9th, 10th & 11th GRADE COLLEGE TIMELINE

For those of you in high school as Freshmen, Sophmores or Juniors, take a look at the following timeline of very simple steps that you can take in making the right choice on which college you should attend.

Need some input on what to do when in order to prepare better for college?

Mom and Dad, is this your first time? Don’t worry.  If you follow by the timeline of things-to-do below, then you will be in good shape.

Most importantly though, you won’t miss out on anything.  

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9TH GRADE:

1. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT HIGH SCHOOL OFFERS

Talk to your child’s school counselor to make sure his/her high school course schedule is on a college prep track (CORE 40 or Core 40 with Academic Honors diploma). The courses a student takes in the 9th grade set the stage for 10th grade and beyond. Course selections in every year of high school are important.

*Find out about all the other courses offered in high school and take some. See what initially interests you and take these courses (above and beyond your core curriculum). Then grade these courses based on your interests, likes and if your good at it or not.

*Take note of those courses that you were successful and enjoyed. As you advance through high school, take additional courses related to this

2. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT COLLEGE AND COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH IT

Continue to put those extra dollars into the college fund & remember to do so wisely. Click here for more information on savings. Click here for more information on how savings can affect financial aid.

*Make a list of how you will/can pay for college (*start thinking about talking to Grandpa/Grandma…:) )

3. GET INVOLVED!!

Get involved in extra-curricular activities. Participation in clubs, athletic teams, music groups, journalism, etc. will be an important factor in many college admission decisions. Students should get involved in school life, but never to the point where it harms academics.

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10TH GRADE:

1. WADDAYAWANADOO?

Talk with your student about his/her career interests and goals once again. Encourage your student to talk with his/her school counselor and others about these interests and find out the kind of education s/he will need.

Click on “Careers” to track your interests and careers our best suited for

2. PRACTICE SAT/PSAT…JUST PRACTICE

Have your student register for & take the PSAT (pre-SAT) and/or PLAN (pre-ACT). This provides a good chance to practice for these important college entrance tests. Click here for more information or to register for the PSAT test. Click here for more information or to register for the PLAN test.

Utilize free test preparation resources available online and elsewhere. The SAT and ACT web sites offer free practice tests (see links at bottom) as do web sites that focus specifically on college entrance exam test prep including http://www.number2.com and http://www.testprepreview.com.

 3. CONTINUE TO TAKE AND SUCCEED IN CORE COURSES

 Check once again to be sure your student’s course schedule is matching up with his/her intended diploma and the career path s/he may want to pursue. If your student does not have a clear career path at this point (and many do not at this age), be sure s/he is on a diploma track that will maximize college options.

4. BEGIN OUR INVESTIGATION IN COLLEGES

There are different types of colleges available. Find the type of college that might fit you.

Public institutions/universities

Private colleges

Vocational schools

Community colleges

Begin to talk with your student about what s/he may want in a college. Encourage him/her to search web sites and other resources for more information on colleges of interest. Click here to explore colleges.

5.   STAY INVOLVED IN EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

 Be sure to begin documenting your student’s achievements (in school, athletics, music, etc.) Having this information handy and well-organized will be very important when it comes time to complete college and scholarship applications.

Join DECA, SkillsUSA, HOSA (Health Occupations Society of America), FBLA, CCLA, etc. etc. Check with your guidance office, career services,m stduents services offices to get more info on these organizations. They give you an opportunity to practice what you do and win awards! Based on competitions in certain skills that you have, you could win thousands of dollars in scholarships and other great prizes

6.   SAVE YO MONEY!

Continue to save for college. Every family will have to contribute something toward the cost of attending college. Although the college years may not be far off, remember that anything you can put away now will be welcomed assistance when the time comes. Early and consistent savings are the keys to savings growth. Click here for more information on how savings can affect financial aid.

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11TH GRADE:

1.         HIT THE BOOKS!

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT YEAR IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL CAREER. ALTHOUGH EVERY YEAR IS IMPORTANT, COLLEGES LOOK AT YOUR JUNIOR AND SENIOR YEARS MORE SO. THESE ARE THE YUEARS THAT DEFINE YOUR CAREER INTERESTS AND

Your student’s course schedule should show college prep classes. Be sure your student is taking as challenging a course schedule as s/he can handle, including AP and honors classes, when available and appropriate.

If you don’t or can’t take AP courses, don’t worry. Continue to focus on what and how these course can provide you with

2.   REGISTER FOR SAT/PSAT

 Register in early fall for the October PSAT. This test will serve as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying exam and good practice for the SAT. Click here for more information or to register for these tests. 

 Utilize free test preparation resources available online and elsewhere. The SAT and ACT web sites offer free practice tests (see links at bottom) as do web sites that focus specifically on college entrance exam test prep including http://www.number2.com and http://www.testprepreview.com.

3.   FIGURING OUT WAYS TO FINANCE

Research financial aid and how it works (if you have not already). Click here for more information on financial aid.

Review your abilities or inabilities to pay for college.  How is it going to happen?

Research financial aid (FAFSA). Its becoming easier now.

4.   SCHOLARSHIPS

 Start searching for scholarship opportunities. Make a timeline for application deadlines for the senior year. Click here for more information on free scholarship searches. 

5.   MAKE LIST OF INTERESTED COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES.

Categorize these schools and write why?

Have your student make a list of his/her college selection priorities.

Investigate potential colleges of interest. Use catalogs, publications, web sites, college fairs and visits to college campuses to gather more information. 

6.   REGISTER FOR AND TAKE YOUR SAT/ACT

 Have your student register for & take the SAT or ACT in the spring. Find out what tests are required by the colleges your student is considering. Click here for more information or to register for the PSAT / SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

Click here for more information or to register for the ACT test.

7.   KEEP IN CONTACT WITH GUIDANCE ON YOUR STATUS

8.   VISIT THESE SCHOOLS OF INTEREST

Just visit these schools.  You’ll get a good feel for whether the school is a good fit for you.

 Have your student spend time over the summer visiting the colleges that are still of interest to him/her.

9. SAVE YO MONEY!!

Don’t go bankrupt for college. Don’t build debt too high to attend college. Its not necessary because there are enough colleges, universities and vocational schools that provide the same education.

10. COLLEGE COSTS

You have to measure this and understand certain costs like: Tuition per credit hour, room and board per semester (if applicable)and all the related fees that add up the total cost for one year. Ask for this on a semester basis

Assess the cost of attending  a certain college and is it feasible based on personal savings, free financial aid, scholarships and loans taken out that this college could be in consideration.

Do this for 3-4 colleges

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**This process will assist you in easily making some pretty good choices on the types of colleges.

First and most important, I’d like you to keep an open mind to the colleges and universities that your willing to attend.

When you’ve made the right career choices, then choosing college might be a lot easier for ya!

Always consider scholarships and schools that offer scholarships too. That might lead you down a certain path.

Please post any suggestions, comments or questions you might have.

Keith Lipke

www.keithlipke.com

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