It’s never too early to start thinking about college planning. In fact, it’s a good idea to start the process as early as your freshman year in high school.
As a freshman in high school you’ll want to begin educating yourself on the college application process. In addition, make sure that the courses you take in high school meet your future college goals. And don’t forget to get involved early in extracurricular activities that you can include later on your applications.
During your sophomore year you’ll want to sign up for the PSAT and take leadership roles in your extracurricular activities. If a college fair is available take the time to attend and start learning about all of your options.
In the course of your junior year it will be important to research college majors, the financial aid process, and FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you’re taking AP courses, it’s time to begin studying for your AP exams. You could even take the SAT at this point if you want to prepare for early admission.
Senior year is crunch time. Take the SAT early so you can retake it later if desired. Submit your FAFSA form after your parents have completed their tax forms. You’ll also want to visit college campuses, fill out college applications, request letters of recommendation from teachers and coaches, and apply for scholarships.
Most importantly, get your application in by the required deadline! Every school has a different deadline, but most deadlines are in December or January for the following August/September classes. Remember to visit the school’s website for their specific admission information.
A good resource to take advantage of during the college planning process is www.fafsa.ed.gov. Another great site that can help you determine which school is best for you is www.collegeboard.com.
College planning can definitely be overwhelming, but starting the process early can help alleviate stress and ensure you cover all your bases.