It’s still August, but most high school students have gone back to school already, so we might as well embrace Fall with open arms. In the world of college counseling, that means there are very important items on every high school student’s “to do list” and we outline them here:

Seniors: This is the most important time for you, and probably the busiest you have ever been in high school. There will be time for celebrating later… for now, there’s a lot of work to be done:

  • Do well in your classes. Colleges will likely see your first term/trimester/quarter of senior year, so make them count!
  • Ask teachers for recommendations. If you haven’t done so yet, ask two academic teachers from junior or senior year to write college recommendation letters for you.
  • Sign up for the SAT or ACT. Most colleges are going to want to see a score from either test. If you haven’t taken one of them yet, sign up and take it this fall.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor and learn your high school’s process for sending out your transcript and recommendations to your colleges.
  • Finalize your college list and start buckling down on essays and applications.

Juniors:

  • Do well in your classes. You’ve heard time and time again how important junior year is, and it’s no joke.
  • Get involved in extra-curricular activities and community service. These things are important parts of your college applications.
  • Start thinking about what qualities you might want in a college: size, location, major, etc.
  • Sign up for and take either the PSAT or a practice-ACT.

Sophomores:

  • Do well in your classes. Sophomore year counts too!
  • Join a sport, club or other activity through your high school.
  • Take the PLAN test (Pre-ACT) if your high school offers it.
  • Do well on MCAS for a chance at state-level scholarships (this is for students in Massachusetts).

Freshmen:

  • Do well in your classes. If anyone says 9th grade grades don’t count, they are WRONG! They do, so study, meet with teachers and do the best you can.
  • Make friends and connect with teachers. Both of these will help you long-term in your college application process.
  • Get involved in school and your community. Join a club, try out for a sport, get a job or volunteer in your town.

Have you noticed that each grade has to “Do well in your classes”? Grades are far and away the most important part of the college admission process. If you want to expand your options and prove to colleges what you can do, you need to start now!

Did you know that you can sign up with Campus Bound as an underclassman and we can help you all the way through high school and during the entire college search and application process? We can offer guidance, resources and personalized advice to see you through. Most college-related tasks occur during junior and senior year, but why wait!? Hiring a college counselor now will ease the stress of all the important tasks coming down the road.