College Planning – Grade 11
Education pays … Education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates
Maintain Your Grades
Maintaining your grades during your junior year is especially important. You should be doing at least 2 hours of homework each night and participating in study groups.
Talk to Your Teachers and Counselors
Talk to your guidance counselor or teachers about the following:
• Availability of and enrollment in Advanced Placement classes
• Schedules for the PSAT, SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Test, ACT, and AP exams
See guidance “Test” for testing details
• Discuss why you should take these exams and how they could benefit you.
• Determine which exams you will take. (You can always change your mind.)
• Sign up and prepare for the exams you’ve decided to take. Remember the more standardized tests you take the better you are at taking them.
• Ask for a preview of your academic record and profile, determine what gaps or weaknesses there are, and get suggestions on how to strengthen your candidacy for the schools in which you are interested.
• Determine what it takes to gain admission to the college(s) of your choice, in addition to GPA and test score requirements.
• Register for the PSAT exam. OPTIONAL
PSAT/NMSQT is the national qualifying test for the National Merit scholarship program. This test is typically offered to high school juniors. This test measures verbal and math reasoning skills important for doing well in college. It also gives practice for taking SAT because both tests have the same kinds of questions and similar scores. It is recommended that any junior in the top 15% of the class should consider taking this test, but it is open to any junior. This test is offered in October and the cost for the test is @ $15.00.
• Take the PSAT (OPTIONAL)
Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA Your list should contain approximately 8-12 schools you are seriously considering.Start researching your federal financial aid options and private financial aid programs as well.
• Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors. If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same days. You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation, so that you do not have to miss school. Some high schools consider a campus visit an excused absence, however, so if need be, you may be able to schedule interviews and visits during the school year, without incurring any penalties.
• Review your PSAT results with your counselor, in order to identify your strengths and to determine the areas that you may need to improve upon.
• You will receive your scores from the October PSAT. Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for an SAT preparatory course. Many high schools offer short-term preparatory classes or seminars on the various exams, which tell the students what to expect and can actually help to boost their scores.
• Take campus tours online or in person to further narrow your list of colleges to match your personality, GPA, and test scores. This link may be helpful: www.ecampustours.com
• Register for the March SAT and/or the April ACT tests. OPTIONAL
Find out from each college the deadlines for applying for admission and which tests to take. Make sure your test dates give colleges ample time to receive test scores. It is a good idea to take the SAT and/or ACT in the spring to allow you time to review your results and retake the exams in the fall of your senior year, if necessary.
• Take an SAT or ACT prep course to help prepare for the upcoming SAT or ACT.
• If you are interested in taking any AP exam(s), you should sign up for the exam(s) at this time. Check with your guidance counselor to determine the dates and times that the exam(s) you are taking will be offered. Scoring well on the AP exam can sometimes earn you college credit.
• Take the April SAT test. All juniors at MTHS will take the SAT.
• Talk to teachers about writing letters of recommendation for you. Think about what you would like included in these letters (how you would like to be presented) and politely ask your teachers if they can accommodate you.
• Add any new report cards, test scores, honors, or awards to your file. Visit colleges. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions, and academic advisers at the college(s) in which you are most interested. During your visits, talk to
professors, sit in on classes, spend a night in the dorms, and speak to students about the college(s). Doing these things will allow you to gather the most information about the college and the atmosphere in which you would be living, should you choose to attend. Some colleges have preview programs that allow you to do all of these; find out which of the schools that you will be visiting offer these programs and take advantage of them.
• Take the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Test, and ACT tests. OPTIONAL
• If you go on interviews or visits, don’t forget to send thank you notes. Continue to save and begin checking out potential scholarships. We have several useful links for both statewide as well as local scholarships.