Fall of Junior Year
*Start with you: Think about your abilities, social/cultural preferences and personal qualities. List things you may want to study and do in college.
*Learn about colleges. Look at their websites (www.collegeboard.org has links). Talk to friends, family, teachers and recent grads of your school now in college. Browse college guide books. List college features that interest you.
*Meet with your school counselor. Will there be a college/career fair? When will college representative visit your school?
*At school, sign up early to take the PSAT/NMSQT, which is given in October.
*Make a file to manage your college search, testing and application materials.
*If appropriate (for example, if you are interested in drama, music, art, etc.), start to gather material for a portfolio.
*With your family, start to learn about financial aid. Read the Department of Education's Funding Your Education. Use Getting Financial Aid published by the College Board and the financial aid calculator at www.collegeboard.org to estimate how much aid you might receive.
Winter of Junior Year
*Make a family appointment with your counselor to discuss ways to improve your college-preparation and selection processes.
*Sign up to take college admission tests this spring. Register online. Fee waivers are available for students with financial need. To prepare, download practice materials from admission test websites.
*Begin a search for scholarships. National sources include the CollegeBoard and electronic sources. Don't overlook local and state aid sources.
*Ask your counselor or teacher about taking the SAT Subject Tests in the spring.
*Think about which teachers you will ask to write letters of recommendation.
Spring of Junior Year
*Visit some local colleges - large, small, public and private. Get a feel for what works for you.
*Develop a list of 15 or 20 colleges that attract you. Request information along with the information you may find on the internet.
*Plan campus visits. It is best to go when classes are in session.
*If you are considering military academies or ROTC scholarships, contact your counselor before leaving school for the summer. If you want a four year ROTC scholarship, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year.
Summer Junior/Senior Year
*Plan summer activities early. Volunteer, get an interesting job or internship, or sign up for summer educational programs.
*If you are an athlete planning to continue playing a sport in college, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
*Visit colleges. Take campus tours and, at colleges you are serious about, make appointments to have interviews with admissions counselors.
*Create a resume - a record of accomplishments, activities and work experiences since your started high school.
*If you are applying to a visual or performing arts program, work on your portfolio or audition pieces.