Ready : Preparing for my Education
Below are some things to think about doing before you leave high school. Consider using our About.Me portfolio building instructions to keep everything together digitally.
Finishing Up High School
- Create or review your High School and Beyond Plan.
- Check out the dual-credit lookup tool to find out how your AP, IB, or Cambridge test scores apply as college credit.
- Sign up for October or November ACT or SAT tests. If necessary, register to retake SAT or ACT in December or January.
- Sort your college brochures. Create a list of what is important to you in a college: programs of study, major/minor options, location, size, religious affiliation, athletics, etc.
- Divide your college list into three categories based on how sure you are that they will accept you.
- Finalize your college list and make sure it consists of colleges that match your priorities.
- Set up college visits. Take advantage of as much as you can while on campus: eat a meal, sit in on a class, take an official tour, walk around on your own.
- Visit colleges as an admitted student, if possible. Many colleges will have different visit options for students who have been admitted (e.g. stay overnight with a current student).
Applying for College
- Start brainstorming your college application essays by listing five of your best qualities and writing about them.
- Fill out your college applications.
- Give any recommendation forms to the appropriate teachers, coaches, or counselors with stamped, pre-addressed envelopes, making certain that your portions of the forms are filled out completely and accurately. Make sure you give people enough time to write and submit their recommendations.
- Request transcripts and have them sent to each college you’re applying to. When the time comes, send your mid-year grades.
- Decide if you’ll apply early to a college you are absolutely certain is right for you—but be sure to have other options in case it doesn't work out.
- Start a calendar with all registration dates, and admissions and financial aid deadlines.
Paying for College
- Talk with your family about paying for college.
- Complete your FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) or WASFA application as soon as possible beginning October 1. Add the colleges where you've been admitted or are waiting for a decision.
- Compare financial aid packages you've received and the true cost of attending each college.
Making a Decision
- Look closely at admissions offers, including any financial aid packages. Decide which school to attend, and notify them before the required deadline.
- Once you’ve chosen a college, take care of last-minute details such as sending in housing forms, final transcripts, deposits and other paperwork.
- Sign up for any online portals that your school has for new students.
- Follow your new college on social media.