- Enjoy school! Not only as a prelude to college but as a place where you are developing as a student and as a person.
- Establish strong study habits and time management techniques.
- Develop a reading plan that includes newspapers, magazines and books.
- Learn how to use the library, computer and Internet resources.
- Work to enhance your reading and writing abilities and vocabulary proficiency.
- Keep up your grades.
- Plan your sophomore year schedule with care. Take classes appropriate for you. Push yourself but know your limits. Colleges look carefully at your classes (and not just your grades). A strong college preparatory program balanced with courses in English, mathematics, social studies, science and languages is important. You should also consider coursework in our Computer Programming, Manufacturing, or Healthcare cohorts.
- Pursue extracurricular activities and perhaps investigate new activities in which you would like to participate.
- Think about your interests and how those interests might translate into career options. But keep your career options open. Investigate lots of possibilities. There are career tests given in grades 10 and 11 that may help you plan for after high school.
- Pay attention to what friends and others are saying about their college experiences. Think about your own goals for college.
- Meet with your college counselor. Find out about college planning resources available in your school. This is a must in grades 11 and 12.
- Consider an interesting summer job, travel, or other learning experience.
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- Find out what resources are available in your high school to help you
plan for college. Talk to your counselor, school library or public
library to find information about colleges, careers, and scholarship
planning. Review catalogs, computerized college-search programs
(Naviance) and guides such as The College Board College Handbook, The
College Board College cost & Financial Aid Handbook, and The College
Board Guide to 150 Popular College Majors.
- Start your personal profile so you will have this information handy when you fill out college applications.
- Update plans for courses you’ll take in high school and extracurricular activities you’ll pursue.
- If you are in AP courses plan to take SAT Subject Tests for college admissions and placement. Ask your counseling office for Taking the SAT Subject Tests, which contains registration dates and test-taking tips. It is a good idea to take some tests just after you finish your last course in the subject, e.g., the sciences, history, and math. You’ll do better on other tests, such as math and the language tests, after several years of study.
- If you are particularly strong in one or more subjects, talk to a counselor or teacher about taking Advance Placement (AP) courses and examinations.
- Plan to visit colleges over the summer. There are many college catalogs and publications to help you plan your visits. You can also contact the colleges online to make an appointment for your visit.
- MEMORIZE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. YOU’LL NEED IT TO TAKE TESTS AND APPLY FOR COLLEGE, FINANCIAL AID, AND JOBS
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October: Take the PSAT/NMSQT. (Students with very high scores will be considered for National Merit Scholarships and Corporate Scholarships.)
March - June:
- Take the ACT and/or the SAT. The ACT is given in April and June. The SAT is given in March , May and June (March and May at Mineola HS). Registration deadlines are four to five weeks prior to the test dates. See your counselor for registration forms and for information on which test(s) you should take. You can register online at www.collegeboard.com for the SAT.
- Start searching for scholarship possibilities. If you are hoping for an athletic scholarship, complete the NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse Form after your junior year.
- If you are in AP courses plan to take SAT Subject Tests for college admissions and placement. It is a good idea to take some tests just after you finish your last course in the subject, e.g., the sciences, history, and math. You’ll do better on other tests, such as writing and the language tests, after several years of study. Familiarize yourself with the Score Choice option of the SAT Subject Tests. Do you want to review your scores before those scores become part of your test history that eventually will be sent to the colleges? Ask your counselor about this.
- Conduct a college search on Naviance. See your counselor to arrange for an appointment. You will come up
with a list of colleges that match your interests and majors.
- Visit colleges over the summer so that you will know where to apply in your senior year. There are many college catalogs and publications to help you plan your visits. You can also contact the colleges online to make an appointment for your visit.
- Plan your senior year schedule with care. Colleges want to see that you are carrying a full complement of classes.
- Keep up your grades, remember that class rank and final GPA are calculated on your 9th, 10th and 11th grade final grades (If you were in accelerated classes in 8th grade, these are also calculated into your final GPA). Colleges will receive a transcript of these grades with your college applications.
- Juniors: The QuestBridge College Prep Scholarships help low-income students with college admissions.
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DO YOU NEED HELP FILLING OUT YOUR FAFSA FORM?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is for seniors who are planning to attend college next year. Federal Student Aid ensures that all eligible individuals benefit from federal financial assistance - grants, loans and work-study programs - for education beyond high school. If you are looking for financial aid for college, filling out the FAFSA form is the first step. New York State Higher Education Services offers live help every Wednesday from 12 noon to 6 pm until February 25th. Call the FAFSA Hotline: 1-800-808-1790 or email anytime at FAFSAhelp@hesc.org.
- Meet with your counselor to discuss your college plans. Go over your ACT and SAT scores with him/her to determine if you should retake either of these tests.
- Attend Financial Aid information night and visit the FAFSA website. Prepare to complete the application when it opens on October 1st. Parents should begin to get their tax information ready.
October: The FAFSA opens on October 1st. Complete your information as soon as possible. If your parents do not have their information ready, they can use estimated figures.
September - November: Complete college admissions, financial aid, and scholarship applications. Also complete the CSS PROFILE, if it is required by any of the colleges you are applying to. Check in the guidance office for information and applications for local scholarships.
Apply to at least one “safe” college. A safe college is one that you’re sure you’ll be admitted to, and one that you can definitely afford.
Be sure to complete and submit all applications before their deadlines!
October - December: Retake the ACT and/or SAT if necessary. The ACT is given in October and December; the SAT is given in November and December.
April - May: Compare financial aid packages and decide which college to attend. Send in your housing deposit, sign and return award letters, and, as a courtesy, notify the other colleges of your decision. You also need to tell your counselor where to send your final transcript.
June - August: Get a summer job. Colleges generally expect students to earn $1,200 for college during the summer after they graduate from high school. If necessary, apply for a Stafford or PLUS loan.
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