- Develop a list of possible colleges that you are interested in learning more about and visit their websites.
- Make a list of colleges that meet your most important criteria (size, location, distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing, and cost). Weigh each of the factors according to their importance to you.
- Take a long, hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school so you will be able to choose a college or university that best suits your needs.
- Collect information about college application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, room and board costs, student activities, course offerings, faculty composition, accreditation, and financial aid. Begin comparing the schools by the factors that you consider to be most important
- Speak with the college recruiters that visit Ridgeland High School and attend our College & Career Night Program in September.
- Sign up for and take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. In addition to National Merit Scholarships, this is also the qualifying test for the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program.
- Begin narrowing down your college choices. Find out if the colleges you are interested in require the ACT Assessment, the ACT Writing section, the SAT I, or the SAT II Subject Tests for admission.
- Look at the websites for the ACT Assessment (www.actstudent.org) and SAT Test (www.collegeboard.org) for information about their test dates, registration deadlines, costs, etc.
- Plan and register for a good test date to take the ACT Assessment or the SAT I Test. Remember that both tests are offered a minimum of 6 times each year, so you will have many testing opportunities in both your junior and senior years. .
- Begin preparing diligently for the college entrance test that you have decided to take. Take advantage of the many test preparation workshops in our area.
- Be very mindful of your grades, your grade point average, and your class rank. Even if your grades haven’t been that good your freshman and sophomore year, it’s never too late to improve. Colleges like to see improvement in a student’s grades from year to year.
- Work on improving your study skills and time management. When the amount and difficulty of your schoolwork increases in college, these skills will allow you to succeed.
- Get involved in both school and community-service activities.
- Plan your senior year course schedule very carefully. Make sure to sign up for all courses you lack for graduation requirements as well as courses required for admission to your college choices (like foreign language, higher level math, or specific science , etc.). Remember that colleges like to see students take advantage of the most challenging courses available such as Accelerated or Advance Placement classes.
· If you want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, start the NCAA Clearinghouse Certification process. Check with your counselor to make sure you are taking and/or have signed up for the core curriculum that meets NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
· If you are interested in one of the military academies, talk to you school counselor about starting the application process.
- Continue to stay involved with your extracurricular activities and volunteer for community-service projects. Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities.
· Have a discussion with your parents about the colleges in which you are interested and their costs.
- Begin researching sources of financial assistance and scholarships for college. You can attain this information from the colleges themselves and from internet searches.
- Estimate what your federal assistance eligibility might be for your college choices by using the FAFSA4caster. Although you will not be applying for this assistance until after Jan. 1st of your senior year, the FAFSA4caster will give you an idea of your eligibility if your family income remains somewhat consistent.
- Continue to earn the highest possible grades you can. This will be the last chance to bring up your cumulative GPA before entering your senior year.
- Prepare for and take the Advanced Placement Test, if you are enrolled in an Advanced Placement course.
- Register to take your Dual Enrollment classes at Holmes CC if you plan to participate in the MCSD “School Day” Dual Enrollment Program. (Eligible students must have an ACT Composite of 20 or higher, and overall 85.0 or higher average, and a minimum of 20 credits entering their senior year)
- Began working on your high school resume – a list of all your accomplishments, activities, athletic awards and honors, volunteer and paid work experience during the first three years of high school. You will be using this resume for college visits, admissions, and scholarship competitions.
- If applying to a college or university that requires essays, recommendations, etc. – begin work on your essays and the selection of those individuals you will ask to write recommendation.
- Look into summer jobs or other summer educational experiences that will help you explore your career interests and will provide leadership skills..
- Use your summer months to visit the campuses of as many of your top college choices as possible.
- Make a list of the dates you may begin submitting college applications and apply online through the Web sites of the colleges in which you’re interested.
- Check the registration deadline dates for the first ACT Assessment and SAT Tests for the upcoming school year. The deadline may occur in early August before you return to school for your senior year.