It’s almost February. If you are a Junior in high school, graduating in 2013 and you have registered for or taken the ACT, spoke with your counselor about college, and started to visit colleges that interest you…good for you! You are right on track and doing great!
If you are a Senior in high school, graduating in 2012, you should have taken the ACT a few times, attended college fairs, toured the colleges that interested you, applied to and chosen the college of your choice, filed your FAFSA, and applied for scholarships.
If you are a Senior and all of those things listed above mean absolutely nothing to you…you better get your ass in gear! Graduation is right around the corner!
What’s that? You’re on the fence about college? You’re sick of school and think college isn’t for you? Maybe this will help with your decision:
That’s right. On average, a person with a Bachelor’s degree will make $1 million more, in a working lifetime, than a person with only a High school diploma. That’s not just chump change.
The ACT website gives a great college planning checklist for every year of high school. It’s never too early to start preparing for college.
Now, if you’re a Senior and you are on track with your college preparation, good for you. Just remember that now is not the time to slack. You need to keep those grades up through graduation. Even though you’ve been accepted to the college/university of your choice, you will still have to send a final transcript to that college. They will see if you totally gave up during the last term and it could affect your entrance into a professional program within the college or university.
As much as you will hate to believe it, your grades will follow you. From the time you begin high school until the time that you graduate from college. Your grades will follow you the whole way.
For you Juniors:
- Keep meeting with your college/career counselor at least once a year
- Continue to take and plan challenging courses
- Keep your grades up
- Register for the ACT. You should be academically ready to take it by spring. If not, take it early in your senior year.
- Talk with your parents and high school counselor about colleges that interest you
- Prepare a list of questions to ask on campus visits
- Continue to visit colleges and talk with college students
- List, compare, and visit colleges
- Investigate scholarship opportunities
- Volunteer for activities and clubs related to career interests
- Get a part-time job, apprenticeship, or internship; or job shadow in a profession that interests you
For you Seniors:
August 2011, you should have:
- Signed up for the ACT (if you didn’t take it as a junior, or if you aren’t satisfied with your score, or if you’ve learned a lot since you first took it.)
- Review ACT test results and retest if necessary
August – December 2011, you should have:
- Visited with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements
- Keep working hard all year; second semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility
- Visited with admissions counselors who come to your high school
- Attended a college fair
- Applied for admission at the colleges you’ve chosen
- Found out if you qualify for scholarships at each college you have applied to
January – May, this is what you should be doing now!
- If you need it, get help completing the FAFSA
- Ask your guidance office in January to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. In May, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.
- Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll
- Decide which college to attend, and notify the school of your decision
- Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork
- Notify schools you will not attend of your decision
- Continue to look for scholarship opportunities
- Keep track of important financial aid and scholarship deadlines
- Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR)—it should arrive four weeks after the FAFSA is filed
- Compare financial aid packages from different schools
- Sign and send in a promissory note if you are borrowing money
- Notify your college about any outside scholarships you received
I know that list looks super intimidating but just take it one step at a time and utilize the guidance that is available for you.
You can do this and in the end, you will not regret all of the hard work, it’s totally worth it!
Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Heather Pierson, is a former higher education and admissions professional, and is also a wife, wine lover and mom to two beautiful girls. She’s an amateur blogger who is having a blast trying to find her career niche in life, while bouncing between stressed out, uptight, and anxiety filled. You know, like all the other rock star mommy’s out there!