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College Resources » College Checklist for All Grades

College Checklist for All Grades

Preparing for College

Make choices today that will lead to the future you want.  You might not be able to control what other people do, but you CAN control what you do.  Identify and visualize your goal.  Imagine yourself taking the steps that will make it happen and then reaching it!  Are you ready?  The sooner you start, the more likely you succeed.

FRESHMAN YEAR

  • Do well in your classes.  Start building a strong GPA!
  • Read, read, read!  Build your vocabulary and general knowledge!
  • Pursue your extracurricular passions.  Participate in school activities.
  • Visit colleges.  Attend campus rep presentations and attend college fairs.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

  • Continue taking academic courses, including Honors and AP courses (if possible).
  • Take the PSAT in October to practice for the SAT and ACT.
  • Continue researching favorite colleges.  Think about the college size, the location, majors, etc.
  • Read books, fiction and non-fiction.  Vocabulary is an important part of the SAT and ACT.  Vocabulary and general knowledge is crucial to college success.
  • Take SAT Subject tests at the end of the year while you still remember the material! (Biology, World History, any other 10th grade classes).
  • Try to find a good summer program at a college, internship, or job.
  • Visit colleges, attend campus rep presentations, and attend college fairs.
  • Keep a list of all your activities and awards.  You’ll need this your senior year when you are applying to college!  You can keep the list at Google.com (Google Docs).
  • Volunteer in the community, join student organizations and clubs, and participate in school activities.

JUNIOR YEAR

  • Continue taking the most difficult courses you can handle: Honors, AP, etc.
  • Visit colleges, check out websites, talk with college reps, etc.
  • Take the PSAT in October.  If you get a high score, you could be a National Merit Scholar or qualify for a scholarship.  Study at CollegeBoard.com.
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning Test and/or ACT in April, May, or June.
  • Register for the SAT Subject Tests in May or June (Chemistry, U.S. History, Spanish, Math Level 2, etc.).
  • Participate in school activities and community volunteer work.
  • Continue building your list of your activities and awards (remember, you can use Google (Google Docs) to store your list online).
  • Check in with Mr. Abarr to make sure that you’re meeting all your A-G courses for the UC’s and CSU’s.  Don’t wait until your senior year to find out that you’re missing courses!
  • Visit colleges, attend campus rep presentations, and attend college fairs.
  • Participate in summer programs at colleges, read, travel, visit colleges, get a job, and/or find an internship during the summer!
  • Develop a list of 6-10 favorite colleges to which you will apply in the fall (2-3 “dream” schools, 2-3 “probably”, and 2-3 “sure things”).
  • Begin writing your personal statement.  Practice with the UC prompts.  

SENIOR YEAR

  • You’re on the home stretch!  Take a challenging course load (at least 3 academic courses) each term.
  • Begin working on your private college applications in August.  Check out the Common Application, which is used by most prestigious private colleges.
  • If you’re a super high-achieving student, explore full-ride private scholarships like the Gates Millennium and QuestBridge.
  • If you’re a strong student, good writer, or AB 540 student, check out scholarship opportunities at the SanteeFalcons.org website (click here).
  • Take the ACT and/or SAT in October, November, or December if you’d like a shot at improving your score!
  • Take SAT Subject tests by December, if necessary.  Remember, the UC’s require 2 subject tests!
  • Be sure to send your scores to the colleges to which you are applying!
  • Submit your CSU applications at CSUMentor and UC applications at UniversityofCalifornia.edu/apply by November 30th!
  • Don’t forget to apply to private colleges.  They have high price tags, but they often give full financial support (you pay little or nothing!).
  • Apply for financial aid during January and February.  Two forms—1) the FAFSA and 2) the Cal Grant form—can get you a lot of money for college (your college bill will likely be completely covered!).
  • Apply to community colleges from March through June.
  • Keep applying for scholarships!