It’s Time To Start The Planning Process.

Here are some questions to ask yourself…..

1. Why do I want to go to college?

2. Am I ready for college? If so, am I a leader or a follower?

3. How best do I learn?

4. What size school would be best for me?

5. Where in the country do I want to live for 4 years?

6. What type of weather do I prefer?

7 How hard do I want to work?

8. How important is the prestige of the school?

9 Do I have a particular major in mind?

10. What extra-curricular activities do I want to participate in?

If your goal is college, then you should:

Get Involved

Getting ready for college isn’t all work. Find something you really like doing, then dive into it. Maybe you’re drawn to sports, student council, music, art, etc. You’ll develop skills and show colleges your ability to make a commitment and stick with it.

Take Challenging Courses

Colleges do look at your grades, but they also pay attention to how difficult your courses are. They want to see that you’ve challenged yourself. Plus, if you pursue advanced courses, such as AP®, you may be able to get college credit.

Get Help

Having trouble in a class? Many schools have peer tutors, students in upper grades who’ll help you (for free). Talk to teachers or counselors — let them know you want extra help.

Read

Read at least 30 minutes every day, beyond study and homework. People who read more know more. And when you take PSAT/NMSQT® and SAT® tests, the time you put into reading will really pay off.

Don’t Delay

You’ll take the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior (or even as a sophomore). Most students take the SAT in their junior or senior year. Be sure you’re taking the solid math and other courses that get you ready. Talk to your counselor to make sure you’re on track. Find out information on Financial Aid, start looking at requirements for qualification early.

Get the College-Bound Facts

How can you find out about college admissions, work, and campus life? Ask someone who’s done it, such as college students who went to your high school. Get to know your counselors. Ask a career planner at a local college, or a teacher. Do Web research.

Involve Your Family

When parents or guardians haven’t been to college themselves, they may think they can’t help you. That’s not true. They can talk to counselors and help you stay on the right path.

Look for a Mentor

Look for adults who can lend their enthusiasm and help you succeed at your goals. If you’re interested in a particular subject or activity talk to a teacher or leader who knows about it. Find a counselor or teacher you trust to talk about your goals.

Confront Personal Roadblocks

If you have a problem that’s getting in the way of schoolwork, don’t ignore it. Talk to your friends, family, or another adult — parent, coach, nurse, counselor — who may be able to offer advice or help.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

If you expect to go to college later, expect to study now. No one can do it for you. Don’t talk the college talk — “I’ll go to college to get a great career” — without walking the walk.

What Colleges Look For

1. A high school curriculum that challenges the student. Academically successful students should include several Honors and Advanced Placement classes.

2. Grades that represent strong effort and an upward trend. Grades should show an upward trend over the years. However, slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all A’s in less challenging coursework.

3. Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT, ACT). These should be consistent with high school performance.

4. Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative. Depth, not breadth, of experience is most important.

5. Community service showing evidence of being a contributor. Activities should demonstrate concern for other people and a global view.

6. Work or out-of-school experiences (including summer activities) that illustrate responsibility, dedication and development of areas of interest. Work or other meaningful use of free time can demonstrate maturity.

7. A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values and goals. The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.

8. Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselor that give evidence of integrity, special skill, and positive character traits. Students should request recommendations from teachers who respect their work in an academic discipline.

9. Supplementary recommendations by adults who have had significant direct contact with the student. Letters from coaches or supervisors in long-term work or volunteer activities are valuable; however, recommendations from casual acquaintances or family friends, even if they are well known, are rarely given much weight.

Anything special that makes the student stand out from the rest of the applicants! Include honors, awards, evidence of unusual talent or experience, or anything else that makes the student unique. Overall, colleges are seeking students who will be active, contributing members of the student body