What Should I Be Doing

  • Freshman To-Do List

    1. Plan out a challenging program of classes to take

    • Colleges care about which courses you're taking in high school. Remember, you will have more options if you start planning now for college and do your best to earn good grades.
    • The courses you take in high school show colleges what kind of goals you set for yourself. Are you signing up for advanced classes, honors sections, or accelerated sequences? Are you choosing electives that really stretch your mind and help you develop new abilities? Or are you doing just enough to get by?
    • Colleges will be more impressed by respectable grades in challenging courses than by outstanding grades in easy ones.
    • Do your high school course selections match what most colleges expect you to know? For example, many colleges require two to four years of foreign language study.
    • Establish your college preparatory classes; your schedule should consist of at least 4 college preparatory classes per year, including:
    • 4 years of English
    • 3-4 years of math (through algebra II or calculus)
    • 2 years of foreign language
    • 2 years of natural science
    • 2 years of history/social studies1 year of art
    • 1 year of electives from the above list

    2. Create a file of important documents and notes

    • Copies of report cards.
    • Lists of awards and honors.
    • Lists of school and community activities in which you are involved, including both paid and volunteer work, and descriptions of what you do.

    3. Stay active in clubs, activities, and sports that you enjoy

    • Study, study, study. Colleges look at your permanent academic record for admissions beginning with freshman-year grades.  Use the study skills you learn in your advisory group.
    • Think about an after school or summer job to start saving for college.

    Sophmore To-Do List

    1. Keep copies of you report cards and your transcripts.
    2. Keep a file or list of awards and honors you have received.
    3. Keep a list of school and community activities in which you are involved, including both paid and volunteer work, and descriptions of what you did.
    4. Think about selecting a college, finding out about the different types. Decide which characteristics are most important to you, such as the size of the school, distance from home, cost, and extracurricular activities.
    5. Visit colleges and talk with college students.  Be ready with a list of questions to ask on your campus visit.
    6. Review the high school course you need to take to meet the requirements of the colleges you are interested in attending.
    7. Explore different careers - take advantage of job shadow opportunities.
    8. Take high school classes that challenge you and that will best prepare you for college.
    9. Continue extracurricular activities, as scholarship committees look at students' extracurricular activities when considering them for scholarships.
    10. Talk to your school counselor with any questions you might have about college or career opportunities.
    11. Always do your best!!

    Junior To-Do List

    Click here to download various documents:

    • August:
      • Start your year off right: Talk with your guidance counselor about your options and your plans. Be sure to ask about test dates for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT. You'll need to register up to six weeks ahead of time.
      • Sign up for courses with your eyes on the prize: college and money to pay for it! A tougher course load may pay off with scholarships and may get you a better chance to get admitted to the school of your choice.
      • Start investigating private and public sources for financial aid. Take note of scholarship deadlines and plan accordingly.
      • Sign up for activities to boost your college applications: job shadowing, community service, etc.
    • September:
      • Find out about schools you are interested in attending. Treat your school selection process like a research paper: Make a file and gather information about schools, financial aid, and campus life to put in it. Go to college fairs and open houses and learn as much as you can from the Internet about schools.
      • Begin planning college visits. Fall, winter, and spring break are good times because you can observe a campus when classes are going on.
    • October:
      • Take the PSAT. You'll get the results by Christmas.
      • Sign up for ACT or SAT prep courses.
      • Do your top college picks require essays or recommendations? Now is the time to begin planning your essays and choosing whom you'd like to ask for a recommendation.
    • November:
      • Sign up for the ACT and SAT, if you haven't already.
    • December:
      • Continue to do college searches and career exploration
      • Take the ACT or SAT.
    • January:
      • Meet with your guidance counselor again to develop your senior schedule.
      • Organize your Individual Graduation Plan.
    • February:
      • Think about lining up a summer job, internship, or job shadow.
      • Plan campus visits for spring semester or summer break.
      • Memorize your Social Security number if you haven't already. It will be your identity on campus.
    • March/April:
      • Update your resume.
      • Take college visits.
      • Finalize your senior class schedule.

    Senior To-Do List

    Senior Year TIMELINE: August

    • Sign up for the ACT if you didn't take it as a junior, or if you aren't satisfied with your score.
    • Review Accuplacer test results and retest if necessary.

    SENIOR YEAR TIMELINE: August to December

    • Visit with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements. Consider taking courses at a local university or community college.
    • Keep working hard all year; second semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility.
    • Ask for personal references from teachers, school counselors, or employers early in the year or at least two weeks before application deadline
    • Visit with college admissions counselors who come to your high school.
    • Apply for admission at the colleges you've chosen and request your transcript to be sent.
    • Avoid common college application mistakes. Proofread!!!
    • Find out if you qualify for scholarships at each college where you have applied.
    • Complete the FAFSA application anytime after October 1st.
    • Request a FSA ID to electronically sign your FAFSA.
    • If you need it, get help completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from Mrs. Webster or EducationQuest.
    • Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR)—it should arrive four weeks after the FAFSA is filed.
    • See your school counselor for help finding financial aid and scholarships.

    ​​SENIOR YEAR TIMELINE: January to May

    • Bring your school counselor a copy of your acceptance letter and any scholarships you have received.
    • In May, request your final transcripts to be sent to the college you will attend.
    • 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.
    • Complete local scholarship and continue to look for other scholarship opportunities.
    • Keep track of important financial aid and scholarship deadlines.
    • 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.
    • Take any placement tests that your college requires prior to registering for classes.
    • Watch for emails or letters with information about freshmen or new student orientation and registration.
    • Request your COLLEGE transcripts from NECC, WSC, CCC and NWU for any college credit you have earned.


    ​​SENIOR YEAR TIMELINE: June to August

    • Request that your final transcript be sent to the school you will be attending through Google.
    • Attend Freshmen Orientation and/or Freshmen Registration.
    • Apply for the Olson/Wolf Loan by July 1st.
    • Getting a summer job can help pay some of your college expenses.
    • Make a list of what you will need to take with you for your dorm room.
    • If you haven't met your roommate, call, write, or e-mail to get acquainted in advance.
    • Make sure housing documentation is quickly accessible when you move into the dorm.
    • Learn how to get around at your new school. Review a campus map.
    • Wait until after your first class meeting to buy your books and supplies.