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Discover Your Potential


Why should you take challenging classes in high school? The first thing most college admissions officers look at is your academic transcript. Take AP or advanced level classes in subjects you enjoy and feel confident in. Show that you can handle college-level work and still maintain good grades.

Extracurricular Activities

What do you do after school? Extra curricular activities are an excellent way for you to develop interests, make friends, and learn new skills. In addition, you can develop leadership skills by running for office, heading up a project or coming up with new ideas. Make your free time count!

Summer Enrichment

Summer is a great time to develop your passions, earn some money at a part time job, learn about different careers or try a college class. Sure, you need some down time. Go ahead – sleep in and hang out with friends. But also take the time to find some meaningful and productive experiences.

Freshman Year

Begin your high school career strong! Give your best effort in all of your classes. Freshman grades count in college admissions.

Focus on your five core academic classes: Math, English, Science, Social Science and Foreign Language. Take these classes all 4 years.

Challenge yourself by taking at least one advanced (Pre-Ap/Honors) course.

Get involved! Find some extracurricular activities that you might be interested in and try them out.

Read everything you can! This will help build your vocabulary and prepare you for more rigorous coursework.

Plan your summer. Find a camp or activity that sounds fun or interesting.

Start a file to save awards, report cards, certificates and honors. Always keep any personal essays you may write for any of your classes.

Introduce yourself to your counselor. Talk to him/her about planning your classes with the goal of going to college.

Sophomore Year

Continue to work hard in all your classes. Set a goal to improve your grades (if needed).
Continue to be involved. If you are involved in several different activities, begin to narrow them down and focus on the ones that interest you the most.
Consider forming study groups with your friends and if you struggle in a class, seek extra help right away.
Begin thinking about colleges. Read about different ones to see what interests you.
Visit nearby colleges, even if they are not on your list. This is a great way to do a test-run visit and get a feel for different sizes of colleges.
Continue to read, read, read!
Talk to your counselor to plan your next year’s classes. Make it a point of getting to know him/her.
Plan your summer. Consider a job, volunteer work, camps, travel or other activity. Maybe visit a college campus you are interested in.

Junior Year

Continue to work hard in all your classes. Take advanced classes if possible.
Take a 3rd year of the same foreign language even if it’s not required.
Take the PSAT or PLAN in October.
Determine your testing plan and register for the SAT or ACT in the winter or spring.
Consider test prep classes as needed.
Continue to be involved in activities. Seek out leadership roles.
Attend college fairs.
Research colleges and create a preliminary list of schools to consider.
Plan some campus visits, perhaps over spring break.
Explore possible majors and careers by reading articles, talking to people and even try to shadow someone at work.
Keep samples of your best work in your file of activities and awards.
Take SAT Subject exams as needed.
Plan your summer-consider internships, jobs, or college classes.
Begin brainstorming topics for your college essays. Summer is a great time to start working on these.
Read, Read, Read!!!

Senior Year

Fall & Winter

Keep studying hard. Take AP/IB classes if available.
Take a 4th year of a foreign language.
Stay involved in extracurricular activities. Seek leadership opportunities.
Finalize your list of colleges. Determine an application plan including timing decisions.
Visit the rest of the campuses on your list. Schedule interviews if available.
Ask your teachers and counselor for recommendations. Give them plenty of time and inform them of deadlines.
Take the SAT/ACT again as needed.
Finish your college essays and applications.
Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE) in October.
Complete scholarship applications.


Celebrate your acceptance letters.
Visit any colleges you are seriously considering. Plan an overnight visit if possible.
Make your final decision and notify the colleges by May 1.
Enjoy the rest of your senior year-but don’t slack off! You still need to send in final transcripts.