College Planning Checklist (September)

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Fall College Planning Tips for High School Students

Labor Day and the beginning of September traditionally mark the unofficial end of summer, and with the new month comes a new school year and the time to plan for college!

Whether you’re an entering freshman or a rising senior, there’s a lot that you can do this month to prepare for the college admissions process.

Here’s our September college planning checklist for high school students:

Freshmen

  • Get settled in your courses. Colleges take 9th grade grades into consideration, so study hard. Don’t be shy about seeking help from teachers if you experience academic difficulties.
  • Get involved! Now is the time to explore extracurricular activities and find clubs and organizations that really match your interests.
  • Read! Begin building a list of books to read outside of class that will help you explore your interests and build your vocabulary.

Sophomores

  • Grades are very important! Start off the new school year right by getting organized and making a study schedule that will ensure your grades continue on an upward trend.
  • Continue extracurricular involvement and seek leadership positions. If you can’t find a club or organization that meets your interests, then found one! Start your own club to fulfill your interests.
  • Begin researching colleges. If you live near an institution of interest during, stop by for an informal visit.
  • Continue your outside reading and make sure you are updating your resume throughout the year.

Juniors

  • Start studying for the SAT/ACT, SAT Subject Tests and AP exams as soon as the school year begins. In addition to the SAT or ACT, some colleges require up to two SAT Subject Tests, which are one hour long, multiple choice exams that measure achievement in specific subject areas.
  • If you plan on taking the October SAT, be sure to register by Sept. 6. Registration for the October ACT closes Sept. 27.
  • Continue to research colleges online and begin planning campus visits. Attend any local college fairs and ask your college counselor if any representatives from colleges and universities will be visiting your school this year.
  • 11th grade teachers are the ones you’re most likely to ask for letters of recommendation, so continue building and fostering those relationships.
  • Continue involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities and seek leadership roles.

Seniors

  • Narrow down your balanced college list; be sure to include a combination of reach, target, and likely schools.
  • Create a final draft of your resume that includes any summer activities and any new or continued club/team activities.
  • If you haven’t already started, begin working on your application essays. Have someone check them for content and grammar.
  • Begin approaching teachers for letters of recommendation. You ask for a recommendation at least a month before your application is due in order to give teachers adequate time to prepare a thoughtful and comprehensive recommendation.
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