing for SAT and ACT college entrance exams? You should be taking them this Spring. Check the calendar and exam dates
    SAT Exam
    ACT College Exam
  • Do you have the aptitude skills to complete the collegiate studies:
    see fall semester for a personal self assessment
  • Get to know your High School guidance counselor. Meet with the counselor to discuss your "after high-school" plans:
    see fall semester for tips on what to discuss
  • Understand types of schools:
    1. Colleges:
      generally smaller in size. They offer 4-year degree programs (BA and BS) and many 2-year Associate degrees.
    2. Universities:
      larger institutions with specialized degrees in business, engineering, pre-med, etc. They offer 2-year, 4-year, and many graduate and professional degrees.
    3. Community / Junior Colleges:
      a small college offering 2-year Associate degrees. Many students attend local community colleges with the intent to transfer to a larger institution to further their education.
    4. Online Programs:
      offered by small and large accredited universities. Programs are offered online with potentially some campus visit during the online course.
    5. Vocational / Career Schools:
      specialized schools of training for specialized trade jobs such as mechanics, computer technicians, medical assistants, etc. Programs may vary requiring only a few weeks to complete while others may require a year or more. Upon completion, graduates will receive a license, certificate or an Associate Degree.

Start Your College Search

winter prep for HS seniors

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Assemble a list of colleges or trade schools you'd like to attend. Meet with your school's guidance counselor to discuss your plans and to arrange important campus visits.

Your search categories should include:

  1. search list of 2-3 schools that you could definitely get in
  2. search list of 4-5 schools that you could probably get in
  3. search list of 7-8 schools that you would like to get in

College - University Search

search 4-year colleges-universities
search community colleges
search online schools and programs
search vocational and career schools

What Should You Look For in a School?

  • Private or Public:
    private schools are generally more expensive - but many of them are ranked as some of the best schools for graduate hires. Public schools are generally less expensive and in some cases, much larger.
  • Size:
    universities like the Big-10 can have enrollments 40K+ students. This big universities have large classroom sizes for starting undergrads. Smaller school are a better teacher-to-student ratio. Their curriculum may not be as extensive as larger schools.
  • Location:
    some schools are in urban settings; other schools situated on isolated campus locations. If you select an urban setting, issues such as safety come into play. Schools on isolated campuses may not have urban amenities that may be or your liking.
  • Type of Curriculum:
    larger schools have a wide array of curriculum that is ideal for students not knowing off hand what they want to major in. But if you are leaning towards one major or another, your task is to find the school that ranks high in your base of discipline
  • Quality of Education:
    every major 4-year institution has one area where they are strong but other programs may be weak. Again, you need to view rankings and reviews from other attending students
  • Cost:
    cost is a factor is any college selection. Your goal is to avoid accumulating debt so you can attend a higher price school over a less expensive school. There are school that offer exceptional education at a lower cost. Make sure you compare all costs when selecting school including cost of tuition, fees, housing, supplies, and transportation cost for a trip home during the holidays.
  • Admission Requirements:
    most schools have standard admittance requirements. But there are school that give higher weighting to SAT test vs. ACT text exams. So check your school entrance exam requirements in order to qualify.
  • Help with Financial Aid:
    financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work study, student loans and other aid resources to defray the total cost of education. Review peer reviews on the quality of the financial aid services of one school over another. .
  • Housing Resources:
    it is true that some school have poor or no housing services available; it is entirely up to you to find housing - especially in urban schools. Housing can go fast. So if you decide on a school, get your housing needs settled quickly.
  • Nearby Facilities:
    campus life can be a lot of fun, but you may want to get away from the "campus feeling". So check around for facilities such as outdoor recreation, urban amenities, and other entertainment..
  • Campus Life:
    what is campus life at one school over another? You best option is to visit the campus, review the facilities, and review peer groups from current students. You may find some schools are quite boring.
  • Security:
    a key issue to review, especially with urban schools that often invite criminal activities. But note that even the isolated campuses have problems. View the security safety features the college offers, especially when your visit the campus.
  • Lifestyle:
    now what this? Well if you attend a religious-affiliated school, certain actives may not be permissible. On the other hand, if you attend a very liberal leaning university, you may find the lifestyle a bit much for you. Again, review peer reviews and other online information regarding campus lifestyle and activities.

Sit for College Exams

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Discuss with your guidance counselor about the following college exams They will be administered in the spring. Check your calendar for exam dates:

  • Advance Placement Exams:
    you should consider taking Advanced Placement Exams or CLEP tests in your Junior and Senior years. This allows you to test out of some college courses that can save you time and money.

    The exams are administered each year in the Spring with some preparation required prior to the exam. Check with your school for exam administration, enrollment and information.


    Information about the advanced placement program:
    the collegeboard administers the AP exams. This site has all the information you need including test programs and dates:
    visit collegeboard.com for more information

    View our advanced placement prep/study guides:
    includes prep planning books and other reading materials that can help you with these exams: view AP prep
  • College Entrance Exams:
    almost all colleges and some trade programs require a college entrance exam. These exams measure your ability to understand college-level materials. Most colleges require the SAT college exam; some require the ACT Assessment exam. A few college will require both exams. So check with your college which exam will be required.

    You will take these exams in your junior year. So get some practice with the college entrance "preparation" exams. It will help on the day of the real exam.

More About These Exams

Information about the advanced placement program:

The collegeboard administers the AP exams. This site has all the information you need including test programs and dates:
visit collegeboard.com for more information

View our advanced placement prep/study guides:
includes prep planning books and other reading materials that can help you with these exams:

amazon bestsellers: AP exam prep

 

College Entrance Exams:

Almost all colleges and some trade programs require a college entrance exam. These exams measure your ability to understand college-level materials. Most colleges require the SAT college exam; some require the ACT Assessment exam. A few college will require both exams. So check with your college which exam will be required.

You will take these exams in your junior year with a possible retake in your senior year. You must take the exams in the Fall so that your scores can be sent to your schools.

SAT/ACT exam prep and samples

 

Get some practice with the college entrance "preparation" exams

It will help on the day of the real exam.

Why take college prep exams:

  • to help prepare for the real test. You will be familiar with the type of questions being asked
  • to help you take tests under time lines. It is important that you work quickly so that you can complete the entire test.
  • to view your strengths and weaknesses for college study. You can then focus on areas to improve your skills.
  • to view how your performance compares with other students who are applying for college

 

About the SAT Tests

SAT Reasoning
The SAT Reasoning Test is a three-hour test that measures a student's ability to reason problems instead of general knowledge. It has three sections: writing, critical reading, and math. Most of the questions are multiple-choice.

SAT Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests measure the student's knowledge in specific subjects: English, mathematics, history, science, and languages. SAT Subject Tests are primarily multiple-choice, and each lasts one hour.

more information: collegeboard.org


Information about the PSAT (practice exams):

the PSAT is the test prep exam for the SAT tests. The PSAT is usually offered in October and November through your school. Check with your school counselor for dates.

more information: see collegeboard.org for information


About the ACT Tests

The ACT Assessment® is used by some colleges. The exam has four multiple-choice tests: English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning.

more information: actstudent.org


ACT test preparation:

some colleges use the ACT test. You need to check your college to determine which test they use for admittance. Many students will take both the SAT and ACT so that they have the right exams for the college of their choice

more information: actstudent.org about ACT exams

Plan for College Visits

winter prep for rising HS seniors

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Get to Know Your College

As you search for colleges of your choice, schedule time during a weekend, Spring Break, and during a summer trip to visit each of the colleges on your list. These visits will give your a good idea whether or not you would like to attend.

Start with a virtual tour:
this is good place to start prior to making an actual visit:
campustours.com

or visit the college web site for a tour and map: college directory

Tips When Visiting a Campus

Take notes and pictures when visiting a campus. This will help you make a comparison when it comes time to make a final decision:

  • Plan to visit the college for a full day.
    Attend when the school is in session, if possible.
  • Arrange an interview with the admission office
    or other "campus visit" groups
  • Meet with the financial aid office
    to get all related financial aid information offered by that school
  • When doing a visit,
    check out the library, student unions, sporting facilities, and academic centers. Walk the campus to familiarize yourself with the layout.
  • Review housing facilities and dormitories
    to determine whether to live on-campus or off-campus housing. Note the college rules for housing. Some colleges require first-time Freshmen to live in dormitories.
  • Schedule time to speak with students and faculty. Visit the clubs and societies that are part of the campus life. Check campus rules, safety programs, and facilities that maintain the safety of the campus.
  • Drive around the surrounding community
    to familiarize yourself with restaurants, theaters, rec areas, job opportunities, etc.

Go to: April Prep

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Make It Happen!

How?

By building the discipline in four distinct character traits.

1) physical
2) educational
3) social
4) spiritual

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Making the Move!

college textbooks

What do you need when you move to college?

1) bed sheets
2) toothbrush
3) cooling fan
4) medicine box
5) hand vac
6) plus so much more

Grab our college moving checklist to help you pack for the big move

FREE: Moving Checklist

Save on Textbooks

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The cost of college textbooks can run as high as $800-$1,000 or more per semester. So shop around for:

1) new textbooks
2) used textbooks
3) rental textbooks

Shop and compare best deals from multiple online merchants.

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Job Center

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So what kind of jobs are availabe in your study at college?

Let's take a look to see if opportunities in your field are available and what skills sets you need:

Link to Job Center

Achieving Success

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Achieving success in life requires 3 key ingredients:

1) planning
2) discipline
3) execution

Open our success module for FREE guides on these key success points.

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Helpful Tools

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How can we help with college planning?

1) planning forms
2) manage money tips
3) job search
4) financial guides
5) calculators
6) plus so much more

Jump over to our tool for college planning and financial decision making.

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