College Prep Guide

This guide will give you an idea of the timeline for things you need to accomplish if you are planning to apply to college. It helps to get a folder to keep all important college information in one place. It might also help to have a bookmark folder on the internet to have your top college picks’ and scholarships’ websites readily accessible.
Junior Year
Fall semester
Research and get a list started of schools you might be interested in applying to. Take note of their admission requirements and application deadlines.
Research some scholarships. Keep a list of scholarships you qualify for.
Study for and take the PSATs.
After you get your PSAT results, meet with your guidance councilor.
Pick up an SAT study book from the library or book store.
Register for the SAT. Take the earliest test possible so you have time to retake it.
Spring Semester
Take the SAT.
Go to at least one college fair and bring a tote bag for information packets and business cards.
Put together a resume. Start developing portfolios or writing samples if required for admission or scholarships. (See “Resume Guide and Interview tips, p)
Make plans to visit some campuses on your list of schools. For a tour, you should call ahead and make an appointment, especially in the summertime.
Senior Year
Fall Semester
Retake the SAT if you think you’ll be able to get a higher score. If you do retake it, make sure you study. There is a myth that simply taking it again will increase your score.
Continue to visit colleges. Really start to narrow down your list of choices. Include “reach schools” (the ones you more likely won’t get into) and “back-up schools” (schools you will almost definitely get into) in your list.
Think about teachers, bosses, youth group leaders, coaches, etc, who you have developed a relationship with over the past few years, and ask them if they would write you a recommendation. Give them a month’s notice to complete recommendation forms or letters. Provide them with addressed and stamped envelops.
Apply to schools. Early fall is not too early to start applying. The sooner you have your paperwork in (recommendations, essays, transcript, test scores), the better.
Spring
Once you are accepted to college, continue to keep your grades high. Colleges and universities can retract their offer of admission if your grades fall.
Send thank you notes to all of the people who wrote you recommendations.
Apply for financial aid.
Work with guidance councilors, if your top choices are not available, to find colleges and universities with openings.
Attend “accepted students” days to help make your final decision.

During any part of the college search process, you can always call up or email colleges with questions (see Vermont Schools for contact info)