High Schoolers In Any Grade, Here's Your November College Prep Checklist
It’s November. Not only a good time for high school students to express gratitude, but also a great time to make sure you are on the right track with respect to college planning, and applications.
Whether you are a freshman, who’s barely even begun to think about college, or a senior, who’s feeling pretty darn stressed about college right now, being productive throughout November will reduce pressure and allow you to relax as you head into the Holiday season.
Here is a checklist for November for each grade level. We’ll start with seniors and work our way down to freshmen. When it comes to college, there is always something you can do in the present to work toward your future goals.
Senior November Checklist
(Note: If you are planning to apply Early Action or Early Decision to any schools, be aware that the early admissions deadline for most schools is November 1st. The rest of this checklist pertains to the regular decision deadline, which is usually on or around January 1st.)
- If you haven’t done so already, finalize the list of schools to which you are applying. Make sure your list is not entirely made up of “reach” schools. You should have a combination of Reach, Possible, and Likely schools on your list, including one or two “safety” schools. Admissions is more competitive than ever, especially with tests being optional again. Ensure you have all of your options covered.
- Speak to your guidance counselor or certified college counselor if you need help finalizing your list.
- Complete the FAFSA form. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required in order to receive any federal financial aid. It is also used by most colleges to determine your financial aid award from the school.
- Finalize your personal statement essay. Don’t forget that many schools (especially highly selective schools) will have prompts for supplemental essays. Be sure to allot time for writing these essays.
- Request your transcripts from your high school. Be aware that every college will want your official high school transcript and every high school has their own procedure for processing them. Reach out to your guidance counselor and get the ball rolling on this.
- If you haven’t already done so, ask teachers (in person) if they will write a recommendation for you. Help them by following up with an email and a “resume” or list of your activities and accomplishments.
- If you’ve already requested recommendations, check in with your recommenders as a reminder and to ensure they don’t need any other information from you.
- Complete all sections of the college application and have everything proofread before submitting.
- Double check that your standardized test scores were sent.
- Take a deep breath. There are a broad range of colleges, and no perfect “dream school” that will gift you with a perfect life. The best college experience will be as unique as you are. You’re almost to the finish line. Breathe . . .
Junior November Checklist
- Talk with your guidance counselor to make sure your schedule and grades are in alignment with your college goals.
- Discuss the pros and cons of the SAT and ACT and decide whether you will take one or both of these standardized tests.
- Register for the SAT and/or ACT.
- If you haven’t already taken the PSAT – register for it and take it.
- Consider SAT or ACT prep.
- Sign up for activities and clubs inside and/or outside of school.
- Get a job. November is the perfect time to pick up a seasonal job. Real world job experience is not only good for your wallet, it will broaden your perspective, look great on your application, and may become the source of a great college essay.
- If you are an athlete hoping to get recruited to a D1 or D2 program, you’ll need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to certify your academic eligibility for college athletics.
- Attend college fairs if they are available at your school.
- Do some online research about colleges. Spending a little time researching schools and looking through “virtual tours” can help you to narrow your choices and find schools you might like to visit in-person in the coming months.
Sophomore November Checklist
- Explore career options online or using our (LEIGH – CAREER CRUISING???). This can help you focus your high school studies.
- Study and keep up your grades.
- If your school holds a college fair, go to it and start getting a feel for options.
- Consider a seasonal job. Almost everyone is hiring right now! A seasonal job will enhance your income, life experience, and college application. In fact, many people discover careers they want or definitely don’t want through part-time jobs.
- Get involved. If you haven’t already done so – become a part of extra-curricular life at your school via clubs, sports, theater, student-council, music, or any other avenue that interests you. Continue with any interests outside of school as well. (For example, private lessons, community service, hobbies, clubs.)
Freshman November Checklist
- Meet with your guidance counselor. It’s a great idea to introduce yourself and start creating your academic game plan for high school.
- Study and get good grades. When you apply to college, you’ll need to submit your official high school transcript. Grades from 9th grade carry just as much weight (and influence on your cumulative GPA) as every other year. Start off strong!
- Join extracurricular activities at your school.
- Keep making friends and enjoy being a high school student. You’ll have plenty of time to stress about college later. For now, get acclimated, be friendly, and get involved.
If you have any questions about the college planning and application process, reach out to our experts at Elite Collegiate Planning by Paradigm Financial Group. 610-422-3530.