Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2012 - (Page 43)
planning ahead for college
College Planning and Preparation: the High school Years
in the last issue of Imagine, we discussed the importance of building a solid academic foundation in middle school as preparation for high school and college courses. as a high school student, it’s important not only to continue that strong academic focus, but also to prepare for college by identifying your unique needs, interests, and goals, some of which you will do through involvement in extracurricular activities. in addition, you will need to investigate college options, first by exploring possibilities and then identifying those colleges that are likely to meet your needs. the steps below will guide you in the college planning and preparation process year-by-year. y y
by linda E. brody, Ed.d.
y Evaluate your courses. they should be challenging, but not so difficult that your grades are poor or that you lose confidence in your abilities. develop a four-year plan with your counselor. y Participate in extracurricular activities. Begin to identify those that really interest you and in which you might aspire to hold leadership positions. y begin to explore college options. read about colleges online or in books. Visit some in your area and tour others while on vacation. think about which attributes appeal to you. y take sAt subject tests and/or AP exams related to the courses you took this year. Postpone those for which you will be better prepared after additional coursework. y use your summer wisely. enroll in a summer program, travel, or volunteer in your community. read widely to expand your knowledge. y
are important, this may be the most important year for obtaining a strong academic record to show to colleges. take the PsAt. Your scores will determine eligibility for the national merit scholarship Program. develop a list of colleges you think you might apply to. discuss it with your parents and counselor. Plan college visits and schedule interviews, tours, and possibly overnight stays. Focus on extracurricular activities. assume a leadership role in at least one or two. Consider finding a mentor to help with a science project or to assist in other ways. take the sAt and/or ACt in the spring. also take relevant sat subject tests and aP exams. reevaluate your courses for senior year. if appropriate, make arrangements for college courses or other supplemental learning opportunities for your final year of high school. Plan a great summer. focus on activities that contribute to defining and probing a strong area of interest. What you learn may be useful for your college essays. if appropriate, request a college recommendation based on your summer experiences.
y Finalize the list of colleges to which you will apply. Be sure it includes at least one or two colleges where you are sure to be accepted and where you will be happy. y Mark your calendar with admission deadlines. obtain applications early and fill them out carefully. ask teachers for recommendations. Write your essays, and get feedback on whether they truly reflect who you are. y submit all parts of your applications on time. Check to be sure your application, transcripts, test scores, recommendations, and requests for financial aid were all received. y take any tests you still need. retake the sat or aCt if you believe your score will improve. take any sat subject tests in time for college applications, and aP tests in the spring. y Continue to work hard in school. don’t succumb to senior slump; colleges may rescind an offer of admission if your grades drop significantly. y Excel in your extracurricular activities. demonstrate leadership and initiative and do your best in any competitions. this is a crucial component if you expect to stand out among a selective applicant pool. y schedule college interviews on-campus or with representatives in your community. send thank-you notes afterwards. y After acceptances come, make your final selection. attend events for accepted students. send thank-you notes to your guidance counselor, teachers, and anyone else who helped you in the admissions process.
y get more involved in extracurricular activities. Work toward attaining leadership roles or levels of distinction in the activities you enjoy. y Explore college options. attend a college fair. Visit colleges. List attributes most important to you: big or small school, close to home or not, urban or small town location. y take standardized tests. take the Psat in the fall. in the spring, take any sat subject tests and aP exams for which you are prepared. y reevaluate your high school program. if you are running out of challenging courses, consider college or online courses, or graduating a year early. y Plan a challenging summer. enroll in an academic program, travel, or volunteer in your community. Use the time to help define your true interests.
y Work hard in your courses. While grades throughout high school
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2012
Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/december 2012
In My Own Words
Well of Dreams
Making History Personal
A World Full of Stories
The Month of Writing Dangerously
On the Frontline of Digital Journalism
Once Upon a Summer
Awakening the Storyteller
Selected Opportunities & Resources
On the Doorstep of Discovery
When You’re Ready to Do Research
Off the Shelf
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Mark Your Calendar
Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2012