Freshman to Seniors: College Planning Checklist

Helping our kids get into a good college can seem like an overwhelming task...but not if you start early and break it down into little steps.  Independent College Consultant, Marie Morris, stopped by to take us through the checklist .

College planning focuses a lot on junior and senior year.  But the ground work can and should be laid out earlier.

Freshman year: 

  • Grades really count now!  It's Important to keep up the grades because it's easier to keep the GPA up then to have to bring it up.
  • Try a new club, sport, activity.  Take a class that sounds interesting. 
  • Get to know your counselor at school.  Talk to him/her regularly.

Sophomore Year:

  • Keep up the grades!  By the end of this year, you will have completed 4 semesters of 8.  It becomes harder to push the GPA up at this point.
  • Stay involved in school activities.  Don’t have a laundry list, just one or two things you really enjoy.
  • Forecasting classes for junior year:  Make sure you are taking enough classes to make you a good college applicant (3-4 years math, science, foreign language, social studies, English)
  • Don’t be afraid to take an IB or AP class.  Challenge yourself!
  • Have the "money talk" about college.

Junior Year:

  • Keep working hard but try to enjoy yourself. 
  • Get to know your counselor.
  • Talk to your teachers, target who you will ask for recommendations.
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT.
  • Start researching colleges and make some visits.
  • Register for AP/IB tests
  • Start a scholarship search.
  • Stay involved!

Senior year:

  • Review acceptances and celebrate every one.
  • Compare financial awards
  • Send in any other financial information the colleges may be requesting.
  • If selected for verification, submit right away.
  • Make housing deposit
  • Make final decision and deposit by May 1

Not quite ready or willing to head off to college? Consider a gap year, volunteering here or abroad.  Do the research but also apply to colleges and ask for deferment.

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