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Your high school years will be some of the happiest and most care-free of your life.  Keep them that way!  Be attentive to the advice below, but don't let the college admission process dictate how you live your life.  Keep things in perspective.  Live a healthy life.  Be a good, honest person.  Work hard in school, always do your best.  Challenge yourself.  Get involved in your school and in your community.  Take advantage of opportunities.  If you do these things, the college process will be a natural next step, and you'll be well prepared to handle it successfully.


Freshman Year

get to know your school counselor
get involved in school activities: do what you enjoy!
get involved in community activities and service
earn the best grades you can
take the most challenging (but appropriate) courses you can
read, even when not assigned for school, on a regular basis
depending on your courses, you might take an SAT II: Subject Test at the end of the year; talk with your counselor
if your family travels over spring break or during the summer, and if you pass near a college campus, stop and take the tour
in addition to enjoying your time off, plan to do something constructive with your summer vacation

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Sophomore Year

stay in touch with your school counselor
if your school offers it, take the PSAT or PLAN in the fall
remain involved in school and community activities: follow your passions!
earn the best grades you can
continue to take the most challenging courses you can
continue to read for pleasure
depending on the courses you take this year, it is even more likely that you would consider an SAT II: Subject Test at the end of the school year; talk with your counselor
in the spring, look at the list of senior college acceptances: who do you know and where is he/she going?
continue to take advantage of college visits if your family is near a college-- just to get a feel for the different types of colleges there are
use your free time in the summer productively, while also enjoying your time off

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Junior Year

this is the most important year academically: do your best, challenge yourself appropriately
continue to remain involved in activities; try to move into positions of responsibility or leadership
take the PSAT and/or PLAN in the fall
following your school's guidelines for meeting with your counselor to start the college process; in many schools, the process begins in the late fall or after the holiday break
in the winter, think of how you will prepare for your first SAT and/or ACT
click here to see a typical standardized testing schedule for juniors
when you select your courses for senior year, get advice and choose wisely
with your counselor, develop an initial list of colleges during the spring
try to make some preliminary visits to colleges during spring break
take advantage of college representative visits to your school and evening programs in your community
research colleges, collect information
use your summer vacation time productively; visit colleges during the summer

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Senior Year

don't forget how important your grades continue to be: the first semester/ trimester is critical
remain in close contact with your counselor
remain involved in activities which you enjoy, assume leadership positions and more responsibility
continue to add or subtract colleges from your list as you learn about schools, make visits, etc.
be attentive to in-school deadlines and procedures established by your guidance or college counseling office
continue to take appropriate tests as you need to take them (standardized testing schedule)
meet with college representatives who visit your school in the fall; attend evening programs in your community which are hosted by colleges in which you are interested
when you are able, continue to visit colleges in which you are interested when you have time off from school during the fall
if you are applying early, be aware that application deadlines are just a few weeks after school begins
make arrangements with teachers and others for recommendations; follow your school's procedures
by Thanksgiving time, your list of colleges should be final: six to eight schools is a good number for most students looking at selective colleges; get advice from your counselor
before the holiday break, be attentive to early deadlines and/ or preferred or recommended application deadlines for state universities, honors programs, rolling admission schools, and scholarship programs
give yourself plenty of time to work on applications, especially essays
know what financial aid forms you must submit, and submit them in a timely fashion
take advantage of interviews when given the opportunity
after your applications are completed, continue to work hard: senior slump can have disastrous consequences
as you receive decisions, inform your counselor, teachers, and others who helped you; thank them
in April, consider participating in the open house/ accepted student programs hosted by colleges
have your one deposit at the school you will attend by May 1
if you are on a waiting list, get advice from your counselor
enjoy senior year sensibly and responsibly!

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