College Planning Information
The world of work is growing more and more competitive making good decisions in high school can help improve your chances of getting the best education and training you’ll need to find a meaningful (and profitable) professional life.
Not sure where to start?
- Check out this College Application Timeline to get an idea of what you need to be doing when during your application process!
- Check out this College Advising Essentials handbook to get some great information about College Planning!
Here are six of the most important factors that impact your college admissions.
Strong Academic Course Load
As early as 9th grade, take the most challenging classes you can successfully handle. Keeping your GPA as high as possible is important, but colleges also want to see if you challenged yourself instead of coasting through easier classes.
Find a club, sport, musical group, and/or community organization and start engaging outside of the classroom. Keep track of your activities too, as colleges will want to know all that you did while in high school. Community service looks especially good on a college application!
Letters of Recommendation
Not only is getting involved important, but showing teachers, employers, coaches, and mentors that you take your work seriously is something that colleges want to know too. Developing good relationships is vital in life and finding good references is an absolute must for college admissions. By the time you start applying to college, you should have at least three people you can ask for letters of recommendation.
Your School Counselor will often need to write you a recommendation for college admissions too. Get to know them well during your time in high school! We ask that you provide us a list of the following information for any letters of recommendation:
- Jobs You’ve Held (include positions held AND how long you worked there)
- Extra-Curricular Activities (leadership, sports, clubs, music, etc.)
- Volunteer/Service Work
- Intended Major of Study
- Awards You’ve Received
College Entrance Exams
Most colleges will want to see your scores on either the SAT or the ACT when you apply. Most students take these exams during the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year. We offer the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) to sophomores (for practice) and to juniors each fall, which helps prepare students for the SAT. The PSAT is also linked to several scholarship opportunities, so sign up in the Counseling Office as soon as you hear about it each year!
- For more information about PSAT, click here.
- For more information about SAT, and to register for an exam, click here.
- For more information about the ACT, and to register for an exam, click here.
For college applications and exam applications, you may need to use our School CEEB code. It is 391260.
Find Your Fit
Not all colleges are created equal and not every college will have the program you want! We highly encourage all students to use the BigFuture tool, created by The College Board, to explore the thousands of colleges across the United States (and even some abroad). BigFuture helps you filter through college options based on features that matter to you – what majors a college offers, what colleges are within a specific state, how expensive a college is, and even what kind of sports teams a college has!
Explore the BigFuture tool here.
Real Campus Experience
Visit college campuses during your summer break. Juniors and seniors are given three excused absences specifically for college visits. Print a College Visit Form (or obtain one at the Counseling Office). Visits give you the chance to ask questions to admissions representatives and, if you set up an interview, to faculty members in your departments/majors of interest.
For more information about admissions factors to college, check out this website by The College Board!
Important Admissions Vocabulary
There are several different ways that colleges admit students each year and while the differences may not sound like that big of a deal, they can make all the difference between getting in or not.
Regular Admissions: All colleges have a deadline by which they need to have applications submitted. All applications are reviewed at the same time and most students who meet the college’s requirement are accepted.
Rolling Admissions: It is to a student’s advantage to apply early in the senior year for schools with a rolling admissions policy. These colleges accept students who meet their admissions criteria as the applications are received.
Early Admissions: Some colleges allow students with exceptionally high academic abilities to begin their college courses before completion of high school. See your counselor for more details.
Early Action: Some colleges allow students to apply early, usually by November 1st, wherein they are notified about admission in mid-December. Unlike Early Decision, this admission option is not binding. This is a good option for students who are highly interested in a particular school, as the applicant pool is smaller for Early Action applicants.
Early Decision: Students who are very sure of the school they want to attend may complete an early decision application. Students are usually notified of early decision acceptance by December. Early decision plans are binding, requiring a student to withdraw all other college applications.
There are many important components to college admissions that are specific to students interested in participating in college sports. To learn more about the advantages of college athletics, and to understand more information about applying as a student-athlete, click here.