Planning out the Application process

There are many steps and requirements in the college application process. In the beginning, you will want to be preparing for the SAT test, exploring your options, and planning for campus tours and information sessions at colleges that you want to consider. This is the time to narrow your list of colleges to a manageable pool where you will be sending applications. Once you have a list of the colleges where you will be applying, it is time to focus on completing all of the application materials for each school.

Time management and organizational skills are critical to the process. You will also hone your information-gathering skills. During your campus tour and visit with the admissions office, you may have learned about the admissions requirements. You will want to locate all of the information for each college and put together a master chart of the materials that each school will require in your application packet. Create a chart with parts that you can check off for each school and be sure to list the application deadlines for each individual college where you will be submitting an application-the deadlines will also vary between colleges. Having this master chart will help you to feel organized, manage your applications, and be confident that you are sending complete applications to each college.

Many colleges use a general application, sometimes referred to as the “common app”, but these schools may still require supplemental short-answer questions, forms, or other materials from applicants. Requirements about letters of recommendation often vary slightly as well. Other schools will have their own unique application that you will need to complete. It is important for you to have all of your information before you begin the process. This will help to avoid any problems close to the deadline. If you have questions about the requirements, you can always contact the admissions office for answers.

Your high school guidance counselor can be another source of support as you are taking the SAT test, balancing your high school course load, and completing college applications. He or she has helped many students prepare college applications and can help you to get organized and keep deadlines. Make an appointment early in the process to be sure that you are on track and ask any questions that you may have about college applications.

Planning out your college applications can be a lengthy and detailed process, but with good organization and some hard work, your applications will arrive complete and on-time. A well-planned college application is the first step towards getting into the right school for you.

Get involved!

High school extracurricular activities are much more than ways to fill up time after school and have fun outside of class. Extracurricular activities can provide you with many skills that can translate into success in college and, later on, in your career. As you balance your academics, SAT test prep, and college application schedule, it is important to continue to make time for your favorite activities too.

Team sports are a great way to stay active and have fun during high school. Athletics can also help to improve self-esteem and build good problem solving skills. Being active during the high school years is also great way to build healthy habits from an early age. This can help to ensure that you always make time for exercise and taking care of your health.

Participating in team sports also helps to build good social skills. Sports teach you the value of working together as a team, a skill that will take you far both on and off the athletic field. It’s no surprise that many high school athletes also make their closest friends while participating in team sports.

Participating in clubs can be another great way to make friends and gain valuable experiences in high school. Clubs can be built around shared interests or shared goals, allowing you to meet and spend time with people who care about the same things that you do. Other activities, like reporting for a high school newspaper or being part of a photography club, can help you to build skills that could later translate into a college major or career.

Perhaps the best thing about clubs is that they allow you to explore many different interests. Learning about many different things and exploring your interests will help to broaden your horizons and prepare you to make decisions about your major and career path.

Volunteering is a great way for high school students to make a difference in their communities. Many community organizations, including food banks, shelters, and environmental organizations, are always looking for young people interested in getting involved. If nothing seems like a good fit, get creative. Many high school students have created their own projects to serve a need that they see in their communities.

Getting involved in community service projects early on is a great way to learn about the world and how to organize projects. Volunteering is something that you can do throughout your life to always make a difference in the world.

Having a busy schedule in high school is great preparation for college. Balancing many priorities will help you to learn good time management skills. Maintaining a good schedule, making time for your responsibilities, and keeping track of deadlines is great practice for keeping up with your classes and responsibilities in college.

Extracurricular activities are also great for college admissions. These are experiences that you can talk about in interviews and write about in your application. Extracurricular activities are often the things that will set you apart and help the college admissions office to learn about your strengths and skills.

Your High School Junior Year SAT Test Prep Plan

Junior year can be a challenging year for high school students. Many students will be taking challenging courses, making plans to visit colleges and make decisions about the future, and keeping a strong GPA for their college applications. Junior year is also the time to focus on SAT prep.

Juniors should begin preparing for the SAT as soon as possible so that the process doesn’t have to be rushed. For most students, SAT test prep will involve an online course or traditional class, plenty of practice tests, and time spent studying material for the test.

High school students can choose to take the SAT as many times as they want. For this reason, students may want to take the SAT for the first time in the fall of junior year so that they have plenty of time to take the test again in the winter or spring. It can be smart to use the summer before junior year for SAT test prep and focusing on what you will need to study while preparing for the SAT.

While you can continue to take the SAT during senior year, most students will prefer to complete the test during junior year. This will allow seniors in high school to turn their attention to college applications and making decisions about where they will be going to college. Students will also want to have their final scores before they begin sending out their college applications.

Once you receive your first SAT scores, you will need to decide whether you will want to take the test again to improve your scores. Colleges will accept the highest reading score, highest verbal score, and highest math score and combine them to find your final total SAT score. Due to this scoring system, there is no disadvantage to taking the SAT multiple times to improve your score.

Additional SAT prep after taking the test once can help you to focus on trouble areas that revealed themselves during the test and to increase study time on the subjects that need the most improvement. Developing a realistic plan to prepare for the SAT will help you to approach junior year with confidence. Carrying out your plan will help you to enter senior year with your best possible SAT scores.

What You Should be Asking Your High School Guidance Counselor?

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to make time to speak with your high school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors can be a great hub of information and a wonderful resource throughout your high school career and college application process. The more information your guidance counselor has about you and your goals for the year and for the future, the better he or she can help you to succeed.

For underclassmen, guidance counselors can be very helpful in planning out your courses for upcoming years. Ask them what they recommend based on your past transcript and what you are interested in studying. Guidance counselors can often help you to find information about college requirements for high school courses and help you to put together the best schedule to meet your needs. They can also help you to build good study skills and be sure that you have the right tools to do well in your courses.

When it comes to SAT preparation, guidance counselors can be a great place to go for advice. They can help you to identify goals and organization skills to develop a preparation plan. A good plan for test prep will ensure that you can come away with the best SAT score possible. Guidance counselors have helped many students through the process and can be a great source of advice.

Guidance counselors are a great resource when you are applying for colleges. Not only can they help you to prepare the best application possible, but they can help you to work through the college search process and weigh the various options available. Based on your transcript and SAT score, counselors can also help you to be sure you are applying to a range of schools to provide you with good options.

If you can communicate openly with your guidance counselor about what you are looking for in a college experience, he or she can help determine if your current schools are a good match. Ask if there are students from your school who went on to your college, they can often help answer questions about the application process and the experience they have had in college so far.

Having an open and positive relationship with your guidance counselor is a great step to success in your academic career. He or she will be able to advocate for your needs, support your decisions, and help you to make good choices about college and career plans. Making an appointment and asking the right questions can make all the difference.

Changing your frame of mind

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.

High School Activities: How Many is Too Many?

For most students, academics are only part of their high school schedule. Extra curricular activities can be a great way for students to explore their interests, meet friends with similar interests, and develop their leadership skills. Extra curricular activities can also take up a lot of time in an already busy schedule. The number of activities that a student can balance will depend largely on his or her organization and time management skills.

High school is an important time for academics and college preparation, but there are other things that can enhance a student’s high school experience and resume. High school sports are a great outlet for many students, a way to do something they love, improve their athletic skills, and, possibly, be eligible for college sports scholarships. Sports can also take up a lot of time. Students should be realistic about the number of sports they can balance at any given time and prioritize which ones are the most important to them.

Being involved in the arts has been shown to benefit students during high school and beyond. Music, visual arts, and drama are all great ways for students to grow and learn new things. These are also skills that they can go on to use in college or see as preparation for a number of different career paths.

Students may also want to prioritize activities that are more applicable to their college and career goals. For example, a student that is looking to pursue journalism will want to make time in his or her busy schedule for the school newspaper, literary journal, and other related activities. These will be excellent preparation for college and their career. They can also be ways to meet mentors that can continue to help them after high school.

Volunteer work can also set students apart on college applications and be a great way for young people to get involved and make a difference in their communities. Many students find that this sort of activity is not only a great way to spend free time, but can help them to develop new interests and learn about different possibilities for their future career.

Students may find that they get more out of having leadership roles in fewer clubs than they do from being a member of many. Being an officer on the student council or in a leadership role in a club can help students build skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. This sort of involvement requires more time, but is often more meaningful than being a general member of many clubs. Extra curricular activities should always be limited to what a student can balance while maintaining their academics, but can be an important part of every student’s high school experience.

Senior Year Planning for High School Students

Planning for the senior year of high school can be both an exciting and stressful time for many students. It is a time when balance is critical and students are working to maintain their current academics with SAT tutoring and solidifying plans for the years after graduation. By sitting down and planning out the senior year, students can ensure that they successfully maneuver this critical year.

Preparing college applications is a priority for most students and taking the SAT should be at the top of their to-do list. Students will want to begin SAT test prep early so that they will be well prepared for test day. Taking an SAT course or finding a program that offers SAT tutoring are both great option for students looking for ways to prepare for the test. SAT test prep involves studying the content of the SAT, becoming familiar with the format of the test, and taking practice tests. A good SAT course will be reflected through a student’s confidence and preparedness on test day.

It is important for students to plan ahead when it comes to choosing classes for senior year. They should not only look at their high school’s requirements, but at the course requirements for their top college choices. Many have preferences regarding the number of years in high school that students should have taken each of the major subjects. Colleges may also have requirements about foreign language and offer students a chance to place into a higher level or test out of a requirement if they have completed additional years of language in high school. Choosing to take advanced placement (AP) classes can make for a tougher academic year, but can also help students to test out of required courses during their first year of college.

Keeping up with extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and volunteer work, can be tough during senior year, but can also help students to shine on college applications. Students may also be working to maintain a part-time job. Staying organized is not only the key to a successful senior year, but can help students to hone the organizational skills that will benefit them during college.

Students will need to work hard senior year to stay in control of their academic schedules and maintain a good GPA and SAT prep schedule. These will be important factors in their college application process. With a solid schedule, it will be possible to make time for college campus visits, extracurricular activities, and everything else that students will want to fit into their senior year.

Test Day Checklist

It is extremely important to go into your SAT test day confident, calm, and well prepared. Taking SAT practice tests during your study sessions will help ensure that you are familiar with the format of the SAT and allow you to relax and do your best work on test day. Having all the right tools with you on test day will also help you successfully complete the SAT.

Information
Be sure that you know the exact time and location for check-in. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you may consider driving to the test location once ahead of time so that you know how long it will take. This will be one less thing to worry about on test day. You will also need to print your SAT admission ticket from the College Board website and bring it with you for check in on test day.

Photo Identification
You will need to have a proper form of photo identification with you the day of testing. A driver’s license, state-issued photo identification card, school identification card, or passport are all acceptable forms of identification.

Pencils
A number two pencil is required for the SAT and it is suggested that you pack two pencils to be safe. Pens and mechanical pencils are not allowed. Be sure that your pencils are sharpened and ready for use before you arrive at the testing location. A good eraser is also helpful to make clean corrections to your test.

Calculator
You will want to read the requirements for calculators before the day of the test. For the SAT, a graphing or scientific calculator is recommended. A four-function calculator is allowed, but not recommended. Laptop calculators, cell phone calculators, and pocket organizers are not allowed. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test.

Snack
While certainly not required, you are permitted to bring snacks and drinks with you for the break. Pack a water bottle and a small snack that you can eat to recharge your energy during the break.

Watch
The testing room will generally be equipped with a wall clock, but it is always helpful to have a watch with you on testing day. Turn off any audible alarms before going into the test. A watch will ensure that you can budget your time accordingly and that you will be able to complete the entire test.

Senior Year Planning

Senior year of high school can be an extremely busy time. Many deadlines and decisions are on the horizon and it can be overwhelming for students to balance all of their responsibilities. Developing a solid plan for senior year can help you to avoid stress and assure that everything is done on time.

Fall

The fall of senior year is often the time students choose to devote to taking the SAT. Schedule the test and begin to devote time to studying and preparing for the test. Online test prep is one good option to help SAT test prep fit into an already busy school schedule.

The fall is also the time to seriously narrow down college options. Once you have a list of the schools where you will be applying, organize important dates and deadlines onto a master calendar.

Researching financial aid is another important task for the fall. This involves researching student loan options, scholarships and grants, and options available at each of your colleges.

Winter

Winter of senior year is the time to focus on completing college applications. Many will use the same common application supplemented by some additional questions and information. Take time to write your essays and be sure they are a good reflection of your strengths. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendations early on in the process so that you give your teachers, guidance counselors, and employers plenty of time to write the recommendation.

Once everything is complete, be sure to double check that all parts of the application are there and send them in. Most high schools will provide resources to help students prepare the final application packet.

At this point, many colleges will also want to schedule a personal interview. This is both a time for the college to speak with you and gain additional insight into your application and also a time for you to ask questions about the selection process and why you should choose their college. Viewing the interview as a conversation will keep you from being nervous and help you get the most out of this experience.

Spring

By spring of senior year, you will have heard back from your colleges and it is time to focus on making a decision. If you were accepted to multiple schools, it is often worthwhile to visit these colleges once again. These campus visits can help you to make a confident decision. While on campus, you will want to take another tour, sit in on a class, and talk to current students about their college experience. Be sure to ask plenty of questions of students, staff, and representatives in the admissions office.

Before making a decision, you will also want to discuss your plans with your family, particularly concerning financial aid and how you will be paying for college. Once you have reached a decision, send out your acceptance and rejection letters to all the colleges that accepted you. Your school will soon be sending you more information and you’ll be busy planning for next year. You can now proudly announce your college plans and enjoy the conclusion of your high school career.

College visits: What to look for

Visiting a college campus is a critical step in the application process. While background information can be gathered from brochures and websites, there are many things that you can only learn by visiting the school and interacting with students and staff. If possible, try to plan the visit for a time when classes are in session. This will give you a better window into life on campus. There are several important things to consider during these campus visits.

Size
Some students will prefer to be at a large university while others may want a smaller campus. This is often a personal preference and something that will have a large impact on your college experience. A small school can offer a tight-knit feeling of community, while a larger school may offer a wider variety of classes and extracurricular activities.

Location
It is important to choose a school that is in a place you want to live for a few years. There are colleges in the heart of large cities, in rural small towns, and everything in between. It is important to find out about the relationship the college has with the surrounding city or town, whether students are actively involved in the community or tend to stay within the campus. The location of a college will also impact how students spend their free time. Ask if the majority of students stay on campus over the weekends and what options are available for entertainment and activities.

Requirements
The college’s admissions materials will often print the average high school GPA and SAT scores for incoming students. If the numbers aren’t readily available in printed materials, it’s a good idea to ask. Knowing this can help you to prepare through SAT test prep and maintaining a good GPA. It is also important to find out about course requirements on campus. Many schools will require a core curriculum of classes in various subjects, but the number of options available to fulfill these requirements will vary.

Housing
One highlight of the college visit is often seeing the inside of a dorm room. This is a good time to ask whether housing is guaranteed all four years and what options, such as single rooms, suites, and apartments, are available to students.

Majors
If you already know what you plan to major in during college, you will want to learn as much as you can about that specific department. A campus visit will often allow you to sit in on a class or meet with a professor to get a better sense of the school’s program. If you are unsure about your major, look for a school with plenty of options that interest you. Some schools are better choices for students interested in a double major or pursuing a specific minor or concentration in addition to their major. It is a good idea to ask how many students do this and how well this course load would fit into an academic plan.


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