College Advice for
Middle and High School Students
No matter what you dream of doing with your life, preparing yourself for life (and most likely education) after high school is important. The links below are an example of what you will find on the Mapping Your Future website.
You may also explore careers and majors, create a plan, and search for colleges through BigFuture - Get Ready for College - College Planning, Financial Aid on the College Board website.
Get started now:
October-December Tasks for High School Seniors
(from Mapping Your Future)
During your senior year, you will finalize your college choice. This year is filled with admission applications, scholarship essays, financial aid information, and the need to meet deadlines. Throughout your senior year, continue to build your resume by achieving academic success, as well as participating in extra-curricular activities. Colleges are very interested in well-rounded students. The college preparation that takes place during your senior year is filled with a lot of details and paperwork. It is very important that you involve your parents with this process.
Below are the tasks you should complete during November and December:
- Attend college fairs.
- Visit your top university choice.
- Complete admissions applications by their deadlines.
- If necessary, retake the SAT and English proficiency tests (TOEFL or IELTS).
- Work on your admissions essays.
- Complete applications for every scholarship for which you may be eligible.
- Explore and review financial aid options
- Request financial aid forms and applications. Double check the deadlines for submission.
- Meet with your college advisor to develop a college admission plan.
- Make a folder for each of your college choices.
- Request letters of recommendation and follow up to ensure your teachers and college advisor send letters of recommendation.
- Finalize portfolios, writing samples, or other evidence of talent if required for admission.
January-June Tasks for High School Seniors
- Work hard at completing your college essays. Proofread them rigorously for mistakes. Check out the following links: 8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essays and Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay.
- Follow up to ensure that letters of recommendation are sent on time to meet your deadlines.
- Send college applications as early as possible.
- Make sure your SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and/or English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) scores are sent to each of your colleges.
- Have your counselor send your first semester grades to colleges. Contact your colleges and confirm that all necessary application materials have been received.
- Continue to perform well in school and don't get "senioritis" or "senior slump"; colleges want to see strong final grades. Check out College Board Tips for Staying Motivated (Read article) and What You Do in High School Matters.
- Read carefully any admission decisions that arrive; some may require action on your part.
- Make a final decision, and mail the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you select before the enrollment deadline.
- Notify each of the colleges that accepted you but that you will not attend of your decision, so that your spot can be freed up for another student.
- If you’re on a waiting list, contact the admission office and let them know of your continued interest in the college; update them on your spring semester grades and activities. Check out these links: No Acceptance Letters? You Still Have Options and What to Do if You're Wait-Listed.
- If you take any AP Exams, make sure your AP score report is sent to your college.
- Study hard for final exams. Most admission offers are dependent on your final grades.
PSAT Exam Tips
In October of every year the PSAT (a practice test for the SAT) is administered to all grade 10 students. Below are tips on how to prepare for the PSAT that will also help prepare for the SAT exam.
Short-Term Approaches and Strategies:
- Take the practice test in the PSAT Student Guide - College Board.
- Familiarize yourself with the format of the test. Learn the directions for each type of math, reading, and writing & language question.
- Try sample questions from past tests.
- You don't need to go through the questions in order. First, work through all the easy questions that you can do quickly. Skip questions that are hard or time-consuming and then go back to answer the harder ones.
- Read all the answer choices before marking your answer sheet.
- Do your scratchwork in the test book.
- Work steadily -- don't waste time on hard questions. You can always go back to them later.
- Check your answer sheet regularly to make sure you're in the right place.
- If you don't know the answer to a multiple-choice question, try to eliminate choices first before guessing.
- IMPORTANT: If you run out of time, or have no idea what a question is asking, then take a random guess. Remember, there is NO penalty for wrong answers so don't leave any question blank.
- Take a calculator.
Students who take the PSAT exam will have access to College and Career planning and search tools on the College Board website:
SAT Exam and Preparation
The SAT practice is available through the College Board webiste, offering the following:
- Sample questions
- Answer explanations
- Official SAT practice test
- Personalized score report
New SAT starting 2016
The redesigned SAT tests the few things that research shows matter most for college readiness and success. The SAT redesign is centered on eight key changes:
- Relevant Words in Context
- Command of Evidence
- Essay Analyzing a Source
- Focus on Math that Matters Most
- Problems Grounded in Real-World Contexts
- Analysis in Science and in History/Social Studies
- Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation
- And, most importantly, No Penalty for Wrong Answers
On the test day, it is important to be organized and well rested.
This link will provide you with information on what to expect on test day, including a checklist of last-minute reminders to review the day before the test.SAT test dates and deadlines for 2018-19:
- Organize ID (must be National ID or passport), Admission Ticket, #2 pencils, calculators, and other supplies
- Get a good night's sleep
- Eat breakfast
- Double-check for everything you need before leaving home
- Arrive early—BEFORE 7:45 a.m.—at the test center
|| International Registration Deadlines
||Early (via representative)
|| Deadline for Changes
|May 4, 2019
||SAT 1 & SAT 2
|| March 21, 2019
|| April 6, 2019
||April 25, 2019
|June 1, 2019
||SAT 2 ONLY
|| April 18, 2019
|| May 3, 2019
||May 23, 2019