The Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA) recommends following these guidelines to get the most out of your visits to college campuses so that you can be sure to choose school that is the best fit for you.
It's never to early to start preparing for college and your future.
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 or that further develops a special skill or talent that you have
Start a file to save awards, report cards, certificates and honors. Always keep any personal essays you may write for any of your classes. You may need these later.
Meet your high school counselor. Talk to him/her about planning your classes with the goal of going to college.
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 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.
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.
Decide on your testing plan and register for the SAT or ACT or TOEFL (if needed) in the winter or spring.
Consider test prep classes as needed
Continue to be involved in activities. Look for leadership roles.
Attend college fairs.
Research colleges and create an initial 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, skill development.
Begin brainstorming topics for your college essays. Summer is a great time to start working on these.
Read, Read, Read!!!
Fall and 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. Create an application plan that includes 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/SAT, Subject/ACT, TOEFL again as needed
Finish your college essays and applications.
Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE) in January.
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 get lazy! You still need to send in final transcripts.