As 2018 winds down, high school students have another semester of courses, grades, activities, and more under their belts, making it the perfect time to reevaluate their college prep plans – or start from scratch if they haven’t yet created one.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to planning for college, and different students will hit milestones at different times. It’s important that students continually evaluate and adjust their college prep plans and goals throughout high school, especially at times, like the end of the year, when they have a clearer picture of their grades, test scores, and more. Staying on track is key, and the upcoming winter break will give many students a great opportunity to create a college prep plan for the upcoming semester and subsequent school year.
So how do you create a college prep plan? Here’s what to do if you’re in:
By now you should be wrapping up your remaining college applications, so you’re done with your college prep, right? Not quite. Even after all your applications are submitted, you need to stay on track with your college admissions plan. Continue to maintain good grades, as colleges will look at your final transcript and a drop in second semester grades can result in a rescinded acceptance. Also continue involvement in your activities – don’t slack off just because your apps are done. Continuing your extracurricular involvement will help you better explore your interests and will carry you through the rigors of second semester as you wait to hear back about your admissions decisions. Take time to evaluate your courses, grades, and activities and set small goals to carry you throughout the semester. This will help you maintain focus and give you a plan of action to continue your “college prep” after your applications are in.
This is a critical time in your college admissions journey! Now, more than ever, you need a college prep plan to carry you through the spring and into the college application process the summer after junior year. First, evaluate where you are now in your college prep. Have you visited schools and started building a balanced college list? Have you taken or registered for the ACT or SAT? Have you taken any SAT Subject Tests? How are your grades? Identify the tasks you need to complete first and create a schedule with deadlines to help you better visualize what you need to get done. If you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT yet, take a practice test to see which is the best-ft for you and identify a date to take it. From there, create a test prep plan to help you perform your best. Identify the best times to visit schools. Can you do it over spring break? Or is a long weekend more realistic? Now is the time to really sit down and plot out your college prep tasks for the next semester so that you’re ready to start on your college application essays in the summer.
By now, if you’ve been actively pursuing a number of activities, you should have an idea of what your core interests are and how they relate to your academic and college goals. If not, now’s the time to think about it! The next part of 10th grade should be devoted to better exploring your interests in order to develop a rigorous course schedule with classes related to your interests for 11th grade. Now is also the time for 10th graders to think about their standardized testing. Are there any SAT Subject Tests you can take now in order to get ahead of any testing requirements? Have you taken a diagnostic SAT and ACT in order to determine which test you should prepare for in the upcoming year? This is a critical time for students to get on track and get ahead before the rigors of junior year make the college prep process seem extremely overwhelming. In addition to planning for testing, 10th graders should also start researching colleges in order to prepare for any college visits junior year. Make a preliminarily list of schools of interest and learn more about them. Talk with your college counselor about what you think you want in your college experience and identify other schools of interest to investigate. This will cut down on a lot of the research you’ll have to do junior year and can inspire you to consider schools you may not have thought about before.
Your high school career is just starting, but now that you have a semester of experience you know what to expect in certain classes, the activities available to you, and what topics or subjects really interest you. Create a plan to build upon that in 2019 by staying engaged in your courses, evaluating courses to take next year, and pursuing new activities that better align with your interests. Make time for other activities like outside reading that can help you better explore your interests and seek out initiatives outside of the classroom that interest you. This is also a great time to sit down with your counselor or academic advisor to create an academic plan that can carry you throughout high school. Are you prepared for more rigorous courses for next year? Or do you need some additional help to catch up with your peers? Now is the time to identify any academic struggles and address them.
There’s a lot that goes into creating and adjusting a college prep plan, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Meet with your school-based college counselor and contact IvyWise for additional support. At IvyWise, we work with students in every stage of the college admissions process, and our team of expert counselors can help you create a college prep plan to carry you throughout high school. Contact us today for more information on our Initial Consultation and our comprehensive college counseling services.
Click here to download our free College Planning Checklist in order to stay on track and aid you in creating your college prep plan for the next year!